Modi awarded with France’s highest honour, UPI, work visas, new consulate announcements made among others
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a two-day official visit to France on July 13-14. This visit is significant in more aspects than one as it marks 25 years of strategic partnership between India and France, and sets the course for the next quarter century. Modi will also grace the Bastille Day Parade, held as part of the French National Day celebrations, as a Guest of Honour on invitation by French President Emmanuel Macron.
During the talks on the first day with the President and the First Lady, the Prime minister and the Indian diaspora, Modi unveiled some important new announcements.
Amid a red-carpet welcome, Modi was received at the airport by French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.
A private dinner was hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and First Lady Brigitte Macron for Modi at the Elysee Palace on Thursday. Modi was also awarded the highest honour of France, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, by President Macron in a ceremony held at the Elysee Palace.
Indian diaspora in France
PM Modi addressed the enthusiastic Indian diaspora on Thursday evening at La Seine Musicale, a performing arts centre on an island on the river Seine. Interacting with the Indian community, he observed that in a fast changing world order, India’s roles and capabilities have expanded, and that besides being the ‘mother of democracy’, India is also a ‘model of diversity’. He highlighted that people-to-people connections are the greatest strongholds in the India-France relationship. He also invited the diaspora to invest more in India, taking into account the fast expanding avenues of investment in India and its consistent development.
In almost an hour-long speech, he announced some new initiatives, including an agreement on the use of India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in France. The UPI system will be started from the Eiffel Tower, and Indian tourists can make payment in rupees.
The French government has also granted approval for five-year long post study visas for Indian students pursuing a Master’s degree in France. Earlier, the provision was for two-year post-study visas.
Image Source: India TV News
The opening of a new Indian consulate in Marseille with the help of the French government was also decided upon. Modi also announced the building of a statue of the great Tamil philosopher Thiruvalluvar in the Cergy Prefecture a few months from now.
The relationship between India and France has evolved over the years with cooperation in the sectors of education, defence, health and space in the previous decades to cooperating in the domains of cyber security, climate issues and counter-terrorism.
Both India and France are vulnerable to the adverse impacts of the melting to the Arctic ice, due to teleconnections that interlink the dynamics in the Arctic to impacts around the world. The loss of Arctic sea ice will result in extreme weather events in India as well as France. The wheels of progress and development for mitigation in this regard can be set in motion if ambitious approaches are taken by both countries during the Bastille Day meeting.