21/11/2015 6:07 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Will French President François Hollande Attend The 2016 Republic Day Parade?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, shakes hands with French President Francois Hollande after their meeting a joint new conference at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, Friday, April 10, 2015, as part of a European tour for the Indian leader. French authorities are hoping to build up already-strong contacts with the fast-growing Asian nation amid talks about a possible big fighter-jet deal. (AP Photo / Jacques Brinon)

Republic Day, which has been turned into an opportunity to strengthen diplomatic ties by th Modi government, will be graced by another world leader in 2016. After last year's extensively publicised and covered Republic Day parade attended by US President Barack Obama, Narendra Modi's government may rope in French President Francois Hollande as the chief guest next year.

A journalist with Le Monde, France tweeted the news and later confirmed the same.

Though no official confirmation has come from the Narendra Modi government, speculations are rife that Hollande may be the next world leader in line to pay a visit to India during Republic Day.

On October 28 this year, The Telegraph had reported that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had extended an invitation to attend the Republic Day parade to Hollande.

"Hollande is expected to accept the invite, months after Modi visited France in April and announced that his government would circumvent an earlier tender to directly buy Rafale planes "off the shelf", a deal that could cost India more than $5 billion," The Telegraph report had said.

It added: "The invitation to Hollande, experts said, would also underscore the uniqueness of India's strategic relationship with France, the only major western nation that did not condemn the 1998 nuclear tests and, in fact, supplied key weapons to New Delhi during the 1999 Kargil war."

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