French National Day Reception 2017
Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler’s address at the reception.
New Delhi, 14 July 2017
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Honourable representatives of the French region of Occitanie, Monsieur le Président
My dear colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It’s an honour for my wife and I to welcome you at the Residence of France on our National Day.
I am delighted to welcome tonight our Indian partners and friends, together with the French community.
My dear friends,
Our National Day is an opportunity to celebrate our values and to remember the sacrifices made to defend them. It is also a day of joy and happiness, with popular celebrations being held in every city and village of France. Tonight, I would like to share this spirit with you.
The past months have been very important for France. Last May, the French people have elected a new President, then later in June a new Parliament, reaffirming their commitment to the European project, and to a clear and optimistic vision of their future. Moreover, they have rejected withdrawal from the world, standing by our principles of an open Nation, welcoming exchanges with the rest of the world. And in this world, that has become so unpredictable, not to say so dangerous, we will need to rely more than ever on solid and strong partnerships like the one we have developed with India.
With India, our relation is excellent. It is based on shared values and on long-established ties of trust. France and India know that they can count on each other. Our strategic partnership has grown immensely over the past year. When they met in Paris for the first time, last June, Prime Minister Modi and President Macron reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing strategic, security and defence ties between our two countries.
But they also agreed on the necessity to scale-up our partnership to a new dimension: to transform it into a partnership that would build and bring collective responses to the challenges of the world, notably on climate change. Prime Minister Modi has invited President Macron to visit India before the end of the year. This is what this visit should all be about.
Our road map is clear: yes, we must strengthen our already strong strategic partnership! But we must also focus on new sectors of our cooperation: on innovation, on technology, on education, on trade and investments, and bring our cooperation to new heights, especially aiming at supporting the major programs that are shaping tomorrow’s India in the field of energy or sustainable development.
These are not mere words. This is already happening today:
- A lot of French companies have long-standing presence, here, and are already “making in India”. But what is less known is that they are also innovating in India at an ever-increasing rate. Did you know that 25 major French companies have already set-up a R&D centre in India?
- On climate change, India and France have built together the International Solar Alliance. It will bring to the world concrete solutions for a new prosperous but sustainable development model.
- On Education, the French government has set a target to attract 10,000 Indian students by 2020. We must do it, for these young talented people will nurture our partnership for the decades to come.
- On cultural exchanges, I am delighted to announce that, this year, we will hold the third edition of “Bonjour India”, the festival of France in India. “Bonjour India” will take off in November 2017 and run through February 2018 across 40 Indian cities. It will celebrate not only French culture and arts but also its social, technological and environmental innovation.
These are only examples. They demonstrate that, together, French and Indian people can achieve great things and that we must strongly believe in the future of the Indo-French partnership.
Now, I would like to say a few words in French to my fellow citizens. My friends who don’t speak French, please bear with us for a short while.
Je tenais tout d’abord à vous faire part de ma joie de vous accueillir cette année dans un nouveau format de célébration, de plus grande ampleur, plus festif, à l’image de celles que nous chérissons en France. J’ai souhaité cette année un événement rassembleur, avec nos amis indiens, à l’image des liens qui nous unissent.
Notre pays a connu cette année de grands changements. Il a choisi de demeurer ouvert sur le monde et conquérant. Je m’en réjouis car je sais à quel point nous avons tant d’atouts, de savoir-faire, et de talents à faire valoir ici, comme partout dans le monde.
L’année écoulée a été marquée par un approfondissement sans précédent de notre partenariat avec l’Inde. Et ce partenariat, c’est vous qui le construisez chaque jour. J’ai pu me rendre compte tout au long de cette année de votre engagement, de votre ambition et de vos succès dans tous les secteurs. Vous portez haut les couleurs de la France et je vous en remercie. Ce partenariat, nous allons, dans les mois qui viennent, le porter encore plus haut.
Je voudrais saluer, enfin, tous les partenaires qui ont rendu cette soirée possible. Nos entreprises ; des entreprises indiennes aussi. Elles sont toutes répertoriées derrière moi. Et puis bien sûr la région Occitanie, que j’ai voulu mettre à l’honneur cette année. Parce que ce sont nos territoires qui nourrissent au quotidien notre relation ; et aussi parce que la région Occitanie est aujourd’hui, de toutes les régions de France, la première région partenaire de l’Inde. Je remercie personnellement son Vice-Président, M. Cazaubon, de nous faire l’honneur de sa présence.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to thank heartily all the sponsors and partners that have made tonight’s reception possible. French companies, Indian companies: they are working every day to strengthen our partnership. Their support tonight is deeply appreciated.
I would like to express my gratitude to a French region, region of Occitanie, that have accepted to be our Partner region, this year. In a couple of minute, I will ask its vice-president, Mr Cazaubon, to say a few words to introduce this magnificent part of France.
Let me conclude by thanking all of you, once again, for being with us to celebrate our National Day and the exceptional relation of friendship between France and India.
Let’s now enjoy the evening.
Vive l’Inde, vive la France, vive le partenariat franco-indien !