India invites Hollande for R-Day parade, no confirmation yet | india | Hindustan Times
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India invites Hollande for R-Day parade, no confirmation yet

India has invited French President Francois Hollande to be the chief guest at next year’s Republic Day parade, a government source said on Saturday.

india Updated: Nov 21, 2015 18:18 IST
HT Correspondents
French President Francois Hollande.
French President Francois Hollande. (AFP File Photo)

India has invited French President Francois Hollande to be the chief guest at next year’s Republic Day parade, a government source told Hindustan Times on Saturday.

Indian officials, however, refrained from making a formal announcement over the invite.

Another source said the invite to Hollande was planned “much before” the November 13 attacks in Paris that killed 130, but the terror strikes gave it the “right context”.

If he accepts the invite, Hollande would make his second official visit to India in a single term. His predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy was the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade in 2008.

Officials in the delegation accompanying Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his visit to Malaysia and Singapore said they had noted reports on the invite, mostly based on a tweet by the South Asia correspondent of the French newspaper Le Monde.

“We cannot say anything officially till the formal announcement about the cheif guest is made. The media can report (on this issue) but we aren’t authorised to speak till it’s notified,” an official said.

The honour of being chief guest at the parade held every January 26 to showcase the country’s military might and development is usually reserved for the head of state or government of a country considered a close friend or key ally of India. US President Barack Obama was the chief guest at this year’s parade.

Hollande’s visit would likely give a push to ‘Make in India’ in the defence sector, the source said. The two nations are also likely to firm up ways to boost security ties and energy cooperation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Paris to attend the United Nations Climate conference on November 30.