Paris: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been conferred with the highest honour of France, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, by French President Emmanuel Macron, an official statement said.
Modi was accorded a red-carpet welcome as he arrived in Paris on a two-day visit on Thursday. He will join Macron for the French National Day celebrations on Friday as the Guest of Honour.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted photographs from the award ceremony that took place at the Elysee Palace here, saying, “A warm gesture embodying the spirit of partnership. PM @narendramodi conferred with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, the highest award in France by President @EmmanuelMacron”.
“Prime minister thanked President Macron for this singular honour on behalf of the people of India,” the MEA said in a statement.
Earlier, the French President and First Lady Brigitte Macron hosted a private dinner for Modi at the Elysee Palace.
On Thursday evening, Modi addressed the Indian diaspora here and announced an agreement for the use of UPI in France, opening a huge new market for the Indian innovation in cashless instant payment.
In his nearly an hour-long speech to the enthusiastic crowd at the La Seine Musicale — a performing arts centre on an island in the river Seine — Modi outlined India’s fast-paced development and asserted that while the world is moving towards a new order, India’s strength and role is also changing very quickly.
Modi announced the opening of a new Indian consulate in Marseille in France and told the cheerful audience that Indian students doing masters in the European country will now get five-year-long post-study work visas.
Noting that France is celebrating its national day, in which he is the guest of honour, Modi said he has been to the country many a time but it was special this time, as he lauded its support to India and the strength of ties between the two countries, which mark 25th anniversary of their strategic partnership.
Describing people-to-people connect as a key foundation of the India-France partnership, he also asked the diaspora members to invest in India, noting that global experts are recognising the country’s attractiveness as an investment destination and the country is taking rapid strides in development.