French President Emmanuel Macron visit to focus on climate, trade

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New Delhi | Published: February 23, 2018 2:46:26 AM

French President Emmanuel Macron will embark on his maiden visit to India next month even as India and France seek to boost cooperation in defence, climate, clean energy sectors, smart cities and trade & investments.

Emmanuel Macron, Ministry of External Affairs, bilateral trade in goods, FDI, Francois Hollande, COP21 UN Climate Change ConferenceFrance is hoping to attract more Indian students for higher studies. The target is to have 10,000 students by 2020 from 4,000. (Reuters)

French President Emmanuel Macron will embark on his maiden visit to India next month even as India and France seek to boost cooperation in defence, climate, clean energy sectors, smart cities and trade & investments. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, bilateral trade in goods crossed the €10-billion mark in a calendar year for the first time in 2017. As per the latest data released by the French customs, the figure stood at €10.69 billion. In an earlier interaction with the media, the French envoy to India, Alexandre Ziegler, had said that the two countries have enjoyed a “very strong relationship” that is largely based on “our strategic partnership”. He, however, said “more needs to be done” in the area of people-to-people engagement. France is hoping to attract more Indian students for higher studies. The target is to have 10,000 students by 2020 from 4,000.

Close to one billion euro of French FDI entered India in the last couple of years. Investment spans various sectors including defence, automobiles, aviation and pharmacy, Ziegler said. Macron will attend the International Solar Alliance (ISA) summit which will take place on March 11. It will see participation of 50 countries. Six multilateral development banks too will take part. The French president was to visit India in December, when the ISA summit was originally scheduled.The ISA, one of the key takeaways at the Paris Climate Summit in 2015, is aimed at tapping solar energy in the countries that lie partially or fully between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. It is the first treaty-based intergovernmental organisation to be based in India that aims to help sunshine-rich developing countries tap solar energy at more affordable prices through aggregating both demand and risks in order to bring down costs and secure investments of solar developers.

The ISA was launched by Prime Minister Modi and then President of France Francois Hollande on November 30, 2015 on the first day of COP21 UN Climate Change Conference. According to Anand Kumar, secretary (MNRE), “India has offered to meet expenses of running the ISA secretariat here. And for this, it has set aside Rs 130 crore for the first five years.”TS Tirumurti, secretary (ER), MEA, said on Thursday, “Fifty-five countries have already signed the framework agreement, 22 countries have ratified this. More than half of the 55 countries will be represented by the heads of governments and heads of states.”

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