French National Day reception 2018
My dear colleagues from the diplomatic corps,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to welcome tonight our Indian partners and friends, together with the French community. Our National Day is an opportunity to celebrate our values and to remember the sacrifices made to defend them. This year, it has a special meaning, as we celebrate the centenary of the end of the First World War.
This centenary has a special resonance as we remember the sacrifice made by Indian soldiers who fought alongside the French. And this reminds us of the values of multilateralism that we share for the last seventy years and which have guaranteed peace to both our nations ; these must be upheld more than ever.
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. We celebrate this year 20 years of our strategic partnership with India; the first strategic partnership that was signed by India. It is twenty years since France made the choice that India would be its privileged partner in Asia: this choice has never been wavered.
It is precisely for this reason that the visit of the French President, in the month of March this year, has such a particularly strong impact. This was his maiden visit to India, and the President underlined, over the three-day visit, the strong Indo-French relation.
Under strategic partnership, we have cemented our involvement in the Indian Ocean and reaffirmed our commitment to reinforcing our cooperation in the fields of defense and security. We have also secured our partnership for planet Earth by expressing our joint undertaking against climate change, with the launch of the International Solar Alliance.
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 and the target is to enroll 10 000 Indian students to study in France by the year 2020.
Numerous French companies have long-standing presence in India, and Bangalore is one of their preferred destinations. They make in India, they innovate in India.
France is also proud to be the favourite travel destination for Indian tourists: last year, 600 000 Indians tourists travelled to France. We hope this figure to be higher this year. We get ourselves ready to deliver more visas!
Thank you once again, and for strengthening, all year round, the partnership between France and India. Let’s support the French Team tomorrow, and for those of you, who want to share the thrill of the game, join us at a private screening.
Let’s enjoy the evening and let me conclude in French: Vive l’Inde! Vive la France ! Vive l’amitié franco-indienne! Et allez les Bleus !