NEW DELHI: French President Emmanuel Macron may have deferred his visit to India to next year, but he’s far from diffident about expressing his enthusiasm for the country.
In the preface to his memoir, ‘Revolution’ — which was published in Europe ahead of the 2017 Presidential election and will soon be released in India — the 40-year-old draws parallels between the ‘Make in India’ programme, and his own ‘Produce in France and Save the Planet’ policy. “Both our countries have understood that forthcoming growth is not pitted against, but resides in combating climate change,” Macron writes.
Part of the collaboration between the two countries is the International Solar Alliance (ISA) for which Macron was scheduled to visit India in December.
The summit has been postponed, and Macron is likely to visit in February 2018. Macron says that India has held a fascination for him for long. “… India, at once so distant and so near, fascinates me,” he writes, adding that he discovered the country through the Mahabharata.
“I discovered India in the path of dharma, which makes us responsible — each one of us in our respective fields and in solidarity with everyone — for the order of the world, in the principle of nonviolence in the quest for dignity and independence.”
Other influences he cites are Mahatma Gandhi and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen. “I have often recalled the precepts of Mahatma Gandhi, who said, ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world’. I share the belief that the difference between the possible and the impossible lies in our determination,” he observes.
As a student of economics, he read Amartya Sen and his capability approach, according to which the role of the state is to enable each person to realise their own capability to act.
He explains that the same questions that confronted French voters in May are sweeping across all democracies — “opt for the path of openness or insularity, break away from the march of the world or embrace it, yield to distrust of democracy or reaffirm liberty, equality and fraternity”.
India’s Constitution, he writes, upholds the values of the Age of Enlightenment and it is in the country’s pluralism that “lies the essence that unites [France and India].”