Marching contingents of the three Services and a military band, making up a total of 242 personnel, will take part in the French Bastille Day parade on July 14 in Paris, while three Rafale fighter jets of Indian Air Force (IAF) will be part of the flypast as Prime Minister Narendra Modi witnesses it as the Chief Guest.
Each Service contingent will have 68 personnel while the military band will have 38 personnel, adding up to 242 personnel, the parade plan released by France shows.
Mr. Modi has accepted the invitation from French President Emmanuel Macron to be the Guest of Honour at the Bastille Day Parade. An official press release from the Ministry of External Affairs had said that a contingent of the Indian Armed Forces will participate in the parade which marks “liberty, equality and fraternity”.
Mr. Modi’s visit to France also comes as India and France are celebrating the 25th anniversary of a strategic partnership that was launched in 1998. Earlier, in 2009, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh participated in the July 14 celebrations.
The visit comes amid a hectic diplomatic calendar for India and international travel for Mr. Modi as India hosts the G20 and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summits, the G7 outreach and Quad summit in May, as well as several other bilateral visits, both incoming and outgoing
In another instance, the IAF is planning to host a multilateral air exercise Tarang Shakti at the end of this year and approval from the Defence Ministry is awaited. “The plan is to invite 12 friendly foreign countries with whom we interact regularly and have a certain degree of interoperability,” a senior defence official said, adding that, of these, six countries will be with a fighter compliment while the other six would be present as observers.