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Manmohan Singh fails to meet NRIs in France

Blame it on lack of time, the PM was unable to meet members of the 60,000-strong NRI community in France.

india Updated: Sep 13, 2005 11:59 IST

Blame it on lack of time, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is unable to meet members of the 60,000-strong Indian community in France.

Indian officials say paucity of time is preventing the prime minister from interacting with Indian nationals and French citizens of Indian origin during his short stay in Paris.

A date with the local Indian community is always a must-do in the itineraries of all prime ministers in any country they visit.

Singh arrived here Sunday evening and is leaving for New York Tuesday afternoon after meetings with French leaders and business leaders.

The Indian community in France is estimated to be around 60,000, largely originating from the former French colonies in India - Pondicherry, Karaikal, Yanam, Mahe and Chandranagar.

Later arrivals have been predominantly Gujaratis from other Francophone areas like Madagascar, Seychelles and Mauritius.

About 6,000 Indian nationals living in France are registered with the Indian mission in Paris and about 200 Indian professionals occupy prominent positions in scientific, industrial and commercial organisations or enterprises.

The Indian and India-origin communities in France have formed a number of associations, and 20 of them came together in January 1996 to register the Federation of Indian Associations in France.

In addition a number of people of Indian origin inhabit the French overseas territories of Reunion Islands, Guadeloupe and Martinique.

The small Sikh community in France had vocally opposed the ban by the French government on Sikh turbans as part of curbs on display of religious symbols in public schools. Indian officials say the matter has been amicably settled since then.

First Published: Sep 13, 2005 11:59 IST