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PM Modi in France: Here’s how being an Indian makes a big difference at a time when France is recovering from Islamist violence

On one hand, jihadi migrants and their social misconduct in a host nation displays their ideological and civilisational fall from grace. On the other hand, the grand welcome of the Indian Prime Minister by the Indian diaspora, the elegant and magnificent expression of Indian culture, and strategic ties with the French put a rising India at the centre stage.

Two different versions of France have emerged before us in the past month. A France violated by bullish Islamist mobs and then, a France echoing with the chorus “Namaste France”. None other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invigorating speech at La Seine Musicale in Paris displayed exactly what it means to be an Indian in a France bruised by jihadis time and again.

PM Modi at the La Seine Musicale in Paris, France. (Source: DD News)

On one hand, jihadis, who have migrated largely from North Africa, and their social misconduct in a host nation puts on display their ideological and civilisational fall from grace. On the other hand, the grand welcome of the Indian Prime Minister by the Indian diaspora, the elegant and magnificent expression of Indian culture, and strategic ties with the French put a rising India at the centre stage.

“Modi, Modi”, “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, and “Bharat Ka Sher Aya” in Paris on 14th July washed the city off of the deafening Islamist war cries that ghosted several French cities.

PM Modi accentuated the shared values between India and France. He likened the words in the national anthem of France “Marchons, marchons!” (Let’s march, Let’s march) with a verse in the Upanishad that says “Charaiveti, Charaiveti” (keep marching, keep marching). “This same value we will get to see in the National Day parade (of France).”

The Indian Armed Forces (Army, Air Force, Navy) on 14th July will participate in the Bastille Day Parade in Paris. The PM highlighted that the same Punjab Regiment whose bravehearts made the ultimate sacrifice in France in World War I, will be marching in the Bastille Day Parade on Friday; he called it an “emotional” moment for India. “This 100-year-long emotional connect, the tradition of making the ultimate sacrifice to defend someone is such a big inspiration friends. Which Indian will not be proud of this?,” said PM Modi amid chants of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai.”

President Macron gifted an image to PM Modi of a Parisian presenting flowers to a Sikh personnel on 14 July 1916 (source: DD News)

The very streets of Paris which were set ablaze by stomping jihadis and the skies which had billowing clouds of dark smoke merely a few days ago will on 14th July witness course correction thanks to the participation of Indian tri-services. “Be it climate change, global supply chain, terrorism, and radicalism…India’s experience and attempt in overcoming every challenge is proving to be helpful to the world,” said PM Modi while also underlining the “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” message of Sanatana Dharma.

One cannot impress enough upon the role of the people of an ascending nation in strengthening ties with another (country). Prime Minister Modi highlighted this point as he credited the Indian diaspora for strong Indo-France strategic ties.

India-France bilateral trade in goods (excluding military equipment) over 10 years stood at US$ 12.14 billion in 2021; bilateral trade in services over 5 years till 2021 stood at €6,279 million. Compare this to the damage caused by primitive mobs in just about a week to 10 days projected at about $1.1 billion. About 11,300 claims for the damages have been filed reportedly amounting to a total insurance cost of €650 million ($716 million).

Where rifts are emerging within the EU, and between EU nations and countries exporting illegal immigrants to the bloc, Prime Minister Modi highlighted his decades-old connection with France. “Friends, my personal attachment towards France goes back in time and I cannot forget it. Nearly 40 years ago the cultural center of France, Alliance française was launched in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad. And today, the first Indian member of that French cultural center in India is speaking to you,” PM said.

PM Modi’s Alliance Francaise D’ Ahmedabad membership card (source: DD News)

Prime Minister Modi has been conferred with France’s highest civilian honour, Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour by President Emmanuel Macron. He was also the Guest of Honor at the Bastille Day Parade.

PM Modi was accorded France’s highest civilian honor by President Emmanuel Macron.

Perhaps, France is still oblivious to ground realities or so it seems from some of the voices from its political corridors and the French media too. France’s leftist publication “La Monde” published a typical article titled “Betting on India is a short-sighted strategy for France” whining about and preaching the same “human rights and democratic values” to India. Such unsolicited opinions come despite radicals overpowering French law displaying the Left’s shocking attitude problem.

A month ago, far-left French politician Jean-Luc Melenchon, head of the opposition radical left France Unbowed Party, tweeted, “#Inde is a friendly country. But Narendra Modi, its prime minister, is far-right and violently hostile to Muslims in his country. He is not welcome at #14Juillet , a celebration of liberty equality fraternity which he despises.” In so far as the recent violence is concerned, Melenchon is busy trying to get his narrative right as he makes hue and cry about the violence perpetrated by the very Islamists he preaches India about.

It is not shocking hence that France has faced the wrath of the radicals time and again. Despite glaring evidence of rioting by jihadi Islamists as it unfolded leading to over 1300 arrests and several more detentions, there were voices in the French parliament living in denial. French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, refused to acknowledge the link between migrants and the riots.

France and the whole of Europe have faced enough to see how misplaced emotions that too sans objectivity can encourage radicalisation and anti-social elements. Whereas in the past 9 years, they have experienced a growing bond and reliable partnership with India and how it is a valuable alternative to aggressive expansionist powers. It is up to France to choose the path it wants to march on.

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Pragya Bakshi Sharma
Pragya Bakshi Sharma
Journalist with a journey from print to TV to digital news. Multi-tasker. Unstoppable Type 1 Diabetic running on insulin.

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