French President Macron joins PM Modi in Jaipur roadshow, gets Ram temple replica as gift

French President Emmanuel Macron is the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26

January 25, 2024 04:22 pm | Updated January 26, 2024 12:59 am IST - Jaipur

People shower flower petals over Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron along a street in Jaipur on January 25, 2024.

People shower flower petals over Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron along a street in Jaipur on January 25, 2024. | Photo Credit: AFP

Slogans of Jai Shri Ram, large saffron flags, colourful folk dance teams of Rajasthan along with a large number of people greeted French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a “shobha yatra” (public procession) at Badi Chaupar on Thursday evening at the heart of the Old City of Jaipur.

Governor of Rajasthan Kalraj Mishra received President Macron at the airport here late afternoon which was followed by the French President’s visit to the Amber fort where he met with Indian students. “A captivating journey through India’s history and heritage for our esteemed guest! President Emmanuel Macron of France kickstarts his visit to India with a tour of Amber Fort in Jaipur. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Fort stands as a symbol of India’s architectural prowess and rich cultural tapestry,” said Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Randhir Jaiswal welcoming the French President who will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Friday.

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron during a roadshow, in Jaipur, on Jan. 25, 2024.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron during a roadshow, in Jaipur, on Jan. 25, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

The presence of President Macron will be further amplified by the French Rafales flying along with the Indian Rafales over Kartavya Path, a first for a foreign air force. In 2016, France was the first foreign marching contingent at the Republic Day parade.

Prime Minister Modi met Mr. Macron at Jaipur’s Jantar Mantar, the solar observatory built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh in the 18th century. Jantar Mantar of Jaipur is on the world heritage list of UNESCO which is headquartered in Paris. The two leaders then moved to the Hawa Mahal, an iconic landmark of the city and greeted admirers in an open vehicle. The two leaders also spent some time drinking tea together in the Old City. Prime Minister gifted a replica of the Shri Ram temple at Ayodhya that was inaugurated on January 22. Among those who welcomed the French leader in Jaipur were External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar and Rajasthan’s Deputy Chief Minister Diya Kumari.

France which has a history of relation with the Rajput royal families in present-day Rajasthan is expected to strengthen its cultural links with the important and strategically located western Indian State. Jaipur prepared for the event for most of the day as policemen were summoned from various parts of the State to be on duty for the high security hours that began to unfold early in the morning as traffic movements to the Old City were gradually restricted.

Also read: Why Republic Day is celebrated

President Macron and Prime Minister Modi held a round of bilateral official discussion on multiple areas including security and defence at the Rambagh Palace.

President Macron left Jaipur late Thursday evening for the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi where he will be the chief guest. On Friday, at the Kartavya Path, the President of India and her French counterpart will be escorted by the President’s Bodyguard – Rashtrapati Ke Angrakshak. The President’s Bodyguard is the senior-most regiment of the Indian Army. This Republic Day is special for this elite regiment as the Angrakshak have completed 250 years of service since its raising in 1773. The two Presidents will arrive in the ‘Traditional Buggy’, the practice which is making a comeback after a gap of 40 years. On July 14, 2023 Mr. Modi was the chief guest at the French Bastille Day parade which saw 242-member tri-service contingents of the Indian armed forces marching on Champs-Élysées as well as Indian Air Force (IAF) Rafale jets in the fly-past.

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