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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted French President Emmanuel Macron’s invitation to be the guest of honor at France’s traditional Bastille Day military parade on July 14, the French presidency said on Friday.

“A contingent of the Indian armed forces will take part in the parade alongside French forces,” said a joint French-Indian statement posted on the Elysée website, adding that Modi’s visit would coincide with the 25th anniversary of the “strategic partnership” between France and India.

“This historic visit will also enable joint initiatives to tackle the great challenges of our time, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”

According to a note from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, France and India “entered into a StrategicPartnership” in 1998 as “main pillars”protectionand securitycooperation,spacecooperationandcivil nuclear cooperation.

India sees cooperation Art protection between New Delhi and Paris asscornerstonewithinstrategic a partnership structured by the annual ministerial-level Defense Dialogue held since 2018.

India has also acquired French Raphael fighter jets and Scorpene submarines.

India and France also have a history of cooperation in space, joint research programs and satellite launches. France supports India’s human spaceflight program and has supplied components for India’s space program.

In June 2022, the GSAT-24 communication satellite built by ISRO for New Space India Ltd was successfully launched from French Guiana. It will be used for Direct-to-Home communications for the next 15 years.

Nuclear chicken coop

India and France also signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement during the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s visit to France in 2008. Subsequently, in December 2010, a project cooperation agreement was signed Jaitapur nuclear power plant between Indian and French energy companies NPCIL and AREVA. during French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to India.

India is also a participant in the ITER project, which aims to build an experimental thermonuclear reactor in Cadarache, France. The Ministry of Atomic Energy manages India’s participation in the ITER project.

But Macron is probably most interested in strengthening ties with India to try to draw New Delhi away from Russia, which was India’s formidable partner during the Cold War and is still considered a friend. India has also refrained from criticizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and continues to engage in arms trade with Moscow despite US sanctions.

France and India are already participating in joint military exercises that critics say are aimed at containing China, with which New Delhi has a strained relationship over unresolved border issues.

French arms company Thales is under investigation for alleged corruption in India

French prosecutors are investigating possible corruption related to the sale of Mirage-2000 fighter jets to India “foreign public officials” and money laundering.

Sanjay Bhandari, an Indian middleman living in the UK, claims he helped Thales win a contract to refurbish Mirage-2000 jets in India in exchange for €20 million in an offshore bank account.

In 2011, India signed a €1.4 billion modernization contract with Paris, to be shared between Thales and French airline Dassault, for a fleet of 51 Mirage-2000s acquired in the 1980s.

Mr Bhandari, who says he was only paid part of the money, has sued Nanterre’s commercial court for the remaining €11 million.

The court rejected the request on October 28, citing a lack of evidence, but Mr. Bhandari says he reached an oral payment agreement that resulted in Thales winning the contract.

Thales has denied the allegations, telling the French news agency AFP that it “did not enter into any contracts with Mr Bhandari”.

Financial investigators in Paris also examined the terms of France’s sale of 36 Rafale jets to India in September 2016 for €7.8 billion from June 2021.

(With agencies)