Official visit of the French Ambassador to Chennai, 11-13 June 2013 [fr]
H.E. François Richier, Ambassador of France to India, was on an official visit to Chennai from 11th to 13th June 2013.
This visit coincides with the inaugural flight of Air Austral Airlines between Chennai and Saint-Denis, Reunion Island (French overseas territory). On this occasion, a major delegation headed by the President of the Reunion Island Region, Mr Didier Robert, visited Tamil Nadu. This delegation included members of the regional assembly of Reunion Island, its entrepreneurs as well as representatives of associations, in a reflection of the strong, historical links between Reunion and Tamil Nadu. Ambassador Richier attended the gala evening hosted by Air Austral on 12th June.
On the occasion of this trip, Ambassador Richier held meetings with the Hon’ble Governor of Tamil Nadu, His Excellency Dr K Rosaiah and the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Selvi J Jayalalithaa.
These meetings revieweed the intense economic cooperation between France and Tamil Nadu and outline new prospects for the coming years. France has indeed a strong economic presence in Tamil Nadu: more than a quarter of the nearly 18 billion USD of French investments throughout India is concentrated in Tamil Nadu. Thanks to projects of French majors like Michelin, Renault and Saint-Gobain, in addition to Alstom and Egis Rail, which will build the Chennai metro rail, France has become one of the leading economic partners of Tamil Nadu.
During his visit, Ambassador Richier met CEOs of major Indian companies and interacted with Indian entrepreneurs at the Hotel Park Sheraton on 11th evening, at the invitation of CII.
He took this opportunity to visit the Renault-Nissan factory early on the 13th. This integrated plant, located in Oragadam, Chennai, was inaugurated in March 2010 and began production in May 2010. This 640 acres plant has a workforce of almost 7980 employees, and has an annual capacity of 400,000 units. It is in this place that, among other models, the highly successful Renault Duster is manufactured.
Ambassador Richier also met the heads of French SMEs that have invested in Tamil Nadu, such as Cryolor and Socomec.
Ambassador Richier paid tribute to the action of the MS Swaminathan Foundation in the field of ecology and sustainable development and meet Dr Ajay Parida, Executive Director.
The other focus of Ambassador Richier’s visit was higher education and the current perspective for rapid development of higher education cooperation between France and India. The number of Indian students in France has increased rapidly over the last years (2,600 Indian students in 2012). A meeting with the Vice Chancellor of Anna University took place on the 11th. As may be recalled, during a visit to Tamil Nadu last month, H.E. Mr. François Richier called on the Director of IIT Madras and interacted with students there. IIT Madras has developed partnerships with some of the most prestigious French institutes, such as Ecole Polytechnique, HEC business school, Sciences Po Paris and the Ecole Centrale (Nantes).
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