0 5 mins 10 mths

India’s promise as a counterweight to China in the Indo-Pacific led French President Emmanuel Macron to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi as guest of honour at the July 14 Bastille Day military parade. But does India have the will and means to deliver?

Issued on: 13/07/2023 – 07:28Modified: 13/07/2023 – 14:32

8 min

Indian soldiers march during a rehearsal for the Bastille Day parade in Paris, France on July 10, 2023.
Indian soldiers march during a rehearsal for the Bastille Day parade in Paris, France on July 10, 2023. © Christophe Ena, AP

Text by:Leela JACINTOFollow


>> Click here for Bastille Day Diplomacy (I): Arms, not human rights, on parade as Macron hosts Modi on July 14

Less than a year ago, French President Emmanuel Macron did not mince his words at the UN General Assembly when he slammed countries sitting on the fence about the Ukraine war, accusing them of “complicity” in Russia’s “new imperialism”.

“Those who are silent today are serving — whether against their will or secretly with a certain complicity — the cause of a new imperialism,” Macron said. “It is not a matter of choosing one side between East and West, or North or South. It’s a matter of responsibility” to the UN Charter, he added.

The Ukraine war has exposed rifts between the West and several Asian and African countries that see themselves as part of the “Global South”. While the West has roundly condemned the Russian aggression on Ukraine, several Global South nations have adopted a position of studied neutrality.

Read moreUkraine war exposes splits between Global North and South

The list of speakers at the 2022 UN General Assembly included Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose country abstained five times from condemning the invasion at the UN, including a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution demanding an independent inquiry on Russian violations in Ukraine.

Modi did get a mention in Macron’s speech. But it was not to chastise the Indian leader for New Delhi’s neutrality in the Ukraine war, nor its increased imports of cheap Russian oil under price caps imposed by global sanctions. Instead, the French leader praised his Indian counterpart for telling Russian President Vladimir Putin that, “today’s era is not a time for war” at a summit in Uzbekistan.

Macron’s soft spot for Modi will be on grand display on Friday, when the Indian prime minister attends the July 14 Bastille Day military parade in Paris as a guest of honour. The traditional military march on the Champs-Élysées will be followed by an untraditional “special dinner” for the visiting Indian prime minister in the magnificent Louvre, the world’s most visited museum. 

Despite India’s failure to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Macron has proved to be exceptionally willing to forgive Modi, a man he frequently addresses as “my friend”.

It’s a friendship rooted in deep economic and geostrategic interests. The red-carpet treatment at the Bastille Day festivities is an acknowledgment of the ties that bind Paris and New Delhi.

Defence deals and bilateral trade strengthen the relationship between the two countries, with big ticket weapon purchases and record commercial aviation contracts grabbing international headlines.

India and France are also historically committed to a multipolar world order, the two countries traditionally balancing their relations with Washington DC and Moscow. The rise of China and its expanding ambitions in the Indo-Pacific, a strategic region for both countries, also sees a convergence of geopolitical interests between Paris and New Delhi.

But as Macron’s “with us or against us” speech at the UN displays, India and France have different interests in a world increasingly polarised by the Ukraine war. Beyond the official communiques and joint statements, those fundamental differences are raising questions in international policy circles.

Friend through ‘thick and thin’ 

Modi’s invitation to the Bastille Day military parade marks the 25th anniversary of the France-India Strategic Partnership, notes a joint statement on the Elysée presidential palace website.

The France-India Strategic Partnership is not a household term in either country, but it’s a perennial on bilateral communiques.

Launched in 1998, the partnership lies at the root of a commonly-held view in New Delhi circles that France is India’s friend through “thick and thin”.

A quarter-century ago, India was slapped with US sanctions for conducting nuclear tests in its western Pokhran desert region. They led India’s arch foe Pakistan to conduct similar tests, sparking nuclear escalation fears in South Asia.

File photo released by the Indian government in May 1998 shows the site of an underground nuclear test in the Pokhran region in western India.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10 tips for an awesome and SEO-friendly blog post 9 February 2022 | 8 Comments | Tags Blog SEO, Blogging, Content SEO, SEO basics, SEO copywriting Get Yoast SEO Premium Drive more traffic to your site. Save time on doing SEO tasks. Reduce your site’s carbon footprint. And get 24/7 support. $99 USD / year (ex. VAT) Get Yoast SEO Premium » Read reviews from real users 4.6 / 5 Writing blog posts requires skill. To keep your reader interested, you should think about the structure of your content and keep it enjoyable. If people like and understand an article, they will be much more inclined to share it with others – and that will increase your rankings. So, if you want to improve your writing skills and your rankings, start with these tips on how to write an SEO-friendly blog post! For some, writing for SEO purposes and writing to attract and captivate your audience seem like two conflicting goals. I totally disagree. Sure, the words you want to be found for should be in a prominent place if you want an SEO-friendly blog post. But, over-using keywords severely hampers the readability of your text, which you definitely don’t want to do. In fact, a high keyphrase density can even be a signal to Google that you might be stuffing keywords in your text, and that can negatively affect your rankings. This post provides tips on writing blog posts that are SEO-friendly and readable. These two goals should always go hand in hand as we believe that writing in understandable language gets you more visitors and keeps them on your site. Master SEO copywriting and other vital SEO skills by getting Yoast SEO academy Premium. This gives you access to all our courses and the Yoast SEO Premium plugin! Before you start: do keyword research Before you start writing, you have to do keyword research. If you want to dominate the search results, you’ll have to figure out which words your audience actually searches for. These are the topics you should write about and the keywords you should use in your text. When you’ve done your keyword research and have a list of focus keywords to write about, it’s time to get on with writing. Here are 10 tips to help you end up with an awesome blog post! Writing tips for SEO-friendly blog posts Above all, your blog post has to be a good piece of writing. When starting a new blog post, many bloggers just start writing, typing whatever comes into their heads. While this may work for some people who have natural writing talents, others may need some help. Personally, I always follow these ‘rules’ when I write a new blog. 1. Think before you write! Before you start, think carefully about the message of your piece. What do you want to tell your readers, or which central question do you want to answer? What’s the purpose of your article? And what do you want your readers to do at the end of the page? Write down the answers to these questions before you begin and think about the search intent someone may have. An easy way to get an insight into this is by looking at the search results for the search term you want to rank with. 2. Devise a structure for your post To write a readable and SEO-friendly blog post, you need to create a clear structure. This means that every post should have: some sort of introduction (in which you introduce your topic); a body (in which the main message is written); a conclusion (in which you summarize the main ideas or draw a conclusion). In a few sentences, write down what you want to say in all three sections. You’ve now created a summary of your post. This will help you create a structured and readable blog post. Now the real writing can begin. 3. Use paragraphs and headings Everybody uses paragraphs, but not everybody uses them well. Don’t start each new sentence on a new line just because it looks nice. Also, try not to make them too lengthy, as each paragraph should have its own idea or subject. Ask yourself what the main idea of each paragraph is. You should be able to summarize that main idea in one sentence. If that’s not possible and you need more sentences to explain the main idea, you simply need to use more paragraphs. Proper headings also help your readers understand what a specific part of your text is about. If you want people to find their way through your articles, use subheadings to lead them. Subheadings help readers scan your page, and clarify the structure of your articles. They’re not just important for readability, but for SEO as well. That’s why I would also advise using your keyword in some of the subheadings. I do mean some of them, as using your keyword in every heading will make the text clunky and unnatural. This will put people off reading further. 4. Use transition words Transition words help people scan through your text and understand the relationship between sentences and paragraphs. For example, let’s say that there are three reasons for people to buy your product. You should use signal words like: ‘first of all’; ‘secondly’ and ‘finally’. Also, words like ‘however’, ‘similarly’ and ‘for example’ give a clear signal to your readers. Readers will instantly get that a conclusion will follow after words like ‘to sum up’ or ‘in short’. Transition words are therefore very important to add structure to your text. 5. Use related keywords Stuffing your article with your focus keyword makes it less attractive to read, and it can also hurt your rankings. Google is getting smarter, and it wants you to write content that users will love. It doesn’t want you to use your focus keyword in every other sentence and has other ways to analyze what your text is about. One of the ways that Google understands the topic of your text is by recognizing synonyms and other keywords that are related to your focus keyphrase. That’s why you should use synonyms and related keywords throughout your copy. Synonyms are relatively easy to think of, but thinking of the right related keywords is a bit more challenging. That’s why we’ve introduced a new feature in our plugin that helps you find related keyphrases right away. Based on your focus keyword, our plugin can generate a number of related keyphrases with the click of a button! Along with how many times that keyword is searched for and what the search trend looks like. This feature is powered by SEMrush and can be used in both our free and Premium plugins. So use this related keyphrase feature! 6. Optimize the length of your article Make sure your blog posts have a minimum of 300 words but keep the length of your article balanced. Google likes long articles, however, if your article is too long it can scare users away. I would advise to only write long articles when you know you’re a skilled writer. It’s asking a lot of your visitors to read your entire post when it’s lengthy. Check out this article if you’re not quite sure how long a blog post should be. And remember to keep using your focus keyphrase throughout your text to make sure you end up with an SEO-friendly blog post! 7. Link to existing content If you’ve already written content on the same topic as your current post, don’t forget to link to and from these posts. It will make your new blog post, and the existing posts, stronger because you’re showing authority on the subject. As well as that, your link structure is also important for your rankings in Google. And let’s not forget that linking to other content about a subject is great for your readers, as they may be interested in reading these related posts too. It helps them navigate your site. We call this internal linking and both your readers and Google will thank you for it. It helps them manage your content and understand relationships between different content on your site, so take some time to link to and from your previous content. Our internal linking tool can help you by suggesting relevant pages and posts on your site that you can link to. 8. Let other people read your post Before publishing your post, make sure to let someone else read it first. Ask them whether they understand the main concept of your post and invite them to correct any typos and grammatical errors. This can help you by providing an objective view of the readability and attractiveness of your text. If you have someone in your team who happens to be an expert on the topic you’re writing about, make sure to run your post past them. That way they can check whether you’re covering everything you need to and give suggestions to make your post even better. 9. Add content regularly Regularly adding new blog posts to your website tells Google that your website is alive. This is important because if your site isn’t active, Google will crawl it less often and this might negatively affect your rankings. But don’t just post for the sake of posting. Make sure that everything you post is high-quality content: informative, well-written articles that entertain readers and fit their search intent. If you have difficulty posting on a regular basis, it might be a great idea to create an editorial calendar for your blog. This allows you to structure this process in a way that fits you and your team. It’s also a good idea to update your old blog posts once in a while to avoid them getting stale. 10. Use our Yoast SEO plugin The analysis tool in our Yoast SEO plugin helps you write readable and SEO-friendly blog posts. Start by choosing the most important search term you want people to find this particular page for. This is your focus keyphrase. After you fill this in, our plugin runs all kinds of checks to see whether your post is optimized or still needs improving: Our plugin checks your post to see whether you’ve used the keyphrase in the right places, like your copy, SEO title, meta description, alt text and URL. Yoast SEO Premium also recognizes different word forms of your keyphrase. It gives you suggestions for related keyphrases that you can add to boost the quality and relevance of your content. It checks the readability of your text: Are your sentences or paragraphs too long? Do you use transition words? It checks the internal and external links in your article. Yoast SEO Premium even provides suggestions for links to related articles on your site. It calculates how often you use your keyphrase throughout your text: not enough or too often? When you have Premium it also checks if you’ve distributed your keyphrase evenly throughout your post. It also checks if other pages on your website use the same focus keyword, to prevent you from competing with yourself. If you write a relatively SEO-friendly blog post (based on the aspects discussed above) the plugin will indicate this with a green bullet. Posts and pages with green bullets will help you improve the ranking of the pages on your website. Note that not every dot has to be green for the overall SEO score to be good. For instance, these are the results of this post, which does have an overall green bullet for our focus keyphrase “SEO-friendly blog post”:

13 mins 10 mths

1 min 10 mths