This is will be the first in-coming visit by a foreign dignitary in the new year

In the first in-coming visit by any foreign dignitary to India in 2021, Diplomatic Adviser to French President Macron, Emmanuel Bonne will visit Delhi on January 7 and 8. Bonne, who is National Security Advisor Ajit Doval's counterpart, will be in Delhi for a bilateral strategic dialogue on a two-day visit. Strategic dialogues between the two nations usually take place twice a year since 1998.

The visit, which will take place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, comes even as India and France have increased bilateral engagement. In September 2020, France's Defence Minister Florence Parly visited India for the Rafale induction ceremony.

Bonne had last visited India in 2019, during which he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. That year, France had invited India for the G7 summit at Biarritz.

PM Modi and French President Macron had spoken to each other last month. Key focus areas were COVID vaccines, cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, maritime security, defence cooperation, among other issues.

In October 2020, India called for a "coordinated" response on state supporting terror and radicalism amid French action in the aftermath of terror attacks in form of knife attacks in the country in the past few weeks.

Top sources said, "Terrorism and the radicalism that gives rise to it are the most chilling form of censorship...they threaten our cherished democratic freedoms and our shared republican ideals."

Adding, "Events of the past week in Paris and Nice have been horrific. India stands by France..."

Paris knife attack saw the beheading of a 47-year-old school teacher Samuel Paty by a Chechen Teenager who was miffed with him over drawing a caricature of Prophet Muhammad during a lecture on freedom of expression. Earlier this week, in a similar terror attack in the city of Nice, 3 people were killed.

Sources explained, "We cannot pretend such actions come from simply lone-wolf initiatives and misguided individuals. There is an infrastructure of radicalism, including its online manifestations, that comes into play."