Make in India slogan resonates in France: Former Prez Sarkozy
Former President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday said that the ‘Make in India’ campaign resonated well within France. However, he suggested that the campaign could be rephrased as ‘Make with India’ as it would help strengthen the existing partnership between India and France while paving the way for future collaborations.
Speaking at an interactive session on ‘France, Europe, India: Challenges and Opportunities’ organised by Ficci jointly with the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce & Industry, while talking about the strategic relationship between India and France, Sarkozy said that India had been one of the stable alliances of France.
Stressing on the areas of cooperation between India and France, he said, “Significant progress in bilateral relations have been made and through regular exchanges in strategic areas of security, defence, nuclear energy, space, the bond has been further strengthened.” He said the strategic partnership between India and France is real because of the collaboration in space, nuclear cooperation, energy and national defence which is very important for India.
He also stressed that difficulties faced by French firms wanting to invest in India must not be underestimated and its rules must be “fair and visible”. Sarkozy, who is currently on a visit to India, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Pointing out that bilateral trade between India and France in the last 10 years has gone up three times, he said French investments in India are worth $20 billion and French companies employ 3 lakh people here. “I would not say ‘Make in India’ but ‘Make with India’ because it seems like a better concept with a partnership on equal footing,” he said at an industry conference here. “Many French business leaders want to come (to India). They want rules to be fair and visible,” he added.
Emphasising that choosing India is an “important commitment” to make for French companies, he said: “Don’t underestimate difficulties for French companies to come to India. I would also like to see more Indian companies in France”. Stating that India is a young country which has “very deep roots”, Sarkozy said France and India must work together on all subjects and although things are going well “they could be better”.
He said that India and France had a free trade agreement (FTA) between them which was benefitting the two nations. However, he pointed out that there was a trade imbalance and this could be bridged by entering into new and meaningful partnerships which would translate the friendship between India and France into a more concrete relationship.
He also said that the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) could cause severe regional and global damage. The so-called “Brexit” would disrupt established trading relationships and cause major challenges for both the UK and the rest of Europe. It was time for EU to relook at its policies and consolidate its outlook, said Sarkozy during his special address.