Rawalpindi - French people will celebrate 14 July (today) as their National Day. The National Day of France also called Bastille Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, as well as the Fjte de la Fidiration which celebrated the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790.

Celebrations are held throughout France. The oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe is held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Ilysies in Paris. Pakistani people extend happiest congratulations to French nation on this occasion.

Pakistan has strong bilateral relations with France. One of the most important factors of ties between both countries is trade and defence cooperation which is expanding with each passing day.

According to official sources, France established diplomatic relations with Pakistan immediately after independence. Pakistan-French relations had achieved strategic nature almost 4 decades ago. Large defence acquisition by Pakistan (1970) sustained this relationship which was further strengthened by Agosta project. During the era of cold War Pakistan was considered as state deserving attention by France.

Pakistan has always cherished that good will gesture by France. During the past few decades France has been a major trading partner with Pakistan in defence.

In the past major defence deals between the two countries include procurement of Mirage fighters, DA-20 aircraft, Allouetter helicopters, mine hunters, Daphne class submarines and technological transfer of Agosta-90 submarines along with procurement of air to air surface missile and special munition. France has been the biggest supplier of military helicopters to Pakistan.

Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has extended his greetings and felicitations to the government and people of France on the eve of French National Day. In his message, the defence minister said on behalf of the government and the people of Pakistan and on his own behalf, he extends warm greetings and felicitations on the occasion of the national day. Pakistan-France relations have deepened further with each passing day.

“Our new initiatives will expand our engagement in political, defence, economic and people-to-people exchanges in coming days. I take this opportunity to convey my best wishes for the continued progress and prosperity of the people of France,” he said.

DG ISPR Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa while conveying congratulations on behalf of Army and on his own behalf to government, armed forces and people of France on their national day said Pakistan attaches greater importance to its bilateral defence ties with France, and term it a reliable and dependable friend.

Enhanced defence cooperation with France have been vital to counter the threat of extremism and terrorism and for lasting world peace. He said the two countries are also in talks to further augment their defence ties. “We wish French people a very happy national day,” he concluded.