Jaipur | French president Emmanuel Macron arrived Thursday in this decked-up city, where he will spend several hours savouring the sites – and perhaps some roadside masala chai -- before engaging in talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on strengthening India-France ties.
Macron, who is the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in Delhi on January 26, was visiting Jaipur's iconic sites, including the hilltop Amber Palace, and was scheduled to participate in a roadshow with Modi later in the day.
The two leaders will hold official talks at Rambagh Palace hotel in the evening.
The French delegation was received by Governor Kalraj Mishra and Chief Minister Bhajanlal Sharma at the airport. A couple of hours later, Modi, who was on a visit to Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr, also reached Jaipur.
From the airport, Macron headed for Amber Fort. He was to visit Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal next.
It was also Modi's first visit to Rajasthan after the recent assembly polls, in which his Bharatiya Janata Party ousted the Congress government in the state.
The Macron-Modi roadshow will begin from Jantar Mantar and end at Hawa Mahal. According to details made available by officials earlier, the French leader is also expected to do some shopping in that touristy area.
There is no official word on it, but a trader who runs the ‘Sahu' teashop said the leaders will stop for a cup of his masala tea. He told PTI Videos that he would be paid digitally through UPI.
At Amber Fort, a red carpet was laid out and caparisoned elephants lined up for the French president.
Macron interacted there with a group of children holding banners proclaiming India-France friendship.
The delegation also browsed through artifacts on display at the temporary stalls set up near the entrance of the fort.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Diya Kumari were at the fort.
Cutouts and hoardings were earlier put up at several locations in Jaipur around the sites Modi and Macron were set to visit.
Security was tightened in the city and some traffic diversions put in place.