Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay homage to the thousands of Indian soldiers killed in WWI at a memorial in the French city of Lille and will also visit the southern city of Toulouse during his visit to France beginning on Thursday evening.
Modi will be accorded a ceremonial welcome on Friday morning in Paris with the “highest protocol and honours”. He will meet a select group of top French business leaders to discuss his Make in India initiative, diplomatic sources said.
Modi begins a week-long three-nation trip to France, Germany and Canada from April 10 which he has said will be focused on boosting the Indian economy through investments and manufacturing for creating jobs.
In Paris, Modi will visit the UNESCO headquarters on April 10 to meet its director general Irina Bokova. He will address the diplomatic community, private sector representatives, UNESCO staff, and leading personalities, including UNESCO’s Paris-based goodwill ambassadors there.
Modi will also offer flowers to the statue of Sri Aurobindo, the Indian philosopher who took part in India’s independence movement, at the UNESCO headquarters.
Modi will then visit the French National Assembly where over lunch he will meet senior political leaders. In the evening, Modi will meet President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace for bilateral talks.
The Indo-French CEOs Forum, which is to meet on Thursday, will present its report to the two leaders, the source added.
A number of MoUs are expected to be inked, especially in the field of Smart Cities, the sources added. Modi and Hollande will meet the media after inking the MoUs.
On Saturday, Modi accompanied by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, the No.2 in the government, will fly to Toulouse.
In Toulouse, he will visit the French space centre CNES or the National Centre for Space Studies, where the two sides will examine further cooperation in the area of space.
He will also visit Airbus SAS, the aircraft manufacturing division of Airbus Group in Blagnac, near Toulouse.
From there he will fly to Lille to visit the Neuve Chapelle war memorial in the memory of the thousands of Indian soldiers who died in the battle of Neuve Chapelle during World War I, the sources added.
He will also visit a trade fair and then depart on Sunday for Germany.