Official Visit of the French Ambassador to Goa
H.E. Mr. François Richier, Ambassador of France to India, visited Goa from 31 May to 2 June for two specific events:
Ambassador Richier attended the first Pan-Indian IIM conference on "Emerging Issues in Management" on May 31st, with Hon’ble Dr. M.Mangapati Pallam Raju, Minister, Human Resource Development, Govt. of India and Dr Shashi Tharoor, Hon’ble Minister of State, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India. H.E. Mr François Richier gave the valedictory address at the closing of the conference on the following day, June 1st. The conference was jointly hosted by all Indian Institutes of Management. IIM Calcutta was the lead coordinator of the Conference supported by IIM Indore and IIM Kozhikode.
Cooperation between IIMs and the French business schools (Management “Grandes Ecoles”) has been fruitful over the last years. More than 60 cooperation agreements have been signed between IIMs and their French partners. Strong links, including dual degree programmes, exist between IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Calcutta, IIM Bangalore and their French counterparts HEC, ESSEC and ESCP.
Higher Education is a very active field in the relations between India and France. The number of Indian students in France has increased rapidly over the last years (2,600 Indian students in 2012) parallel to the rise of cooperation agreements between higher education institutions of the two countries (450 agreements in all).
Ambassador Richier also welcomed an amphibious group from the French Navy, consisting of the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) “Tonnerre” and the anti-Submarine Warfare Destroyer (ASWD) “Georges Leygues”. The naval group, which is calling at Mormugao port of Goa from 31 May to 5 June, is currently carrying out the French Naval Academy ’s “Mission Jeanne d’Arc” circumnavigation. This long cruise provides practical training to a class of 133 midshipmen, which includes 18 cadets from foreign countries. During the current trip from Abu Dhabi to Goa, it is hosting the afloat joint headquarters of Vice Admiral Gillier, regional Joint Commander of the French Forces deployed in the Indian Ocean region, based in Abu Dhabi (ALINDIEN).
The Tonnerre is one of the French Navy’s three "Mistral" class force projection and command vessels. The Mistral class LHDs are unique versatile ships, which can be used for crisis management operations and can also serve for assistance missions. For amphibious operations, they use a highly innovative Landing Catamaran (L-CAT ). The first of Class “Mistral” played a key role in evacuation operations during the Lebanon war in 2006. In 2011, LHD Tonnerre played a crucial role during military operation "Harmattan" (protection of civilian population in Libya), with an embarked helicopter strike group and on-board operational headquarters, as well as a military hospital capability. Mistral-class LHDs were acquired by Russia in 2011.
As a token of cooperation between French and Indian navies, an Indian cadet embarked onboard the LHD Tonnerre in Goa until her next port call in Singapore.
On this occasion, Ambassador Richier and Vice Admiral Gillier met civilian and military officials as well as the press.
H.E. Mr. François Richier paid a second visit to the Hon’ble Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar with whom continued the discussions undertaken during his previous meeting regarding stronger co-operation between France and Goa (the Ambassador was in Goa from 13th to 17th April during the stopover of FNS Destroyer Montcalm).
Mission Jeanne d’Arc 2013
The multi-dimensional mission of this amphibious group consists of identifying potential deployments to be effectuated in future in the strategic interest zones of France in the Indian Ocean and the Chinese Sea. Further, the Mission will also lead the regional cooperation activities of the French Navy. In this context, an exhibition will be held onboard LHD Tonnerre on 31st May where advanced defense material will be on display. The aim is to encourage greater exchange between the French defense industry and the local partners. The mission also consists of carrying out joint operations in the projection of force. These activities will also provide the necessary practical training to the cadets aboard.
LHD Tonnerre is a multi-faceted battle-ready amphibious vessel that is also fitted with a hospital. The captain of this LHD, Captain Jean-François Quérat is a naval combat systems expert who graduated from the French Naval Academy in 1993.
ASWD Georges Leygues
ASWD Georges Leygues, commissioned in 1979, has been integrated into the naval officers training since 1999. The commander of the ASWD, Romuald Bomont, has immense experience in operations at sea.
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