Interview of Christophe Sirugue to The Economic Times

Christophe Sirugue, French Minister of State for Industry, spoke to ET on growing Indo-French economic partnership on a visit to New Delhi. Edited excerpts:

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Christophe Sirugue, French Minister of State for Industry

New Delhi, 25 October 2016

On quantum of French investments in India

France is the third largest investor in India. French investment stock is well over €20 billion. French companies in India have a significant and diversified presence: most sectors of activity are represented through more than 1,000 entities spread over the Indian territory, employing over 3,00,000 skilled workers. French companies are set to bring in more than a billion euros annually in new investments over the next few years. French companies invest in India and they innovate in India, through more than 25 R&D centres.

On sectors attractive to French investors under Make in India initiative

Make in India programme offers tremendous opportunities for French companies, which have understood this well and incorporated it in their projects. The areas in which French companies are well-known for their expertise and in which India has immense needs, such as the development of Smart Cities, sustainable modes of transport, renewable energy, have particularly promising potential.

French companies account for 10% of India’s installed capacity in the solar energy sector. Besides they are present in the automobile industry, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, mechanical engineering, aerospace industry, services etc. Renault’s Kwid has met with great success among Indian consumers; Alstom Transport will build 800 electric locomotives in a "Make in India" unit in Bihar; Sanofi recently set up a vaccine production facility near Hyderabad.

On ease of doing business in India

Reforms initiated by Prime Minister Modi for facilitating FDI are going in the right direction: adoption of the GST is a very important step, which will help catalyse investment inflows. Raising the foreign investment rate in certain sectors, such as in insurance, has also contributed to India’s attractiveness. AXA has made a major investment to increase its share in the Bharti group.

On status of French assisted nuclear power plant in Jaitapur

The Jaitapur project negotiations are progressing well, in continuity with the impetus received during the State Visit of President François Hollande in January this year. A road map has been adopted for the negotiations, the goal being to wrap them up during the semester to come. Six EPRs means a total capacity of almost 10 GW, which will be a major contribution to India’s goal of generating 63 GW of nuclear energy by 2030.

On India’s defence acquisitions from France

The recent signing of the Rafale contract was a major step, paving the way for unprecedented industrial and technological cooperation for the 40 years to come. The significance of the 50% offsets in the Rafale contract, will enable the Indian defence industry to develop its technological capabilities and know-how in crucial areas.

Source of the text: The Economic Times

Last modified on 25/10/2016

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