President Macron's presence at the 2024 Republic Day celebration will mark the sixth instance of a French leader's participation in this event
As India prepares to welcome French President Emmanuel Macron for the Republic Day celebrations in 2024, it's a fitting moment to reflect on the historical journey of Indo-French relations, marked by high-level visits that have shaped and strengthened the ties between these two great nations. Each visit contributing to the historical dialogue between India and France across each celebratory century.

We take a look at visits by French leaders during India's Republic Day celebrations.

Jacques Chirac (1976 and 1998): The first French leader to attend India's Republic Day was then Prime Minister Jacques Chirac in 1976. His visit set a precedent for future invitations to French leaders. Chirac revisited India in 1998, this time as the President of France, laying the foundation for a flourishing bilateral relationship between the two countries. This visit was crucial for deepening Indo-French strategic ties, going beyond traditional cooperation areas to include defence and space collaboration.
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (1980): The invitation extended to President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1980 further cemented the growing bond between India and France. This visit was part of India's broader strategy to explore and expand relations with influential global nations.
Nicolas Sarkozy (2008): President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit in 2008 was a significant step in reinforcing the strategic partnership between India and France. Sarkozy, along with a large delegation, engaged in one-to-one talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. This visit was marked by discussions on various sectors, including defence, nuclear research, space, healthcare, and trade. Sarkozy expressed France's readiness to cooperate with India in civilian nuclear domains and discussed the expansion of trade and economic engagement. The visit also saw discussions on counter-terrorism and the strengthening of military ties, particularly focusing on upgrading India's Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft.
François Hollande (2016): Hollande's visit in 2016 emphasized the continuity of strong bilateral ties between India and France. During their talks, President Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided that the 2006 bilateral Agreement on Defence Cooperation would be extended for another 10 years. They noted that the agreement had advanced cooperation in defence cooperation, production, research and development and procurement of defence material.
Emmanuel Macron (2024): The most recent invitation extended to President Emmanuel Macron for the 2024 Republic Day celebration marks the sixth instance of a French leader's participation in this significant event. Macron's visit is seen as a consolidation of the all-round, comprehensive, and deep relationship between India and France. This visit, beyond exploration, is aimed at strengthening what has already been achieved bilaterally between the two nations. President Macron was earlier in India on September 9-10, 2023 to attend the New Delhi G20 Summit.
The significance of these visits extends far beyond mere formality, playing a crucial role in advancing strategic, defence, economic, and cultural connections between India and France. The continual engagements speak volumes on the dynamic and comprehensive nature of the relationship shared by these two nations.