PM Modi bonds with President Macron over Indo-Pacific
In his 90 minute one to one meeting with French President Macron, PM Modi said the Ukraine war was now more about solutions and consequences rather than positions of respective countries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a 90 minute one-on-one meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday evening at Elysée Palace, focusing on the consequences and solutions to the war in Ukraine rather than the respective positions of the two countries with the two leaders discussing ways to counter the deteriorating environment in the Indo-Pacific.
While PM Modi was having an open exchange of thoughts ranging from strategy to philosophy with a trusted ally, his External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar had a separate discussion with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, met separately with French Defence Minister Florence Parly. They then joined Modi and Macron for delegation level talks.
It is understood that Modi shared his thoughts about the global consequence of the Ukraine war and its impact on food security of poorer nations. He made it clear that it is not the position on war that matters but the ability to push for solutions to the impending global crisis with Russia refusing to call an end to the war. Both PM Modi and President Macron have spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to end violence and sue for peace.
PM Modi let it be known to President Macron that India was ready to provide food and grain to poorer countries bilaterally to address the gap in global markets on account of the war, but that it needs permission from the WTO. The two leaders agreed on the threat posed by the impending food crisis and that the World Food Programme and the UN would need support to feed the poor of the world.
The two leaders acknowledged the environment in the Indo-Pacific with President Macron asking PM Modi what should be done bilaterally to counter belligerence and expansionist tendencies in the region. Both leaders are on the same page on the Indo-Pacific with navies of both countries exercising frequently. The common threat, of course, is China.
The two leaders, with only interpreters in the room, also spoke of Afghanistan, Pakistan, terrorism, and the global security environment.
While the two leaders had an expansive discussion, PM Modi and President Macron’s key aides interacted with each other. It was quite evident from the meeting between Doval and Parly that France was more than ready to participate in the ‘Make in India’ project by jointly manufacturing critical and emerging defence technologies in India and then exporting to third countries without any export licence regime.
HT learns that Modi was satisfied with his short but significant visit to France with all issues to be followed up by President Macron’s visit to India later this year and in the soon to be held strategic dialogue with a NSA level task force handling the defence cooperation between the two very close allies.