Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Grand Reception at Bastille Day Military Parade in France- 14th July, 2023

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron at the Bastille Day military paradeIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron at the Bastille Day military parade

On the 14th of July, Narendra Modi, the esteemed Prime Minister of India, received an esteemed invitation to attend the splendid Bastille Day military parade in the enchanting city of Paris, France. This grand occasion marked the pinnacle of his visit, during which momentous defense agreements of great significance were solemnly inked between the nations of India and France. The parade itself was a dazzling display, showcasing the profound camaraderie that exists between these two distinguished countries. As the gallant soldiers of both India and France strode down the illustrious Champs-Elysees, the air became alive with admiration and awe. Meanwhile, in a breathtaking spectacle, the magnificent Rafale fighter jets of the Indian Air Force, acquired from France in the year 2015, performed an awe-inspiring fly-past over the historic Arc de Triomphe, leaving spectators mesmerized and enthralled by their prowess.

A Delicate Time for Macron

President Emmanuel Macron, accompanied by Prime Minister Modi, encountered a sensitive predicament amidst the revelries. As he made his way down the illustrious Champs-Elysees in a military vehicle, certain sections of the crowd expressed their dissatisfaction by jeering and booing. Macron’s previous determination to elevate the retirement age had sparked a wave of protests that endured for months, consequently leading to a decline in his approval ratings. Nonetheless, this occasion served as a valuable juncture for both leaders to fortify their bond and reaffirm their unwavering dedication to the bilateral alliance.

Strengthening Defense Ties

The visit of Prime Minister Modi to Paris held immense strategic importance, as both India and France aimed to strengthen their defense collaboration. New Delhi had granted preliminary consent to procure an additional 26 Rafale jets to bolster its naval capabilities, along with three Scorpene class submarines. These defense agreements vividly showcased the mutual interests shared by the two countries in the Indo-Pacific region, where they both actively sought alliances. The overall value of these acquisitions, estimated to reach approximately 800 billion rupees ($9.75 billion), underscored the magnitude of their collaborative efforts.

India-France: PM Modi In France | Immersive Coverage | Modi-Macron | Bastille Day 2023

India-France: Longstanding Partnership

For numerous decades, France has remained a resolute ally of India within the European context. Remarkably, it stood as the sole Western nation abstaining from imposing sanctions on India subsequent to its nuclear tests in 1998. Over a span of more than forty years, India has heavily relied upon French fighter jets, commencing with the procurement of Mirage jets in the 1980s. Even today, these Mirage aircraft continue to form a substantial component of the Indian Air Force’s operational fleet. The recent defense agreements were necessitated by various factors, including the aging nature of the Russian-made aircraft, limitations in Moscow’s capacity to undertake maintenance work, and delays encountered in India’s indigenous manufacturing endeavors.

The Human Rights Concerns

While Modi’s visit was marked by grandeur and diplomatic significance, it was not without criticism. Human rights organizations raised concerns about the perceived authoritarian nature of Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and allegations of discrimination against minorities. The French Ligue des Droits de l’Homme (LDH) rights group, expressing its apprehension about India’s democratic values, denounced the invitation extended to Modi by Macron.

Consolidating Indo-Pacific Alliances

The strategic partnership between France and India bears tremendous significance, particularly in the realm of fortifying their network of alliances within the Indo-Pacific region. France encountered a setback when Australia opted to terminate a substantial submarine contract, subsequently forging the AUKUS alliance alongside Britain and the United States. Given the geographical presence of their respective island territories, both India and France possess vested interests in the Indian Ocean and harbor shared apprehensions regarding China’s escalating assertiveness in the area. The enhancement of ties between these two nations aligns with their collective geopolitical objectives and serves as a means to advance their mutual interests.

Macron’s Exceptional Gesture

The invitation extended by Macron to Modi as the esteemed guest of honor at the Bastille Day military parade held immense significance and represented a rare honor bestowed upon a global leader. It is worth noting that Macron had previously extended a similar invitation to former U.S. President Donald Trump back in 2017, a gesture that left a lasting impression on Trump himself. So impactful was the experience that Trump even entertained the idea of organizing a comparable parade to honor American troops after witnessing the grandeur of the French march-past.


The Bastille Day military parade in France witnessed a remarkable convergence of nations, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi graced the occasion as the esteemed guest of honor. This auspicious event further solidified the deepening partnership and camaraderie that flourish between the great nations of India and France. The event exhibited the deepening bonds in defense, exemplified by the fly-past of the Rafale fighter jets above the iconic Arc de Triomphe. Amidst facing censure from human rights organizations, the visit served as a prominent showcase, shedding light on the utmost significance of the strategic alliance between India and France in the Indo-Pacific realm. This jubilant commemoration of camaraderie and harmonious collaboration between the two nations lays a firm foundation for forthcoming joint ventures and mutual undertakings.


Q1: What was the significance of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France?

The visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to France carried immense importance as it fortified the strategic alliance and defense connections between India and France. The itinerary encompassed the Bastille Day military procession, where Modi received accolades as the distinguished guest, and the formalization of substantial defense agreements between the two countries.

Q2: Why did President Emmanuel Macron face criticism during the parade?

President Macron faced criticism during the parade due to his decision to raise the retirement age, which sparked widespread protests and negatively impacted his popularity ratings. A fraction of the populace showcased their dissatisfaction by jeering him while he traversed the Champs-Elysees in a military automobile.

Q3: What were the defense deals signed between India and France?

Amidst Prime Minister Modi’s visit, India granted preliminary consent to procure an additional 26 Rafale jets for its naval forces and three Scorpene class submarines from France. These defense agreements were aimed at further enhancing defense collaboration and bolstering the bonds between the two countries in the Indo-Pacific area.

Q4: Why is the partnership between India and France crucial for both countries?

The alliance between India and France bears paramount significance for both countries. France endeavors to reinforce its network of alliances in the Indo-Pacific realm, particularly following the cancellation of a significant submarine contract by Australia. Meanwhile, India shares apprehensions regarding China’s assertive behavior in the region and seeks to fortify its defense capabilities and alliances.

Q5: Who else has been honored as the guest of honor at the Bastille Day military parade?

When considering notable figures, it is impossible to overlook the significance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alongside the esteemed presence of a former United States leader. President Donald Trump was bestowed the esteemed position of guest of honor during the Bastille Day military parade in 2017. Trump’s encounter during the parade served as inspiration for him to contemplate the feasibility of arranging a comparable festivity dedicated to American troops.

By Anand

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