Honouring Modi at France’s Bastille Day – Amidst Rising Unrest
Cultural Events Arts and Culture France India

Honouring Modi at France’s Bastille Day – Amidst Rising Unrest

modi in france

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been bestowed with the distinguished role of being the guest of honor for France’s Bastille Day celebrations, scheduled to take place on Friday amidst stringent security measures following recent riots that engulfed the nation. In a bid to prevent a recurrence of the urban violence witnessed at the end of June, approximately 45,000 police personnel will be deployed nationwide during the evening. Furthermore, the government has implemented a ban on firework sales.

The annual Bastille Day festivities, which commemorate the historic storming of the Bastille prison during the French Revolution in 1789, will commence with a traditional military parade in the morning. More than 5,000 individuals will elegantly sweep down the iconic Champs Elysees, marking the commencement of the celebration.

The grand cross of the Legion of Honour, the highest order of merit in France, has been bestowed upon Prime Minister Modi by French President Emmanuel Macron. This prestigious award, as announced by the presidency, acknowledges “the role of the prime minister in the excellent relations of friendship and confidence that unite France and India,” according to a statement from the Elysee. Modi, expressing his gratitude and humility, accepted the award on Twitter, stating that it is an honor for the 1.4 billion residents of India. The decision to honor Modi at this year’s Bastille Day celebration reflects the deepening ties between France and India, who are commemorating 25 years of “strategic partnership.” During a speech to Indians residing in France, Modi referred to Macron as his “friend” and highlighted that the closeness between the two nations is not confined to their leaders, but rather reflects the unwavering friendship between India and France.

On Thursday, the Indian defense ministry announced its intent to procure an additional 26 French-made Rafale fighter jets, as well as three more Scorpene-class submarines, in a deal expected to be worth billions of euros. Despite differences on various matters such as the conflict in Ukraine and human rights concerns in India, Western democracies are actively seeking closer ties with Modi and India, viewing them as a significant military and economic counterweight to China. Macron’s warm reception of Modi follows the rare honor of a state dinner at the White House in Washington, a city from which Modi was once banned. Macron, while addressing military leaders on Thursday evening, emphasized the pivotal role India plays in world history, stating that it will have a decisive role in shaping the future.

This year’s Bastille Day celebration is anticipated to be a more subdued affair compared to previous years due to the riots that occurred at the end of June following the fatal police shooting of a teenager in a Paris suburb. These intense urban clashes, the most severe in nearly two decades, resulted in the torching of thousands of cars, destruction of public property, and the arrest of over 3,700 individuals, many of whom were minors. Concerns over potential violence have led some towns to cancel their traditional firework displays, and public transportation in the Paris region is set to cease operations from 10:00 pm (2000 GMT).

Far-right opposition leader Marine Le Pen expressed her disbelief over the cancellation of national day celebrations due to the fear generated by potential violence or riots. She characterized the government measures as “an admission of a total loss of confidence in the state.” However, the main Paris fireworks display is scheduled to proceed as planned and will be witnessed by Macron and Modi following a banquet at the Louvre Museum attended by 200 esteemed guests.

While Modi receives diplomatic courting, a resolution passed by the European Parliament serves as a reminder that he and his Hindu nationalist agenda have garnered critics both domestically and abroad. The resolution urges India to end violence in the northeastern state of Manipur and protect minority communities. The clashes between the predominantly Hindu Meitei majority and the primarily Christian Kuki tribe have resulted in numerous casualties, displaced over 50,000 individuals, and the destruction of more than 1,700 houses, according to the parliament. The resolution also criticized the “nationalistic rhetoric” employed by the local state government, which is led by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. The decision to honor Modi at Bastille Day was deemed “an affront not only to India’s minority communities, journalists, and human rights defenders, but also to India as a democracy,” stated Pierre Larrouturou, the chief negotiator of the text. In his speech to the Indian community in France, Modi lauded India’s economic performance under his leadership and emphasized the country’s growing influence in global affairs, highlighting India as the embodiment of democracy and diversity, which he considers its great strength.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *