Interviews and Testimonials


1. What is CEFIPRA and its activities?

CEFIPRA was established 25 years ago with the objective of promoting collaborative research in advanced areas of Science and Technology between India and France after an intergovernmental agreement. In initial phases, CEFIPRA involved itself in establishing linkages between R & D groups of the institutions of the two countries.  Today, we have supported nearly 450 projects in all areas of Science and Technology.  More importantly, the linkages which have been established between collaborative scientists of the two countries are being sustained through and outside CEFIPRA.

Towards the end of the first decade, CEFIPRA had expanded its activities to involve industries from the two countries with an idea towards translational research.  The programme of Industrial Research projects has been in place for the last nearly 10 years with some success stories.

The major impact of CEFIPRA has been in establishing linkages between various stakeholders in the knowledge innovation chain of the two countries over the last 25 years.  With this foundation, CEFIPRA has embarked on programmes that link the national agencies on either side involved in each step of the knowledge-innovation chain to facilitate interactions, in both coreknowledge generation, as well as economic development of societal interest.

2. As CEFIPRA just celebrated its 25th anniversary, what are the new projects it would like to initiate?

Having established its presence in both the countries, CEFIPRA has undertaken the task of linking up agencies involved in both the knowledge generation sector as well as those agencies involved in the pursuit of economic development with the two countries.  Significant among these are the linkages with OSEO France and TDB in India, ANR and DST, DST & CNRS.  At the same time, CEFIPRA has been involved with agencies directly interacting with the small and medium scale sectors in India and France so as to promote direct interactions between these industries for mutual benefit.

3. What kind of Assistance does CEFIPRA receive in order to ensure a smooth collaboration between the SMEs and R & D laboratories?

As already mentioned above, we have an Industrial Research Programme, which allows supportive interaction between small and medium scale industries of both the nations through Pôle de Compétitivité and Chambers of Commerce & Industry in France, and Associations of Indian Industries in India.  While we support collaborative efforts in the form of interaction in seminars, workshops between SMEs of the two countries, as also projects of duration up to 3 years, budget could be a limiting factor with the expanded activities.  It is for this reason we have embarked on the programme of tie-up with the national funding agencies of the two countries like OSEO and TDB that would enable us to fulfill this role in a more successful manner.

4. Thanks to CEFIPRA, “Maintag”, “Silkan” and Mr. Gerard POIRIER, VP- SYSTEMATIC attended a seminar organised by CEFIPRA during the Aero India Show in February 2013. Thus convinced by the potential of the Indian market, both Maintag and Silkan, signed an agreement with Indian distributors. Would it be possible for you to share with us other such examples of cooperation between France and India initiated by CEFIPRA? 

It is indeed gratifying to note that with the help of CEFIPRA, CCI Paris and IFCCI India ,two French companies Maintag and Silkan have been able to sign the agreement with Indian industries that would help French companies to expand their markets in areas of Aerospace in India.

This domain of direct liaison between SMEs of the two countries is fairly recent to CEFIPRA.  However, we do have a couple of projects, which are nearing completion that would enable both French and Indian industries to have great economic outcome based on the projects supported by us.  At this moment, it would be difficult for us to expand on this as the developments are in the process of being protected.



1. Please describe Eurocopter's activities in India, some of their clients and partners.

a. Eurocopter has established a subsidiary located in Delhi, dedicated to the understanding of Indian helicopter needs and to the implementation of industrial cooperation program with Indian industry.

b. India has been a strategic country for Eurocopter with standing working relations with HAL since the early 1960's. Starting with the licence production of Alouette III (Chetak) and later of Lama (Cheetah) helicopters, HAL is an illustration for a successful long term cooperation which has allowed to build and to sustain a local industry on grounds of cooperation, able to supply autonomously reliable equipment and services to the national forces over decades.

c. In addition, the Dhruv programme which constitutes a major answer to many helicopter requirements of the armed forces of India was developed through the cooperation between HAL and Eurocopter (former MBB Germany).

d. Through the future potential procurement by MoD of Reconnaissance & Surveillance Helicopters (RSH), Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH), Twin Engine Heavy Helicopter (TEHH), Navy Multirole Helicopters (NMRH) for IAF, Army, Coast Guard and Navy, Eurocopter has the ambition and firm intention to strengthen further its strategic and long lasting industrial relations with the Indian industry (including MSME's) in its proposed helicopter platforms.

2. Could you please name some of the French SMEs with whom Eurocopter India is and has been working?

All major leading French companies supporting Eurocopter like Turbomeca, Thales, Sagem, Labinal, Messier Bugatti Dowty, Sefee, Cassidian, Diehl, AUSY, P3 VOITH, Recaero, MachAero, NSE industries, Studec, Sogitec, Axon cables have established business relationships with various Indian industries (including Indian SME's) and thereby enabling the foundations for a long term partnership.

3. Could you please name some of the Indian companies with whom Eurocopter India is and has been working?

Eurocopter has already started a wide range of industrial discussions with many potential Indian companies (IOP- Indian Offset Partner) who are MSME's also in order to enlarge the scope of potential industrial opportunities.

4.What kind of support would Eurocopter be able to provide to a French SME starting its business operations in India?

Eurocopter India subsidiary is supporting by bringing knowledge of Indian industrial competencies and capabilities to Eurocopter group to increase bridging between the Indian tech resources and Eurocopter global needs. Eurocopter India subsidiary is the vector of this policy with an aim to identify Indian industrial partners (IOP), support in execution of contracts, support technically and contractually the Indian industrial partners (IOP) to deliver high tech products and services at the requested level of quality especially for airborne systems.

5. What are the possible opportunities available for the SMEs in the offset domain? Would you offer them any particular advice?

a. Manufactured civil & military aerospace integrated systems, sub-assemblies, parts and components to be fitted on Eurocopter helicopters:

  • Airframes
  • Parts: Mechanical (gears, shafts, housing, ...), Electrical (wiring harnesses, ...), Composite, Hydraulics, Avionics Equipment (e.g. radio, communication systems, navigation systems, ...)
  • Raw materials and semi-finished goods

b. Support & Services activities related to:

  • Technical Publication
  • MRO
  • Technician Trainings
  • Design and Engineering Services

6. Before establishing their business operations in India, are there any specific cultural or business features that they should be aware of?

Thorough knowledge is required on the rules related to DPP (Defence Procurement Procedure), DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion), FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), SCOMET (Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies), etc...

7. In your opinion, for a French SME located in India, who would be the decision-maker for Purchase - the Management in India or in France?

The Supply chain department of Eurocopter group in active consultation with all stake holders.




1. What are the possible opportunities available for the French SMEs in the Indian IT Industry?

Col. Hoon: There are large opportunities for the French SMEs in the IT Indian Industry for example in the domains of telecom services, BFSI, manufacturing services and Digital Enterprise Services, but in reference to Aerospace and Defence domain, some of the prominent areas of focus could be:

(a) Maintenance, repair and overhaul

Repair engineering; obsolescence management; engineer modifications, preparing and incorporation of modification and service bulletins

(b) Up gradation/life extension

Reliability & Condition Monitoring; performance modeling and deterioration analyses; Reliability, Maintainability and Safety Analyses; application of Big Data techniques for mid-life upgrade and life extension

(c) Engineering, design and testing

Product Design - concept to detailed design; testing, validation & certification; value engineering; reverse and re-engineering; advanced aerodynamics; ergonomics and man - machine Interface

Analyses - Aero, thermal, mechanical, stress and fatigue & damage tolerance; Strength/Life/Dynamics characterizations and numerical simulations; flight control / mechanics; Fluid dynamics/ Hydraulics/ Pneumatics / Propulsion

Manufacturing Engineering - Process planning & reviews; rapid prototyping; product transition/localization; tools, jigs & fixtures design; NC programming;

Tooling - Engineering tools, software and methods

Testing / Calibration / Qualification / Certification - Software / Hardware for automated test benches/racks; test procedures; coding, verification & validation of software routines for testing various system (such as flight & engine control / sensors & weapon control / flight avionics, communication & displays / electrical & electronic / air management / hydraulic etc.); Ground / in-flight / test data processing and analysis; Calibration of test set-up; Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC); Product qualification and certification support

(d) Software development

Electronics and Embedded Systems - Hardware/software design & development for Net Centric Warfare technology; Security, Data Management, Analytics, Communication and Battle Management Systems; Validation and Verification of software as per airworthiness standards for various air borne systems and defense applications; Software Defined Radio (SDR), C4ISR, signal and communication intelligence systems

(e) Training

Computer based training CBT; S100D based technical documentation and Interactive Electronics Technical Manuals (IETM); engineering services including but not limited to software and development for Full Mission simulator (FMS); Cockpit Procedure Trainers (CPT); Avionics Part Procedure Trainer (APPT)

2. India being an IT hub and Tech Mahindra being a global leader, in your opinion, what would be the challenges that lie ahead for a French SME in this domain?

Col. Hoon: The main challenge could be competition, as India being an IT hub has most of the technologies either indigenous or through partners. However, French SMEs will have to showcase their products with differentiators and follow joint GTM with their Indian Partners. Since the focus of new Government is on Indigenization and building the capability of Indian Industry, French SMEs need to collaborate with the Indian Industry and work around the business models of transfer of technology/ JVs etc to support the cause and build business case.

3. Could you please name some of the French companies that are based in India with whom Tech Mahindra is and has been working?

Col. Hoon: Tech Mahindra being a global IT company works with many French companies worldwide however, in India some of the French companies with whom Tech Mahindra is already working is as under:

  • Airbus
  • TechnipNet S.A.S.
  • Galderma International S.A.S.
  • Valeo
  • Petroplus Marketing France S.A.S.
  • Arcelor Mittal

4. With regards to Tech Mahindra's core activities, do you foresee any potential areas of collaboration between Tech Mahindra and the French SMEs?

Col. Hoon: Yes, there could be number of such potential areas.

5. Before establishing their business operations in India, are there any specific cultural or business features that these French companies should be aware of?

Col. Hoon: In the Aerospace and Defence Domain, MoD follows the Defence Procurement Procedures (DPP), in true letter and spirit (available on public domain). The French companies need to adhere to that. Indians are warm hearted people and have appetite for business, thus in my opinion apart from the regulatory and legal issues French companies would find it relatively very easy to do business in India.

6. As Mr. Gerard Poirier from Dassault Aviation had communicated during the seminar in October 2013, the ASTech and Systematic innovation clusters are represented in India; As many synergies have been identified between Systematic and Tech Mahindra during their last visit in India, would you be interested in creating a working group on specific topics of common interest in order to generate more collaborations between ASTech and Systematic members and Tech Mahindra?

Col. Hoon: Yes, definitely. That would facilitate understanding each other's business requirements and technology collaborations between the French companies and Tech Mahindra.




1. What are the possible opportunities available for the French SMEs in the IT and Aerospace domains?

India and France already have close cooperation in the fields of defense, energy and space. Further, the association has potential to grow multifold with the new Indian government in place looking for investments in sectors such as Infrastructure, Smart Cities, etc. The initiatives taken by new government includes "Make in India" through which the government expects FDI across sectors which has been additionally boosted with increasing FDI limits across industries and various other initiatives creating an business friendly environment.

Key areas for Partnership in IT & aerospace domains:

The Indian government plans to create 100 smart cities for the next level of growth and would have enormous IT requirements to connect each and every aspect of these digital smart cities.

The Indian IT and ITeS players are exploring opportunities aggressively in the European region and are looking for local partnership in European countries to service the local market.

The Government has as recently as October approved defense deals worth Rs.80,000 Crore ($12.9Bn) including aerospace requirements for the Indian Airforce. Early partnerships have already garnered multi-billion deals in aerospace and the international ecosystem is evolving as we speak. We would expect French SMEs to be integral to this process.

The Larsen & Toubro group already works extensively in partnership with French companies on some of the largest and most prestigious infrastructure projects in India: we would expect this collaboration to continue in the times ahead, and this will involve collaboration with SMEs as well as larger French companies.

2. In your opinion, what would be the challenges that lie ahead for a French SME in these industries?

India is one of the fastest growing economies and with recent changes in government; Global rating agencies have increased their outlook towards this bullish economy. The current government is working on various fronts to make the business environment in India conducive through various initiatives, and this will make it easier for French SMEs to succeed in India. The government is working on streamlining the law, regulatory and taxing system in order to create a transparent and bureaucracy free framework of doing business. There is enormous potential and a friendly governance structure to promote trade with India.

For example, the government in India is creating an environment to bring new investments and is ready to go a step-ahead and create special teams such as Indo-Japanese team for Japanese investment for faster processing of business proposals. There is potential for similar initiatives with France and organizations like IFCCI would play a key role in driving these initiatives.

3. Could you please name some of the French companies that are based in India with whom L&T Infotech is and has been working?

L&T Infotech works with 12 of the CAC 40 companies: these relationships extend across Energy, Process Manufacturing, Banking, Insurance and Aerospace. These relationships tend to be in France and in India at the same time.

4. With regards to L&T Infotech's core activities, do you foresee any potential areas of collaboration with the French SMEs?

L&T Infotech is committed to be a billion dollar enterprise in the current FY and plans to grow exponentially thereon, the grander vision would need Europe and France in specific to be a part of this vision. L&T Infotech would like to collaborate with/by

Product companies in niche categories of interest

Infrastructure Management Service companies (IMS) to service clients in Europe

Partners to develop local delivery centers

Investing in Start-ups with promising products/services 

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