DC Edit | The Macron advantage

French President Emmaneul Macron lent a dignified charm to the military might, woman power and blossoming India-France defence ties that were highlighted in a spectacular display on India’s 75th Republic Day. His presence as the day’s chief invitee at Kartavya Path was a tribute to the most serene relationship India enjoys with any Western power.

For all the strategic importance India attaches to its ties with the US in a changing geopolitical scenario, or to its UK ties with old colonial links, those relationships have never been as smooth as the one India enjoys with France. And Mr Macron also graciously accepted to step in when US President Joe Biden declined the R-Day invitation due to preoccupation with domestic issues.

As India’s principal military air power supplier after getting through a prickly period of another gigantic arms deal coming under scrutiny that ended with a clean chit from India’s Supreme Court, France sent two of its renowned Rafale aircraft, along with an Airbus multi-role tanker transport plane, to join the impressive flypast.

Mr Macron, who had lent the weight of his presidential office to facilitate the mammoth Rafale deal, which may now be added to India’s planned acquisition of jets for the Navy, displayed his warm feelings for India and its Prime Minister in a well-attended road show as well as visits to historic places of interest in the Pink City of Jaipur on the eve of R-Day.

The attentiveness the French President showed to how India’s digital payment system has become so all-encompassing as to facilitate the smallest transactions for petty shops, as much as it does for high street giants, was a touching acknowledgement of an important Indian contribution to a globally evolving no-cash transaction mode.

France’s offer to Indian students, conveyed by Mr Macron with thoughts on how the language question will be tackled for the benefit of visiting scholars, besides a streamlined visa process that recognises previous stays in France for studies, is a significant development for Indian youth considering how Canada has slipped as a student destination recently.

It is to be assumed that the sense of taste in the gourmet dinner served at the Rambagh Palace may even have enhanced the felicity with which the leaders discussed where France and India stand today in an environment threatened by conflicts and how much further they can take the evolving strategic ties between the countries.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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