Exceptional French participation at Aero India 2017
50 French companies participated in the AeroIndia air show, the largest delegation amongst all foreign countries present. The flagship defence and civilian aerospace majors were represented along with a large number of SMEs willing to make and innovate in India.
Bangalore, 15 February 2017
Speech by the Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Mr Alexandre Ziegler at the reception hosted for GIFAS, the French Aerospace Industry Association on the occasion of Aero India 2017
Hon’ble Minister of Industry Shri Deshpande,
Monsieur l’Inspecteur Général des Armées, mon général,
Monsieur le Consul Général,
Monsieur le Directeur général du GIFAS,
Monsieur le Président de la Commission Internationale du GIFAS
Mesdames et messieurs les dirigeants et représentants d’entreprises
Mesdames et messieurs,
Chers amis, dear friends,
Vous me permettrez de m’adresser à vous en anglais ce soir, compte tenu de l’assistance indienne et internationale qui nous fait l’honneur de se joindre à cette réception.
It’s a great pleasure for me to welcome you this evening and I would like to warmly thank Mister Pierre Bourlot, Managing Director of GIFAS, the French Aerospace Industry Association, for all his efforts in making this reception possible. Pierre and I have known each other for almost 20 years now, and I am glad to see that you are as passionate about flying as ever.
I also would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Business France for the perfect organization of this event.
As you may know, this is my first participation in the AeroIndia air show, and I have been really impressed by what I have seen so far both from the ground and from above, since I had the privilege of taking my maiden flight on a Rafale yesterday.
This biannual event has grown over the years to become the biggest defence air show in Asia. The French industry’s participation in this major event has always been important, but it is quite exceptional this year. No less than 45 French companies are represented at the show, which makes our presence the largest amongst all foreign countries present this week. This French industrial presence is also quite comprehensive in terms of size and activities. We have all the most important French or Franco-European companies involved in the defence and civilian aerospace industry, such as Dassault Aviation, Airbus, Safran, Thales and MBDA. But there’s also quite a large number of SMEs, and I wish to especially commend their presence this week. Together with major global groups, they form the vibrant heart of our Indo-French cooperation, not only through the development of their business relations but also cross-investments and research, here in India or in France.
Your presence in great numbers in India during this show, regardless of the size of your company, speaks volumes of the willingness of the French industry to invest in long-term partnerships with India, at all the levels of the supply chain. This greatly contributes to the dynamism of our strategic partnership. Be assured that the French government, at all levels, will support your action.
I cannot but mention this year, the symbol of the exceptional quality of our strategic partnership, marked by the signature, on the 23rd of September last year in Delhi, of the Inter-Governmental Agreement for supplying the Indian Air Force with 36 state-of-the-art Rafale fighter aircraft. The Rafale is without doubt the star of this air show – we were all impressed yesterday by the very high standard of its flight demonstration. This landmark agreement, which represents the biggest defence contract ever signed by France in the aerospace sector and also the biggest defence contract ever signed by India, is the collective success of all its stakeholders, from the industry to all levels of the State - what we call the French Team. We can all be very proud of this major success. It has scaled up our strategic partnership to an unprecedented level, will secure this relationship for the next 50 years, and pave the way for many other opportunities between France and India.
I don’t want to speak at length and keep you from having a drink and interacting together, which is certainly the best thing to do this evening. So, to conclude, I wish to emphasize that India is definitely a country where French defence and aerospace companies are going to be increasingly present. The opportunities here are tremendous, and for the long term. Most of you are quite familiar with this market, its fantastic potential and its sometimes challenging environment, while some others are keen to learn more. Doing business here is not always easy, but it is really worth the effort. There is no single recipe for success, but I can certainly proffer a few ingredients that everybody should keep in mind: bring the best technologies, build trust with a long-term commitment, come back here again and again and be patient, believe in “make and innovate in India”.
I hope that this edition of the air show has already created many opportunities for all of you to deepen your contacts with our Indian partners.
Once again, thank you for participating in AeroIndia 2017, and for coming here tonight. I wish you all the best for your business development in India, and enjoy your time in Bangalore.