India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday joined President Emmanuel Macron for the Bastille Day parade as part of French National Day celebrations as the Guest of Honour.
The Prime Minister is on a two-day official visit to France.
The French National Day, also known as Bastille Day, holds a particular place in the hearts of the French people since it remembers the storming of the Bastille prison during the French Revolution in 1789.
Modi and Macron watched French and Indian soldiers march down the tree-lined Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, while French-made Rafale fighter jets India bought in 2015 took part in a fly-past over the Arc de Triomphe.
Modi began a two-day visit to Paris on Thursday, when he was granted the Legion of Honour, France’s highest award.
The national celebrations come at a delicate time for Macron, who was also booed by some members of the public as he drove down the Champs-Elysees in a military car.
The parade comes after New Delhi gave initial approval to buy an extra 26 Rafale jets for its navy and three Scorpene class submarines, deepening defence ties with Paris at a time the two nations are seeking allies in the Indo-Pacific.
The total value of the purchases is expected to be around 800 billion rupees ($9.75 billion), according to a source familiar with the details, although that was still subject to negotiations.
France has been one of India’s closest partners in Europe for decades. It was the only Western nation not to impose sanctions on New Delhi after India conducted nuclear tests in 1998.