In his first visit as president Macron seeks to strengthen trade ties with India

In his first visit as president Macron seeks to strengthen trade ties with India

The trip is seen as a way to cement France’s shift towards more multidimensional engagement in South Asia.

French President Emmanuel Macron Votes In Le Touquet

Photo: Chesnot/Getty

French President Emmanuel Macron begins his first official visit to India today. The trip is seen as a way to cement France’s shift towards more multidimensional engagement in South Asia and away from its traditional focus on China and the South Pacific.

French officials have stressed that the trip will involve serious discussions with PM Modi about the modernisation of India’s military and deeper nuclear cooperation between the two countries; Paris is eager to find new export markets for its state-controlled Électricité de France’s reactor technology.

Though unconfirmed, Macron is expected to announce his support for India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a membership that would allow New Delhi to purchase and export enriched uranium. However, as this requires consensus from other members, it is unlikely to happen in the near future.

With the trip billed as a major realignment of France’s involvement in the Indian subcontinent, there are expectations of a major shift in Indian weapons procurement towards Europe in the long-term. Short-term, the trip is expected to further normalise India’s nuclear aspirations, which have long been a source of international tension.

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