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- Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi has been invited as the Guest of Honour at the Bastille Day Parade in France.
Background: French Revolution
- The French Revolution was a watershed event in world history that began in 1789 and ended in the late 1790s with the ascent of Napoleon Bonaparte.
- During this period, French citizens radically altered their political landscape, uprooting centuries-old institutions such as the monarchy and the feudal system.
- The upheaval was caused by disgust with the French aristocracy and the economic policies of King Louis XVI, who met his death by guillotine, as did his wife Marie Antoinette.
- Though it degenerated into a bloodbath during the Reign of Terror, the French Revolution helped to shape modern democracies by showing the power inherent in the will of the people.
- 14 July is celebrated as the Fête Nationale Française, or the National Day in France.
- It is also known as Bastille Day as this day is the anniversary of Storming of the Bastille in 1789 during the French Revolution.
Storming of the Bastille
- The Storming of the Bastille occurred in Paris, France, on 14 July 1789, when revolutionary insurgents stormed and seized control of the medieval armoury, fortress and political prison known as the Bastille.
- The Bastille then represented royal authority in the centre of Paris.
- The prison contained only seven inmates at the time of its storming but was seen by the revolutionaries as a symbol of the monarchy's abuse of power. Its fall was the flashpoint of the French Revolution.
2023 Bastille Day Parade
- The parade will witness a 269-member tri-services contingent of the Indian Armed Forces marching alongside their French counterparts.
- Indian Navy contingent is being led by Commander Vrat Baghel and the Indian Air Force contingent by Squadron Leader Sindhu Reddy. The Rafale fighter jets of the Indian Air Force will also form part of the fly past during the parade.
- The Army contingent is being represented by Punjab Regiment which is one of the oldest Regiments of the Indian Army.
- The Rajputana Rifles Regiment Band is accompanying the contingent.
Indian-French Army Association
World War I
- The association of the Indian and the French Armies dates back to World War 1. Over 1.3 million Indian soldiers participated in the war and almost 74,000 of them fought in the muddy trenches to never return again, while another 67,000 were wounded. Indian troops valiantly fought on French soil also. Their courage, valour and supreme sacrifice not only thwarted the enemy but also significantly contributed towards winning the war.
World War II
- Later World War 2 witnessed a whopping 2.5 million Indian soldiers making significant contribution in various theatres of the war from Asia to Africa and Europe. This also included the battlefields of France.
- The Indian troops established their valour in these wars which was well recognised in the form of several gallantry awards being bestowed on the Indian soldiers.
Awards and Honours
- The troops of the Punjab Regiment have participated in both the World Wars as well as the post-independence operations.
- In World War-I, they were awarded 18 Battle and Theatre Honours.
- The gallant soldiers fought in Mesopotamia, Gallipoli, Palestine, Egypt, China, Hongkong, Damascus and France.
- In France, they took part in an offensive near Neuve Chapelle in September 1915 earning the Battle Honours 'Loos' and ‘France and Flanders’. In World War-II, they earned 16 Battle Honours and 14 Theatre Honours.
Rajputana Rifles Regiment Band
- The Regiment is the seniormost rifle regiment of the Indian Army.
- Most of its battalions have a long and glorious history.
- They have taken part in some of the bloodiest battles in many theatres of the world.
- They have demonstrated exemplary contribution in both World Wars.
- During the World War-II, the battalions of the Regiment fought in every theatre where the Indian Army was involved.
- They are the recipient of six Victoria Cross prior to independence.
READ ALL ABOUT INDIA-FRANCE RELATIONS:
25 years of Strategic Partnership
- This year, India and France are celebrating 25 years of Strategic Partnership.
- The armies of both countries have been participating in joint exercises and sharing their experiences.
- Over the years, India and France have become reliable defence partners.
What is this partnership about?
- This partnership covers all aspects of bilateral cooperation which involve a strategic component.
- It is based on close cooperation in the sectors of defence, civil nuclear energy, space and security (cyber security, counter-terrorism, intelligence) and now includes a strong Indo-Pacific component.
- It requires high levels of trust between the two States Parties and a shared desire for a partnership of equals.
Why is it referred to as “strategic”?
- The strategic field includes issues relating to defence, civil nuclear energy, space and security.
- All these elements enable France and India to ensure their strategic independence, including by reducing their dependence on third countries in these areas.
- But this relationship is not limited to the strategic partnership: in recent years, it has been broadened to form a partnership on major global challenges for the planet (climate, environment, protecting the oceans, health).
- So, France and India founded the International Solar Alliance alongside COP21, and it is now working all over the world. Furthermore, the adoption of the bilateral roadmap on the Blue Economy and Ocean governance in February 2022 officialised the Indo-French commitment to sustainable development, the rational use of marine resources and research in the area of oceans.
- The relationship is also based on increasingly vibrant human and economic exchanges.
- The President of the French Republic has thus set an objective to host increasing numbers of Indian students in France by 2025. Furthermore, there are over 540 French companies and subsidiaries in India, employing almost 300,000 people.
- France and India are also continuing to strengthen their trade and investment in the areas of clean energy, smart cities, new technologies and health.
What is the philosophy of this partnership?
- France and India are linked via common values, a shared commitment to democracy, and a will to support and defend multilateralism and international law.
- Both countries are working to promote a multipolar world, governed by the law and respecting sovereignties.
- This partnership demonstrates the long-standing trust and solidarity between France and India over the past 25 years, including in difficult times.
- France was the first major Western country to build a long-term strategic partnership with India that was suited to a multipolar context.
- In 2018, Indian Prime Minister N. Modi stated that India considered France one of its most trusted defence partners.
- In his address in Chantilly in 2019, the President of the French Republic recalled that the alliance with India was essential to meet contemporary challenges and together achieve results.
- This relationship between France and India is thus a driver for responding to global challenges such as peace, security and the protection of the environment and biodiversity.
How is this partnership being implemented?
- France and India are engaged in constant, detailed dialogue at all levels. Specifically, over the last 25 years this partnership has been seen in many ways:
- the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft by India in 2016,
- the construction of 6 Scorpène-class submarines in Mumbai,
- encouragement for developing partnerships between industrial firms
- joint development and launch of satellites.
- France and India are also determined to ensure the success of the Jaitapur EPR nuclear power project, which will eventually provide India with reliable, affordable, low-carbon energy.
- The French and Indian armies frequently conduct joint exercises (e.g. Shakti, Varuna, Pegase, Garuda), demonstrating the efforts underway with a view to closer integration and interoperability wherever possible.
- Dialogue is also ongoing in the areas of space and cyberspace, as well as the fight against terrorism.
Q. 2023 marked 25 years of the India-France Strategic Partnership and it embodies the will of both nations to develop their respective strategic independence by drawing on concrete bilateral cooperation in order to maintain peace and global security. How is this partnership being implemented? Examine.