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France to invest $1bn more in India every year

india Updated: Jan 25, 2016 10:24 IST
HT Correspondent

Francois Hollande and Narendra Modi with business leaders before a meeting of Indo-French CEOs Forum in Chandigarh on Sunday.(AFP)

French President Francois Hollande promised additional investment of $1billion ( around Rs 6,700 crore) every year in India even as 16 agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) were signed between the two nations on Sunday. The pacts signed at the India-France Business Summit at Chandigarh in the presence of Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi included an agreement between Airbus Group and Mahindra to manufacture helicopters in India and MoUs with AFD (the Agence Francaise de Developpement) for urban development in three cities, including Chandigarh, under the ‘Smart City’ theme.

The agreement for “cooperation” to manufacture the helicopters was signed between Pieree De Bausset, president and managing director, Airbus Group India, and Prakash Shukla, group president, Mahindra Aerospace, as part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Indian government. The other agreements pertain to sectors ranging from green energy and engineering to urban development and waste treatment.

Before signing the agreements, members of the visiting French delegation in a panel discussion on “India-France Economic Cooperation – The Way Forward” raised issues pertaining to stability and sustainability of legal framework and regulatory divergence, besides discussing opportunities available in India for investment, mutual cooperation and sharing of technical knowhow.

Read: With Hollande in India, France get down to business

Loic Ar mand, chair man, France L’Oreal, said there was a strong need for legal stability and sustainability of legal framework from the Indian administration.

“The authorities have to focus on regulatory convergence to bring the Indian regulations closer to letter and spirit of European Union regulations,” he said. Armand said there is no problem for big corporations like his, but medium and small enterprises (MSMEs) needed regulatory convergence.

“Big corporations are Indian in India and European in Europe, but the same is not possible for MSMEs,” he said.

The France L’Oreal chairman added that he all for speeding up implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), saying that it could be a game-changing reform.

Feedback Ventures chairman Vinayak Chatterjee spoke on the plethora of big possibilities available in India — in defence, aerospace and other areas of new generation precision engineering, especially in the northern region with its skills in engineering.

Read: India, France vow to fight terror jointly, Rafale deal may take time

He listed power transmission and distribution, rail infrastructure and urban development as areas of growth and opportunities. “There are talks on for development of two existing railway stations in Punjab and Haryana,” he said.

Airbus Group India president and managing Pierre de Bausset said there was huge pool of talent and growing medium and small enterprises in India. “There are good policies, but processes create a problem sometimes,” he said.

Earlier, the Indo-French CEOs Forum held a closed-door meeting in which 25 business leaders each from the two nations participated. CEO Forum co-chair Paul Hermelin said that energy, renewable energy, defence, water treatment, smart cities, infrastructure etc. have been identified as areas of cooperation and long-term commitment. The Indian side of the CEO Forum was led by co-chair Dhruv M Sawhney.

Read: Chandigarh a very beautiful city, glad to be here: Hollande

Read: Hollande in India: France badly needs deals, ideologies can wait