France backs India’s efforts to develop public transport

Indo-French Business Relations  |   | The Economic Times

France is co-financing a feasibility study on upgrading the rail corridor between Delhi and Chandigarh with potential speeds of up to 220 km per hour. In a written interview, Alain Vidalies, French minister of state for transport, maritime affairs and fisheries, tells ET’s Rajat Arora about the areas of cooperation between India and France.

What’s the agenda of your meeting with various Indian ministers who handle major infrastructure departments?

India has made considerable investments in modernising its transport network and infrastructure, such as the Smart Cities mission and AMRUT. I’m here to reiterate to [urban development minister] Mr [Venkaiah] Naidu that France supports India in its desire to meet considerable urban challenges and develop public transport, which are vital factors for economic growth and sustainable development. French companies, with their expertise in these strategic sectors, are active in India. In transport particularly, they possess globally recognised know-how not only on Metros but also on complementary modes of public transport, such as trams, ropeway systems, and optimisation of bus networks. In the railways sector, India is making strides in numerous projects: freight corridors, railway station renovation, semi-high-speed and high-speed trains. Indo-French cooperation is long-standing and active, and our two countries share a great number of common priorities: security, high-speed trains, renovation of stations, upgrading the rail network, etc. This cooperation is one of the priorities of both our countries, as recalled by Prime Minister Modi and President Hollande at each of their meetings. 

I will, in fact, offer to [railway] minister [Suresh] Prabhu our fresh impetus on projects of high-speed trains, maintenance, renovation of stations, safety and security. As for air transport, the civil aviation sector in India is growing more swiftly than anywhere else in the world, which should place India as the top third in the global aviation market by 2026. France is one of the topmost airplane and helicopter manufacturers, and possesses flagship companies in airport development and operations. I will indicate to [aviation] minister [Ashok Gajapathi] Raju that France is ready to support India in meeting these challenges. I will convey the same message of mutual confidence in the development potential of Indo-French cooperation to [transport] minister [Nitin] Gadkari when we discuss road and shipping cooperation.

Is France investing in India's ‘Smart Cities’ project or is there any kind of a technical cooperation on the cards?

France has started providing technical support for Chandigarh, Nagpur and Puducherry under the Smart Cities mission. The French Development Agency (AFD) also provides its technical expertise and financing for public transport sectors. As for French companies, they are now present all over India and in all the sectors of urban development: urban planning and consulting, transportation, water and waste management, energy, construction, information and communications systems.

There are almost 70 French firms in these sectors. This French priority is France has started providing technical support for Chandigarh, Nagpur and Puducherry under the Smart Cities mission. The French Development Agency (AFD) also provides its technical expertise and financing for public transport sectors. 
As for French companies, they are now present all over India and in all the sectors of urban development: urban planning and consulting, transportation, water and waste management, energy, construction, information and communications systems. There are almost 70 French firms in these sectors. This French priority is completely in line with the aims of the Indian government, and our companies and our involvement will increase in the coming years.

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