Tuesday

Bastille Day Parade - Feather in the cap for Indian Public Diplomacy

It was fascinating to watch the Maratha light infantry of the Indian Army LEAD the Bastille Day parade in Paris. It was full of symbolism that showcased the closeness of ties between France and India and also the importance of India in the new world order, where, just last week, the G-8 announced its own irrelevance and mooted the idea of a G-14 instead.

This symbolism will definitely give India an image boost in the West. Kudos to South Block mandarins for working towards it with the French. I am just curious to know the chain of events that led to it. How was the idea arrived at? Who mooted it first and why? Nonetheless, it does India's public diplomacy a lot good. I think it was a good 'stunt' to showcase the friendship, the relevance of India and also display a professional Indian army that can match the professionalism of the forces of a P 5 state.

There's a meeting of minds between France & India on a lot of issues:

  • Both support and strive to promote a multipolar world with both countries being one of the poles
  • France has been a defence supplier for India (Mirages for example) and now maybe the Rafale
  • The defence forces of both the countries share a healthy relationship and have participated in numerous joint exercises
  • France was also quick to sign a bilateral nuclear deal post the US-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation agreement
  • Both are stable democracies and France is supportive of India's candidacy for a permanent seat in the UN

Most Indian newspapers, including Hindustan Times and The Times of India reported that Manmohan Singh also became the first international leader to be invited to attend the parade at France (Sarkozy was the chief guest in India's republic day parade in 2008). However, it needs some verification. There were representatives from Cambodia and Germany too witnessing the parade. Nonetheless it was great honor for India indeed.

-- Madhur

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