French President Francois Hollande to be 2016 R-Day chief guest

François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande (Photo By Jean-Marc Ayrault via Wikimedia Commons)

New Delhi: France President Francois Hollande is going to be India’s chief guest at the 67th Republic Day ceremony on January 26, 2016, according to a French daily Le Monde. Hollande’s presence will be seen as a moment and gesture of solidarity after the Islamic State’s terrorist attacks on Paris.

The invitation to Hollande was extended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier and has been accepted by the Elysees Palace. India had strongly expressed its support for France in the wake of the Paris tragedy and Modi urged stronger and concerted international action against terrorism at the G 20 meeting that took place soon after in Turkey.

Hollande’s presence also marks the steadily rising profile of the Republic Day, a process that began under UPA with significant world leaders attending the function. Earlier this year US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle were guests on January 26.

French presidents have been a favourite at Republic Day celebrations – Chirac came in 1998, Nicolas Sarkozy was here in 2008, so Hollande will be the third French president in India on Republic day in 2016.

The news was first tweeted by a South Asia correspondent of the newspaper and was later confirmed by sources in the Indian government. France President Francois Hollande is going to be India’s chief guest at the 67th Republic Day ceremony on January 26, 2016, according to a French daily Le Monde.

India’s relations with France have been cemented by defence deals like Mirage and now Rafale fighters and cooperation in nuclear energy.

The visit would be a way to express solidarity with France after the deadly terror attacks last weekend. PM will meet Hollande in a few weeks during the climate change conference.

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