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French Minister Challenges Covid Over Ties With India | India News


NEW DELHI: French Foreign Minister Yves Le Drian has braved the Covid surge from India to arrive here for in-person meetings with his counterpart S Jaishankar on a four-day bilateral visit.
Le Drian will hold formal talks with Jaishankar on Tuesday and call Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the evening. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who was here last week, was unable to meet with the prime minister. Modi is supposed to pay a bilateral visit to Paris after the India-Europe summit in Porto on May 8.
However, given the current Covid situation in the country, there is a rethinking as to whether the prime minister will actually go to Europe next month. It should be remembered that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson canceled his trip to India for Republic Day due to the rapid increase in Covid cases there. There is also another increase in Covid in Europe, which could make the summit more tense. Modi is expected to meet with the 27 heads of government at the informal summit in Porto. At this point, the Foreign Office seems more comfortable with incoming visits than outgoing ones.
Le Drian is also one of the keynote speakers at the virtual Raisina Dialogue and participates in a discussion with Jaishankar and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne on “multilateralism in the Indo-Pacific region”. He will travel to Bangalore to meet with Indian business groups and meet the tech community there, to urge new joint ventures with French entities.
A statement from the French embassy said, “… the talks will cover all aspects of the bilateral strategic partnership, joint initiatives in the Indo-Pacific, regional and global issues of common interest, and cooperation in the Security Council of the United Nations, where India currently sits as an elected member. “Johnson is scheduled to visit India on April 26, a visit that both parties see as very important as the two countries enter into a new and improved post-Brexit relationship.

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