Monday, Aug 15, 2022

PM Modi Discusses Bilateral, Global Issues With French President Macron, Concludes Europe Visit

PM Modi and President Macron discussed bilateral and global issues, including Ukraine conflict and the Indo-Pacific.

PM Modi and President Macron
PM Modi and President Macron Twitter/Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Wednesday and the two leaders held one on one as well as delegation level talks that covered bilateral as well as regional and global developments. 

Shortly after arriving in Paris, Modi said in a tweet, "France is one of India’s strongest partners, with our nations cooperating in diverse areas."

The two leaders are expected to have discussed how to ensure cessation of hostilities in Ukraine and mitigate the global economic consequences of this conflict, as per PTI. 

On Tuesday, Macron spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and urged him to rise to the level of its responsibility as a permanent member of the UN Security Council by ending the invasion of Ukraine, as per an official statement.

Another focus area of Modi-Macron talks is believed to be to unitedly deal with the challenges in the Indo-Pacific amid Chinese muscle-flexing in the region.

Modi's visit of France has come shortly after Macron's re-election as French president. Diplomatic sources told PTI that this is highly symbolic. It sends a powerful signal that the two leaders want to make the Indo-French partnership a guiding principle of their foreign policy for the years to come, according to them. Sources added that it's also a demonstration of the level of personal chemistry between the two leaders, which gives impetus to the two countries' joint actions across all fields of cooperation.

Modi's visit comes during the French presidency of the European Union. It also coincides with the 75 years of diplomatic relations between India and France.

This is Modi’s fifth visit to France after August 2019, June 2017, November 2015 and April 2015.

The visit to France was the final stop in Modi's three-nation Europe visit. Earlier, he visited Germany and Denmark where he met his counterparts and held one on one as well as delegation level talks with them. He also addressed the Indian community in the two countries. 

Modi also attended the India-Nordic summit in Denmark, which was also attended by prime ministers of Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The Ukraine issue figured prominently at the summit on Wednesday. The summit primarily focused on post-pandemic economic recovery, climate change, renewable energy and the evolving global security scenario.

On the sidelines of the summit, Modi held separate bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland. 

In Berlin in a joint press event with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Modi had said, "We believe that there will be no winner in this war and all will suffer losses. Therefore, we are on the side of peace."

In Copenhagen, speaking at a joint press event with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Modi said, "We talked about India-EU relations, the Indo-Pacific, and Ukraine, among several regional and global issues. We hope that negotiations on India-EU Free Trade Agreement would conclude soon.

"We stressed on ensuring a free, open, inclusive, and rules-based Indo-Pacific region. We also appealed for immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and for dialogue and diplomacy's use as a solution." 

Modi also met Denmark's Queen Margrethe II, who hosted him for dinner at the Christian VII’s Palace at Amalienborg. 

Modi departed for India early on Thursday. In his departure message from France, he said, "My visit to France was brief but a very fruitful one. President Emmanuel Macron and I got the opportunity to discuss various subjects. I thank him and the French Government for the warm hospitality."

Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said Modi's Europe visit was "immensely productive" that covered trade and investment, green partnerships, and promotion of innovation and skill development.

(With PTI inputs)