Indo-French Investment Conclave & 11th Urban Mobility India Conference

H.E. Mr Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India led 100-strong French delegation at Indo-French Investment Conclave graced by Shri Nitin Gadkari, Shri Devendra Fadnavis, and Shri Chandrashekhar K. Bawankule and delivered the keynote address at the 11th Urban Mobility India Conference.

Nagpur, 2 November 2018

H.E. Mr Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India, headed a delegation of over 100 French company leaders to Nagpur on 2nd November 2018 to enhance France’s cooperation with India in all aspects of sustainable urban development.

Ambassador Ziegler delivered the keynote address at the 11th Urban Mobility India Conference, the flagship event of the Ministry of Urban and Housing Affairs (MoHUA), GoI. He highlighted France’s technical and financial support to India’s urban transformation through collaboration in various metro, urban mobility and smart city projects through the French Development Agency (AFD).

Thereafter, Mr Ziegler led the French corporate delegation from the key sectors of defence and aerospace, smart mobility and logistics, sustainable development, and infrastructure to the Indo-French Investment Conclave. Organised by the Embassy of France in collaboration with Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IFCCI), the Conclave was graced by Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India, Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, and Shri Chandrashekhar K. Bawankule, Hon’ble Minister of Energy, New and Renewable Energy, and State Excise.

The event held special significance as it opened many avenues for a bilateral trade partnership between India and France. Over 300 visitors and around 30 French companies were expected to participate in the discussions leading to an enabling environment for boosting the Indo-French partnership. The event also brought together Indian national and state authorities, policymakers, top private sector players from India and France, multilateral agencies, and eminent industry experts.

On the occasion of this visit, Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler said, “France provides expertise and financial aid to Nagpur’s projects under the Smart Cities Mission. Collective work on urban mobility, the metro – a project being conducted alongside our German partners – and the rejuvenation of the Nag riverbanks is in progress. French companies see great potential in the Indian economy. They invest, manufacture, and innovate in India. Maharashtra is emerging as a very promising investment destination, and I am confident that this Conclave will prove to be a very fruitful moment for the Indo-French trade relations.”

France is among India’s largest foreign investors. French companies are concentrated in large metropolitan cities such as Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata. In 2016-17, the bilateral trade between India and France stood at US$10.96 billion, compared to US$ 8.3 billion in 2015-16, as per data from the Indian Government. In March 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed to increasing trade relations between India and France to US$17.29 billion) by 2022.

11th Urban Mobility India Conference - Address of H.E. Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India

Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation
Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra,
His Excellency Dr. Martin Ney, Ambassador of Germany to India
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s a great pleasure to be with you in Nagpur this morning for the inauguration of the 11th Urban Mobility India Conference.

Sustainable urban development is today a key theme embedded in the international agenda, for it is clear that cities are a critical place for the future of humanity: half of the global population lives in cities, and these are responsible for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions. Transport is a critical component of the urban structure. It is considered as a major public service. It enables billions of people to go to work or to school, or to visit friends and family every day. In the meantime, you all know the facts: transport accounts for a quarter of all global emissions and it is a major consumer of energy.

Considering the key challenges urban areas will face in the coming years, I think today we all share the same conclusion: urban transport plays a key role in urban and climate policy. I am deeply convinced that developing clean, intelligent, safe and affordable urban transport systems is the need of the hour. Urban transport is indeed a fast-growing sector, combining both economic and ecological opportunities. Modernising this sector will be critical to fighting climate change, and fulfilling our commitments in terms of sustainable development. By making transport greener, we will be taking a giant step in the right direction.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In India, we are now at the peak of a disruption in the field of transport mobility. 100 Indian cities have been selected under the Smart Cities Mission over the last two years. Sustainable public transport systems are a critical element of their projects. There are no fewer than 15 metro projects at the moment in India. And the metro policy gives a further push to the sector by sending a clear message on promoting urban public transport, including not only the metro but also other innovative modes of transport.

France, too, has given a considerable push to the development of various modes of public transport, from tramways to urban cable cars, buses and BRT, or initiatives promoting the use of bicycles, e-bicycles and shared mobility. And this is going further with ambitious new projects, such as the development of automated metro systems in Greater Paris area or self-driving vehicle experiments.

Cities do, indeed, need multiple modes of transport to provide sustainable mobility. And the major upward trend in electric mobility is a part of this revolution. France has set itself a target of 100% low emission vehicles by 2040. India, too, has projected very ambitious objectives. On this particular issue and on many others, France and India can work hand in hand to raise awareness, and lead the movement in the right direction.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Institutional cooperation in urban development and urban transport between France and India is being intensified and expanded day by day. These are not just words, this is real; and one of the best examples is right here, in the streets of Nagpur. We are today gathered in one of the three cities currently receiving the French government’s technical assistance through the French Development Agency (AFD), our bilateral development financial institution. The AFD contributes more than 9 billion Rupees to the financing of the Nagpur metro. Germany, through its public development bank KfW, is also part of this great project.

This metro project is an example of AFD’s current implication in India. But AFD is willing to further strengthen its commitments alongside Indian stakeholders. This is why AFD has partnered with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and the National Institute for Urban Affairs (NIUA) to create a program called “CITIIS”: City Investments to Innovate, Integrate and Sustain. AFD is lending around 8 billion Rupees, and the European Union is giving 480 million Rupees to help finance 15 projects, among which some will concern urban mobility. To all the local government representatives here today, I want to say: this is a great opportunity for your cities. If you have a project to make urban transports greener in your city, this exciting program led by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and NIUA can support it, and France is profoundly glad to be a part of it.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I want to also underline that French companies in the urban transport sector are committed to investing, innovating and making in India. And these are not mere words: in every single metro project running in India, at least one French company is involved. This figure itself speaks volumes. Other French companies are working here on innovative solutions for alternative modes of transport, such as intelligent transport systems for buses, cable cars, tramways and self-driving vehicles. These companies cover the entire value chain: from feasibility studies to rolling stock, systems, signaling and IT, up to operation and maintenance.

Here, too, the dynamic city that is hosting us today is a great example of the involvement of French companies. Solstyce, Citelum, EDF International Networks and G2Mobility are currently discussing with the Nagpur Municipal Corporation about a study and a proof of concept for the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations in Nagpur. This project is very promising, and shows how French companies are willing to work with Indian cities in their journey towards greener urban mobility.

Before concluding, I would like to congratulate the team behind the conception and organization of this major event and reiterate to our Indian friends that they can count on France’s support. I wish you all fruitful debates during the panel discussions planned over the week-end.

Thank you.

Indo-French Investment Conclave - Address of H.E. Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India

Nagpur, 3 November 2018

Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways,
Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra,
Mr. Guillaume Girard-Reydet, President of IFCCI,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to be before you today at the Indo-French Investment Conclave organized by the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

I would like to greet all the representatives of Indian and French companies present here today for this exciting event. I am sure you had very useful and insightful discussions during the two panel discussions that took place earlier this afternoon.

These panel discussions addressed topics ranging from defense and aerospace to smart mobility, logistics and infrastructure. These topics are diverse. They are also of strategic importance for both our countries.

And the presence today of the Hon’ble Minister of Road Transport and Highways, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, and more than a hundred companies , show the depth and strength of the Indo-French economic relationship.

France and India have indeed a lot in common. Our two countries share core values, which shape the everyday lives of our citizens and companies. The rule of law and democracy are among the deepest and strongest commonalities that make France and India great partners.

Based on these core values, France and India have long established a strong strategic partnership, which is celebrating 20 years of its institution this year. This means that we collaborate not only to ensure our defence and security but also to promote peaceful international relations in a multipolar world. This also means that we can join forces to face together burning global issues, such as climate change.
India’s contribution to the Paris Agreement has been critical. Our two countries co-founded the International Solar Alliance, and in doing so, took the lead in encouraging other countries to maximize the solar potential of the planet.

But there can’t be any solid strategic partnership if it’s not based on a solid people-to-people partnership, and on strong economic cooperation.

Here again, this partnership has been developing on a very dynamic path these past few years. Our trade relations, which we manage to maintain balanced between France and India, have grown by almost 20% last year alone, reaching the unprecedented figure of 15 billion euros in 2017. It has almost doubled since 2009.

Now, not only do our countries trade with each other, but they also make, invest and innovate in each other’s lands. Around 600 French companies are established in India, and they employ more than 350 000 people. Around 150 Indian companies are now present in France, providing work to 7 000 persons. Over the ten past years, French Foreign Direct Investment stocks in India have shot up almost four-fold. And because we are in Nagpur, let me tell you that Maharashtra is still leading the way as far as French footprint and investments in India are concerned.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is impressive, this is promising, but this is not enough. Our ambition for the Indo-French business relationship goes way beyond these figures. The potential is huge, and we collectively need to work towards increasing the investments of French companies in India, and of Indian companies in France. I say “we” need to work, as it is a challenge that concerns both public and private actors. An investment is not only a company or a government’s decision; it is a team effort. A company cannot decide to invest without some guarantees from the public actors: a legal framework that encourages business and investments, including research and development, but one that also provides an efficient system for protecting and respecting intellectual property rights and enforces an efficient litigation system. We are all needed on board. And I am confident that we all are working towards this, as today’s event shows with the presence of the Indian Union Ministry, the Maharashtra Government, Indian companies, French companies, the French Government, the French Development Agency… We are working hand in hand today to discuss how we can intensify our links and realise our ambitions.

I want to seize the opportunity I have today to thank you all. You are a major part of the Indo-French relationship, and you contribute to making France and India better and greater partners every day. The development and increase of Indo-French investment starts with all of us. And it is also taking place right here.

Hon’ble Union Minister, Hon’ble Chief Minister, I know that the City of Nagpur is close to your heart and you have worked hard to foster its urban and industrial development. France is committed to supporting this vision through its concrete action as part of Nagpur’s Smart City projects, or through our support in the financing of major infrastructure projects, namely the rejuvenation of the Nagpur waterfront and the Nagpur metro. As earlier mentioned, several French companies are establishing a firm base here. In fact, the agreements that are being exchanged today with French companies Turgis & Gaillard, Thales and Technique solaire – all industry experts in the aeronautics, engineering and energy sectors firmly establishing their presence in Nagpur and Maharashtra – will, I am convinced, continue to strengthen our partnership.

In a few minutes, we will all witness the exchange of agreements between Indian and French organizations. This amply illustrates the strength and momentum of our business relationships. This is a very exciting moment, which I am pleased to be a part of. Congratulations to all the signatories of these agreements. May this be a new step towards a long and fruitful collaboration between your companies and organizations.

Before concluding, I would like to congratulate the IFCCI team, which is behind the conception and organization of this major event, and reiterate to our Indian friends that they can count on France’s support. You can be assured of the commitment of the French government, and all its teams in India: the Embassy, Business France, the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the French Development Agency (AFD). I wish you all fruitful debates during the final panel discussion later today.

Thank you.

Last modified on 16/11/2018

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