|Rafale M on the menu?|
While the Rafale deal seems to be the main order of business during French President Francois Hollande's visit, other aspects could help sweeten the deal, says Claude Arpi.
There was a time when head of States could leisurely travel abroad and spend a couple weeks visiting one or two friendly foreign countries.
The times have changed. Like CEOs, they fly for a meeting at one corner of the planet and rush back the next day to deal with the complexities of domestic issues. Francois Hollande is no different.
On December 16, the Elysee Palace, as the France presidency is known, issued a short communique announcing that President Hollande would be the chief guest for India's Republic Day celebrations: 'This invitation conveys the excellent quality and dynamism of the strategic partnership between India and France, which will be further strengthened on this occasion. This visit will also follow on from the Paris Climate Conference, at which India played a decisive role in reaching an ambitious agreement.'
Well, let us be clear, Hollande does not come to discuss the weather with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The outcome of the Paris Conference, for which France worked hard for several months, was vague enough to leave to each country to be a good pupil if it wants, and to fulfill its promises.
Hollande comes to India to take the next step in the Rafale deal; of course, France like India has lately been the victim of terrorism.
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