New Delhi: French President Emmanuel Macron will kick-start his two-day trip to India on Thursday by visiting Jaipur's stunning hilltop fort of Amber, the iconic Hawa Mahal and the astronomical observation site of Jantar Mantar.
Macron will be the chief guest at the 75th Republic Day celebrations on January 26 at Delhi's Kartavya Path which would make him the sixth leader from France to grace the prestigious annual extravaganza.
In his nearly six-hour stay in Jaipur, Macron will also join Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a road show before the two leaders hold wide-ranging talks at the luxury hotel Taj Rambagh Palace on all key aspects of bilateral India-France ties and various geopolitical upheavals.
In Jaipur, President Macron will visit Amber Fort, Jantar Mantar, and Hawa Mahal, besides participating in a roadshow, officials said, refusing to elaborate further.
The French president's aircraft is scheduled to land at Jaipur airport at 2:30 PM on Thursday and he will depart for Delhi at around 8:50 pm, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.
The roadshow is scheduled to start at the Jantar Mantar area at 6 pm while Modi and Macron are set to begin their talks at 7:15 pm.
Ways to boost bilateral cooperation in a range of areas, including digital domain, defence, trade, clean energy, youth exchanges, and easing of visa norms for Indian students are set to be the focus of the talks, sources said.
It is expected that India's proposed procurement of 26 Rafale-M (marine version) fighter jets and three Scorpene submarines would also figure in the talks.
The negotiations for the procurement of the Rafale-M jets and three Scorpene submarines are moving forward "positively", the sources said.
It is not immediately clear whether there will be an announcement on the sealing of the two multi-billion dollar deals.
Modi and Macron are also expected to deliberate on expanding maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, the situation in the Red Sea, the Hamas-Israel conflict and the war in Ukraine.
On Friday, Macron will witness the Republic Day celebrations as the Chief Guest.
A 95-member marching contingent and a 33-member band contingent from France will take part in the parade.
Two Rafale fighter jets and an Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport aircraft of the French Air Force will also feature in the celebrations.
The French marching contingent from the French Foreign Legion features six Indians.
President Macron will also attend the 'At Home' reception by President Droupadi Murmu at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
He is also scheduled to hold a meeting with Murmu at 7:10 pm.
The French president is scheduled to depart Delhi at 10:05 pm on Friday.
Prime Minister Modi was the guest of honour at the prestigious Bastille Day Parade held on July 14 last year in Paris. President Macron visited India for the G-20 Summit in September last.
The defence and strategic ties between India and France have been on an upswing in the last few years.
The two strategic partners also expressed commitment to cooperate in the co-development and co-production of advanced defence technologies, including for the benefit of third countries.
The two sides are also expanding cooperation in the maritime domain, including in the Indian Ocean Region.