PM Modi also attended the Bastille Day military parade as a guest of honor
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been conferred with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, France's most prestigious accolade. This distinguished award was given to him on Thursday (July 13, 2023) as a recognition of his valuable contributions to the strategic partnership between India and France, as well as his diligent endeavors in enhancing bilateral relations between the two nations. The award ceremony took place at the Elysee Palace in Paris. PM Modi expressed his gratitude for the honor in a tweet, stating, "It is with great humility that I accept the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor. This is an honor for the 140 crore people of India. I thank President Emmanuel Macron, the French Government and people for this gesture. It shows their deep affection towards India and resolve for furthering friendship with our nation". The Legion of Honor is the highest French decoration given to the most deserving citizens in all fields of activity and has been conferred to prominent personalities for two centuries. From a diplomatic stance, the award remarks the close and friendly relations between the two countries and their support for a multi-polar world order. Prime Minister Modi is on an official visit to France from July 13-14, 2023, at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron. In addition to attending the Bastille Day parade in July 15, 2023, as a guest of honor, he has meetings lined up with President Macron and other top French leaders, as well as prominent names from business and industry. PM Modi's visit to France is expected to lead to significant progress in the areas of defense, space, and infrastructure. This visit happened to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the India-France Strategic Partnership, an emblematic reminder of a strong bilateral relationship and a convergence of perspectives on various global matters. France is a key partner of India in defense, space, and nuclear technology, and the two countries are increasingly engaged in new areas of cooperation like climate change, sustainable growth and development, and the International Solar Alliance. As a distinguished guest, PM Modi had the privilege of attending the renowned Bastille Day military parade during his visit, alongside President Macron, on Friday (July 14, 2023). To showcase the close ties between the two nations, an Indian tri-services contingent actively participated in the parade, while the Indian Air Force proudly conducted a fly-past on this special occasion. IMPORTANT BILATERAL ENGAGEMENTS PM Modi's engagements included interactions with the entire political leadership of France, including President Macron, Prime Minister Borne, and the Presidents of the Senate and National Assembly. The visit also saw a strong focus on trade and economy with a CEO Forum comprising big names from the Indian and French sides. In a bilateral meeting with French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on July 13, 2023, the two leaders engaged in discussions regarding the expansion of collaboration across several domains, including economic and trade relations, energy initiatives, environmental cooperation, educational exchanges, mobility solutions, railway projects, digital public infrastructure advancements, museology, and people-to-people connections. PM Modi also had a meeting with President of the French Senate Gerard Larcher. During the meeting, Prime Minister Modi emphasized the immense importance of the shared values of "Democracy, Freedom, and Equality," which serve as the fundamental principles underpinning the India-France partnership. The discussions revolved around various topics, including India's priorities within the G20 framework, the democratic application of technology, and fostering cooperation between the respective Upper Houses. Additionally, regional and global issues of mutual interest were also addressed. Additionally, Prime Minister Modi engaged with the Indian community in Paris on July 13, 2023, delivering a significant address at La Seine Musicale. During his speech, the Prime Minister emphasized the multifaceted nature of the India-France Strategic Partnership, which commemorates its 25th anniversary. Furthermore, Prime Minister Modi revealed plans for the establishment of a new consulate in Marseille, France. He also contextualized the invaluable contribution made by the Indian community residing in France, emphasizing their pivotal role in fortifying the India-France partnership. In conclusion, PM Modi's visit to France was a significant event in the India-France strategic partnership. The acceptance of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor by PM Modi was a testament to the deepening of bilateral ties between the two countries and the recognition of PM Modi's efforts to strengthen these ties. The visit was expected to have ambitious outcomes on defense, space, and infrastructure, and the two countries are increasingly engaged in new areas of cooperation like climate change, sustainable growth and development, and the International Solar Alliance.