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“France’s Macron Embarks on Heritage Tour with PM Modi for Republic Day Celebrations”

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French President Emmanuel Macron, the esteemed chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations in 2024, has arrived in Jaipur, marking the commencement of a day-long heritage tour. Joining him on this cultural expedition is India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The duo is set to explore iconic sites, reinforcing the diplomatic ties between the two nations.

"France's Macron Embarks on Heritage Tour with PM Modi for Republic Day Celebrations"

The itinerary includes a visit to the majestic Amer Fort, where a vibrant cultural event is scheduled to unfold. Following this, PM Modi will accompany President Macron to the renowned Jantar Mantar, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where they will engage in a comprehensive tour. The leaders are slated to partake in a joint roadshow, traversing from Jantar Mantar to Sanganeri Gate, making a captivating stopover at the iconic Hawa Mahal.

Sources reveal that the leaders plan to indulge in Jaipur’s special masala chai at Hawa Mahal, with the possibility of acquiring local handicrafts such as the famed blue pottery and intricate inlay work. Notably, BHIM UPI will be employed for the transactions, adding a contemporary touch to the cultural exchange. Handicraft kiosks have been set up near Hawa Mahal, offering the dignitaries an opportunity to peruse and acquire these artistic creations.

The day concludes with a private dinner at the opulent Rambagh Palace, providing an intimate setting for further discussions and camaraderie between the leaders. The visit is significant as it coincides with ongoing negotiations between the Indian government and France for substantial defense deals, encompassing fighter jets and submarines.

Amidst the historical and cultural immersion, bilateral talks are expected to touch upon India’s potential procurement of 26 Rafale fighter jets and three Scorpion submarines from France. France holds the distinction of being India’s second-largest arms supplier, maintaining a robust and enduring partnership for decades.

President Macron’s acceptance of the last-minute invitation to be the chief guest underscores the strength of the bilateral relations between India and France. The diplomatic gesture followed a change in plans when US President Joe Biden communicated his inability to attend the Republic Day celebrations.

This reciprocal diplomatic engagement harks back to PM Modi’s role as the Guest of Honour at France’s Bastille Day celebrations in July of the preceding year, affirming the enduring and warm ties between the two nations.