French Ambassador on a four-day trip in South India
H.E. Mr Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India, undertook an official trip in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, from 8th to 11th October 2017, to bolster cooperation between France and this region of India.
Ambassador Ziegler’s visit commenced on Sunday, 8th October with a visit of Auroville, where he met personalities from its resident community. In the afternoon, he continued onwards to Puducherry to spend the afternoon at Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
On Monday, 9th October, Mr Ziegler delivered the keynote address for the daylong conference focusing on “Puducherry: a Smart City”, graced by Shri V. Narayanasamy, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Puducherry, and Sri A Namassivayam, Hon’ble Minister of LAD. Shri Manoj Parida, Chief Secretary delivered the inaugural address, while Shri P. Jawahar, Secretary to the Government, presented the Union Territory’s Smart City projects and implementation strategy. The French Smart Cities Club, which brings together French companies from the sustainable urban development sector, participated with a 30-strong delegation. The French companies will offer expertise and know-how in sectors ranging from multi-modal transport and logistics, port and shipping, construction and infrastructure, tourism and hospitality, to urban planning and design, energy and environment, clean water and waste management, and e-governance and city branding.
On this occasion, the French Development Agency (AFD) signed an agreement for water supply projects with the Puducherry authorities, who also launched the Puducherry Smart City Development Limited website.
On Tuesday, 10th October, Ambassador Ziegler travelled to Tiruvallur district, where he was given a guided tour of Michelin’s tyre-manufacturing plant. Along with its Chairman, Mr Jean Dominique SENARD, he inaugurated the French global major’s new production line – yet another testament to the vigour of French industrial activity in South India.
In the evening, Mr Alexandre Zielgler inaugurated the Bureau de France in Chennai, the new branch of the Consulate General of France in Puducherry. Housing Consular Services, as well as the respective offices of Business France and Campus France, Bureau de France has been established to meet the needs of the growing number of Indian travellers and students in France as well as that of the French citizens and corporate houses established in this district.
On Wednesday, 11th October, the French Ambassador focused on enhancing people-to-people contacts between France and India in the tourism sector and academics. At Sishya School, he met its Principal, Ms Omana Thomas, and Dr Salim Thomas, Administrator and Chair-Board of Trustees. He also met Ms Isabelle Clermont, Principal of EFIS-Ecole franco-indienne Shishya (Shishya Indo-French School), which is established at Shishya School.
Thereafter, Mr Ziegler met Rev. Fr. A.M. Francis Jayapathy, Rector of Loyola College, as well as Mr Marc Genuyt, Programme Director of ICAM (Institut Catholique des Arts et Métiers), Loyola College’s international academic collaboration with Lille Catholic University, France. During this visit, the ambassador interacted with students of the college’s French Department as well as its head, Dr Abarna Roy.
On the last day of his tour, Ambassador Ziegler also held a press conference welcoming the forthcoming launch, on 29th October, of a Jet Airways Chennai-Paris non-stop flight, which will not only improve connectivity between the two countries but also to 14 cities in North America and 27 cities in Europe.