Y. Mallikarjun

We deliver with no political conditions, says senior diplomat Marc Fonbaustier

  • Trade between India, France up by 66 p.c.
  • France keen on infrastructure area in India

    HYDERABAD: France is keen to increase its share of military market in India in air, ground and naval fields in the wake of a robust defence cooperation between the two countries, according to Marc Fonbaustier, Minister-Counsellor, French Embassy in India.

    "We are keen to improve the large scope for defence cooperation. Besides, India is very responsive to French proposals," he told The Hindu here with regard to the Scorpene submarine deal. France, unlike some countries, did not believe in linking military partnership with political issues. "We deliver with no political conditions," he added.

    Civilian nuclear field

    The diplomat said that France would also be eager to cooperate in the civilian nuclear energy field once India fulfilled its commitments in relation to Nuclear Suppliers Group and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    Leading French nuclear power company, Avera and other firms would be extremely interested to be in India, once the international obligations were met.

    He said, the strategic partnership formed between the countries in 1998 had given an impetus to bilateral ties.

    He said the trade between the two countries had increased by 66 per cent in value terms between 2000 and 2005.

    All major French companies were coming to India in view of the booming economy and a huge market.

    In the next couple of years, the investment by French companies would be "increasingly oriented towards India" as they view it as a "swing market."

    In other words, most of the things that would happen in India would affect the prices and many other issues.

    Apart from aeronautics, power, retail markets and banking, he cited infrastructure as a major area in which the French would like to have a presence in India.

    Mr. Bonfaustier, who was here to attend EduFrance organised by the French Embassy, said that this was the first time that France had organised such a massive exercise to promote French educational system in a foreign country.

    Currently, 2,000 students from India were visiting France every year, while 200 to 300 were coming here. "The target is to double this in the coming years."