India visit of Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault
H.E. Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, visited India from 8th to 11th January 2017.
8th - 11th January 2017
At the invitation of the government of Gujarat, he participated in the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in Ahmedabad on 10th January, at which France was a partner country. He also visited the cities of Bengaluru and Delhi.
The Minister’s visit offered an opportunity to strengthen various areas of the dynamic Indo-French bilateral partnership: economic, including industrial collaboration under “Make in India” and innovative start-ups; French expertise for the sustainable development of Indian cities; space, one of the cornerstones of the Indo-French strategic partnership; and education, declared a priority by the highest executive leaders of both countries.
In the course of his trip, Mr Ayrault met Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, and Shri M.J. Akbar, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs. He also met members of the French and Indian business communities in the cities included in his programme.
The Minister started his visit on Sunday, 8th January in Bengaluru. In line with the priority to boost academic exchanges, he launched the Bengaluru chapter of France Alumni network. Conceived as a digital platform to connect foreign students who have studied in French higher education institutes, this international network will help alumni acquire key industry knowledge and explore career opportunities. Mr Ayrault also witnessed the signing of an MoU between between France’s Studialis network of higher education and India’s iNurture to establish a campus of excellence in Bengaluru for design, arts, communications and management. At the same venue, the Alliance française de Bangalore, he tried out the first-of-its-kind Gaming Lounge in India, exclusively dedicated to learning French using exciting, interactive videogames developed by French multinational Ubisoft.
His Bengaluru schedule on Monday, 9th January also saw the Minister ride the Bangalore metro, which has been partially funded by the French Development Agency (AFD) through an initial credit line of 110 million euros in 2012 and a second allocation of 200 million euros in 2015. French companies - including Systra, Egis, Alstom and Thales - are also involved in this massive project providing services in signalling, telecommunication, technical studies and consultancy. Thereafter, Mr Ayrault was given a guided tour of Airbus Bizlab, a global business accelerator for start-ups with innovative ideas.
The afternoon was dedicated to space cooperation, a historic and dynamic cooperation between France and India that spans to over 50 years. Mr Ayrault met Mr A.S. Kiran Kumar, Chairman - Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). On this occasion, Mr Kumar and Mr Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of the French Space Agency (CNES) concluded a partnership in satellite launch technology between ISRO and CNES respectively. Mr Kumar gave the Minister and Mr Le Gall a tour of the Mission Control Centre, including the control rooms for Indo-French satellites.
Mr Ayrault also met Mr Rahul Narayan, CEO of start-up TeamIndus from Axiom Research Labs and leader of the Indian “NewSpace”. CNES signed an MoU for equipping the Lab’s lunar rovers with cameras.
On Tuesday, 10th January, the Minister was in Gujarat, where he paid tribute to the Mahatma at the Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati. He participated in the inaugural session of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, at which he led a large delegation of French companies. On this occasion, he met Shri Vijay Rupani, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat, and Shri Pankaj Patel, President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
Mr Ayrault’s trip in India concluded on Wednesday, 11th January, in Delhi, where he delivered the keynote address of the 7th R.K. Mishra Memorial Lecture, organized by the Observer Research Foundation. The theme for this edition was “The European Union, an Indispensable Actor in an Uncertain World”. He also visited the NGO Kamalini, which empowers underprivileged young girls and women by imparting basic education and vocational training. Before leaving India, the minister had the opportunity to absorb the atmosphere of the majestic Jama Masjid and the bustling by-lanes of Old Delhi.
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- Signing of ISRO-CNES and CNES-TeamIndus agreements