Indian Prime Minister Nahendra Modi on a two-day visit to France

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in France on Thursday for a two-day visit that could see the signing of a slew of high-profile defence deals.

Modi has been invited by French President Emmanuel Macron to be the guest of honour at the country’s Bastille Day celebrations on Friday with several units from India’s army, navy, and air force due to take part in the parade.

France is India’s longest-standing strategic partner in the West and the visit by Modi is also expected to deepen ties between the two countries.

During his visit, Modi will meet Macron for a private dinner and attend a state banquet at the Louvre Museum. He will also meet other political leaders, selected French personalities and business leaders, and interact with the Indian diaspora.

It is also expected that Modi expected will sign a deal during his stay for the acquisition of 26 Rafale fighter jets and a repeat order for building three more submarines.

France is main supplier of arms to India’s army after Russia.

New Delhi has not condemned the war in Ukraine, has trade relations with Moscow, and is committed to a multipolar world.

However, if the purchase of French planes and submarines goes ahead, it will partly reduce its military dependence on Russia.

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