Indian contingent adds spectacle to Bastille Day Parade

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended Bastille Day Parade as Guest of Honour at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron on the Champs-Élysées.

“To mark the 25th anniversary of the India-France Strategic Partnership, 241-member tri-service Indian armed forces contingent led by a military band also participated in the Parade,” the PMO said in a statement.

The Indian Army contingent was led by the Punjab Regiment, along with the Rajputana Rifles Regiment.

During the parade, the Indian military contingent marched to the patriotic tune of ‘Sare Jahan Se Accha,’ while a squadron of Indian Air Force (IAF) Rafale fighters participated in a flypast over the Champs-Elysees at the Bastille Day Parade.

Rafale Jets of the Indian Air Force, from the 101 Squadron from Hashimara, formed a part of the fly past during the parade.

“A giant in world history, with a decisive role to play in the future, a strategic partner, a friend. We are proud to welcome India as our guest of honour at the 14 July parade,” President Macron said.

PM Modi and President Emmanuel Macron met notable dignitaries during the Bastille Day Parade in Paris.

Mentioning the marching of Indian soldiers and flying of Rafale aircraft alongside the French troops during the Bastille Day Parade celebrations, Macron said that France honours the memory of those who fought with the French in the First World War.

“This 14 July, soldiers and Rafale aircraft from India are marching and flying alongside our troops. We honour the memory of those who fought with the French in the First World War. We shall never forget,” tweeted Macron.

It is worth mentioning that the association of the Indian and the French Armies dates back to World War I. Over 1.3 million Indian soldiers participated in the war and almost 74,000 of them fought in the muddy trenches to never return again, while another 67,000 were wounded. Indian troops valiantly fought on French soil also, the Defence Ministry said earlier.

Many Indians like Welinkar, Shivdev Singh, HC Dewan and Jumbo Majumdar fought over the skies of France during the two World Wars. Some, like Jumbo Majumdar, were also decorated for their gallant action, over the Falaise Gap, during the terminal phase of World War II, added the official statement.

The Bastille Day Parade, which PM Modi attended as the Guest of Honour with Macron and First Lady Brigitte Macron, has concluded in Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron received the guard of honour at Bastille Day Parade.

July 14 marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789, during the French Revolution, which symbolizes the democratic values of ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity’, the central theme of both the Indian and French constitutions.

PM Modi and President Emmanuel Macron witnessed the Indian tri-services contingent flew over the Bastille Day Parade in Paris, showcasing the French national flag.

They also saw French and Indian soldiers march along Paris’s tree-lined Champs-Elysees avenue, as Rafale fighter planes purchased by India in 2015 flew above the Arc de Triomphe.

“It reminds us of the valour & courage of the Indian soldiers on the French soil during the World Wars,” the Indian Army tweeted.

IAF’s Rafale jets flypast was showcased during the parade. Later, PM Modi attended the lunch hosted by the President of French National Assembly, Yael Braun-Pivet.

PM Narendra Modi has become the first Indian Prime Minister to have been conferred with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest civilian and military honour, by French President Emmanuel Macron.

PM Modi has joined the ranks of other prominent world leaders including former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela, King Charles – the then Prince of Wales, former Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Secretary General of the United Nations, among others.

Prime Minister Modi highlighted that India and France cooperate and coordinate much more closely in international forums, as the two nations together launched the International Solar Alliance, and are working together on initiatives on biodiversity, elimination of single use plastic, disaster resilient infrastructure and conserving ocean resources.

“Our cooperation has become especially strong in the United Nations, whether it is in reforming the UN institutions, fighting climate change or combating terrorism. Most recently, we worked closely on President Macron’s New Global Financing Pact Summit. We are both leaders in the initiative on No Money for Terror Financing,” he said.

India gave an initial nod to buy 26 Rafale aircraft for its navy and three Scorpene class submarines, strengthening defence ties with Paris.

France has been India’s one of closest partners in Europe for decades. President Macron will also host PM Modi at the Elysee Palace for dialogue prior to a state banquet at the Louvre Museum.

It is noteworthy that Macron has treated only a few global leaders to the Bastille Day military parade. (ANI)

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