Paris Air Show - Indo-French Industrial Seminar between GIFAS & SIDM
Observations by H.E. M. Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India.
GIFAS International Chalet, Paris, 18 June 2019
Ladies & Gentlemen,
It’s a great honour for me to be with you today and I am very grateful to the organisers, GIFAS and the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers, for having invited me to speak before you. I am particularly pleased to see so many Indian companies represented and I wish to extend to them a warm welcome in France.
A bit more than a year ago in Delhi, on 16th April 2018, I have had the opportunity and the pleasure to address the first Indo-French Defence & Aerospace Cooperation Seminar organised in India by GIFAS and the CII. That was a very impressive event, with a high level of participation by companies from both countries and a very strong support by both governments. The seminar organised today is a follow-up to that major event and I welcome this initiative.
As you probably know, France is India’s oldest strategic partner and a significant one for defence and aerospace equipment, not just as a supplier but as a true partner. As a matter of fact, Make-in-India has been a reality for the French industry for many years, particularly for defence equipment such as helicopters, missiles, submarines, aircraft engines and others. Our relations in this area date back to India’s Independence and are being continuously strengthened. Today our strategic partnership is the strongest and closest we have in the Asia-Pacific region.
This strategic partnership was enhanced even further by the State visit to India of the President of the French Republic, Mr Emmanuel Macron, in March last year. This visit was a great success in many respect and one of the areas of convergence of views between our leaders was the necessity to strengthen our manufacturing partnership in the industrial sector, particularly, in aerospace and defence, as clearly stated in their Joint Statement.
This political support at the highest level of both States provided the industries of both countries the best possible high-level framework for deepening their industrial relations in defence as well as the civilian aerospace sectors. You can count on our full political support for this and we are looking forward to further exchanges with the new Indian government in this respect. No later than last week, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, French minister of state for Europe and Foreign Affairs, was in Delhi to discuss the next possible steps in our strategic partnership with Mr Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, and other dignitaries of the Indian government. Other high level visits in India or in France will indeed occur in the weeks and months to come. Most importantly, Prime Minister Modi has accepted an invitation from President Macron to attend the outreach session of G7 Summit in France as a special invitee at the end of August. The event will of course also include a bilateral Indo-French component.
As you all know, the industrial dimension of this strategic partnership in the aeronautical and defence sectors is already well developed. Almost 60 French aeronautical companies already have physical offices or facilities in India and the number is increasing every month. There are of course the big groups like Airbus, Dassault Aviation, Thales, Safran and MBDA, but also more and more of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). I had the occasion of meeting many of them last week only in Bangalore. The French aviation and defence industries have chosen India and will invest in this goal. This choice was evident at the Aero India air show in Bangalore last February. With 49 French companies present, and a lot of military and civilian aircraft, France was, by far, the foremost foreign participant in the Exhibition.
French industrial facilities in India, big and small, which we are strongly supporting, are indeed flourishing, and this is good news, especially because more and more Indian companies are also investing in France, like for instance Motherson, which is here with us today. We are also strongly supporting this investment from India in France as our strategic partnership is a two-way partnership, between partners and friends.
I would not like to take more of your precious time during the Air Show, so I wish you all very fruitful discussions and I look forward to supporting all your efforts in the establishment of long-term and win-win cooperation in the aerospace and defence sectors.