French National Day 2017

14 juillet 2017, Bangalore

My dear colleagues from the diplomatic corps,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Chers compatriotes,

I am delighted to welcome tonight our Indian partners and friends, together with the French community, in the Novotel. Thank you for your presence and for braving the traffic!
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, we would like to share this spirit with you.

The past year has been very important for France. In May, the French people have elected a new President, then later in June a new Parliament, rejecting populism and reaffirming their commitment to the European project. Moreover, they rejected withdrawal from the world. France will stand by its principles and keep welcoming exchanges with the rest of the world.

In a world that has become so unpredictable, not to say dangerous, we will need more than ever to rely on solid and strong partnerships with countries that share our vision and our values. India is and will remain a major partner.

With India, our relation is excellent; it is based on long-established ties of trust. France and India know that they can count on each other. Our strategic partnership has developed significantly 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 ties between France and India.

But they also agreed on the necessity to scale-up our partnership towards a new dimension; to transform it into a partnership that would build and bring collective responses to the challenges of the world, notably terrorism and climate change. Prime Minister Modi has invited President Macron to visit India before the end of the year. This is what this coming visit should all be about.

Our road map is clear: we must strengthen our strong strategic partnership, but we must also focus on our already flourishing cooperation on innovation, on technology, on education or on trade and bring it to new heights, especially aiming at supporting the major programs that are shaping tomorrow’s India in the field of energy, sustainable urban development, and transport.

These are not mere words, this is already happening:
- Numerous French companies have long-standing presence in India, and Bangalore is one of their preferred destinations. They are already “making in India”. But what is less known is that they are also innovating in India at an ever-increasing rate: 25 majors French companies have already set-up a R&D centre India, many of them here in Bangalore. French-Tech and “Startup India” are increasingly working together.
- France is a long-term business partner for many Indians companies, and France is also proud to be the favourite travel destination for Indian tourists: last year, 600 000 Indians tourists (6 lacks !) travelled to France, it is a 20 % increase compared to 2015, and we hope this figure to be higher this year. We get ourselves ready to deliver more visas !
- On climate change, India and France have set-up 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. I am glad to see more and more Indian students choosing France as a destination for education. It has already doubled over the last five years. These young talented people, one third of them coming from Bangalore and Karnataka, will nurture and deepen 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 and 21 Indian States and Union territories, including, of course, Bangalore. It will celebrate not only French culture and arts but also its social, technological and environmental innovation.
These are only examples to 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.

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, and their continuous support is, once again, deeply appreciated.

AGS Fourwinds, Amadeus, BNP Paribas, Decathlon, Essilor, Faurecia, L’Oréal, Renault–Trident, Société Générale, Technicolor, Thomas Cook, Total, VFS Global. And of course a big thank you to the Novotel, and to the team of the Consulate, who has spared no effort to make this evening a success.

Now, I would like to say a few words in French to my fellow citizens.

Chers compatriotes,

Nous sommes environ un millier de Français à vivre à Bangalore. C’est peu et beaucoup à la fois. La présence française à Bangalore, c’est vous, c’est chacun de nous.

L’année écoulée a été marquée par un fort approfondissement de notre partenariat avec l’Inde. Ce partenariat, c’est vous qui le construisez chaque jour. Je mesure à chacune de nos rencontres votre engagement, votre ambition et vos succès dans tous les secteurs d’activité.

Merci à tous ceux, citoyens et entreprises, qui ont fait le choix de s’implanter ici et d’accompagner l’émergence de ce grand pays. Vous tous contribuez au rayonnement de la France. Les succès de la France en Inde, ce sont les vôtres. Vous portez haut les couleurs de la France. Ce partenariat, nous saurons le porter encore plus haut.

Vivre à 8 000 km de chez soi, pour quelques années ou davantage, n’est pas toujours facile. Notre solidarité, notre capacité à accueillir les nouveaux arrivants, sont l’une de nos forces. Je salue le travail bénévole de notre association Bangalore Accueil pour animer notre communauté.

Le projet en cours pour introduire un enseignement complémentaire en langue française dans certaines écoles où sont scolarisées nos enfants est un succès qu’il nous faut consolider.

Certains d’entre vous quittent l’Inde cet été. Ces départs et ces arrivées sont aussi ce qui rythme la vie d’une communauté comme la nôtre, majoritairement expatrié, et qui se renouvelle en partie chaque été. Je leur souhaite le meilleur pour leurs vies personnelle et professionnelle à venir. Je veux saluer en particulier deux départs au sein de l’équipe du Consulat : Claude Masegosa, qui a dirigé Business France à Bangalore pendant six ans, et Rémi Rouillon, le consul-adjoint, qui a veillé pendant quatre ans sur la communauté française.

Tous deux m’ont accueilli à mon arrivée, m’ont aidé à comprendre et à aimer Bangalore et, même si ce n’est pas encore tout à fait l’heure des au-revoir, je veux les remercier du fond du cœur pour tout ce qu’ils ont apporté pendant ces années ici. Je sais qu’ils partent en emmenant un peu de l’Inde avec eux. Bonne route à eux et à ceux qui partent cet été, nous accueillerons à la rentrée les nouveaux comme ils ont su nous accueillir.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Once again, thank you for sharing this evening with us and for strengthening, all year round, the partnership between France and India. Let’s now enjoy the evening and let me conclude in French:

Vive l’Inde! Vive la France ! Vive l’amitié franco-indienne!

Last modified on 14/03/2018

top of the page