French president Emmanuel Macron will be Republic Day chief guest: MEA

New Delhi’s invitation to Macron for the Republic Day celebrations comes amid rapid upswing in ties between the two countries including in areas of defence and security, clean energy, trade and investment and new technologies.

In July, the defence ministry approved the purchase of 26 Rafale (marine) jets from France, primarily for deployment on board the indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. France has already responded to India’s initial tender for buying the jets.

The two sides are also expanding cooperation in the maritime domain including in the Indian Ocean Region.

India and France also expressed commitment to cooperate in the co-development and co-production of advanced defence technologies, including for the benefit of third countries.

Every year, India invites world leaders to attend its Republic Day celebrations. There was no Republic Day Chief guest in 2021 and 2022 in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was the chief guest at this year’s Republic Day celebrations.

In 2020, then Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations.

In 2019, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa was the chief guest at the Republic Day parade, while in 2018, leaders of all 10 ASEAN countries attended the celebrations.

In 2017, crown prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the chief guest at celebrations, while then French president Francois Hollande graced the occasion in 2016.

In 2014, then Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was the chief guest at the celebrations, while Bhutan king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck attended the parade in 2013.

The heads of state and government who have attended the Republic Day celebrations include Nicolas Sarkozy, Vladimir Putin, Nelson Mandela, John Major, Mohammed Khatami and Jacques Chirac.

The then British prime minister John Major had attended the celebrations in 1993, Nelson Mandela participated as then South African president in 1995 while South Korean president President Lee Myung Bak witnessed the parade in 2010.

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