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France seeks to open annex of Consulate General in Chennai

Puducherry: The French government proposes to open an annex of the Consulate General of France in Chennai to process requests for visas quickly and facilitate the arrival of Indians in France, said Consul general of France in Puducherry, Phillipe Janvier Kamiyama.

Addressing the gathering of French National Day celebrations on Friday, Kamiyama said the annex will also benefit French citizens living in the city as it will avoid tedious travel to Puducherry. He said the flow of tourists to France increases every year. "We have received six lakh tourists from India last year, a 20% increase compared to 2015. The upcoming opening of the Chennai-Paris direct flight, to be presented shortly by Jet Airways, should undoubtedly increase this number significantly," he said.

Asserting that the industrial partnership between France and India will continue to intensify, Kamiyana said France occupied ninth position as investor in India in terms of equity capital and fifth position as direct investor in terms of country of ultimate origin. "Practically all the major French groups of companies are present in India as we find here 38 of the CAC 40, often installed since a long time," he said.

India has more than 400 French companies, 1,051 with their branches employing around three lakh people. "I am witness, particularly in Tamil Nadu, of the dynamism of our companies, their potential for innovation and the success of their strategy of entry and development of this country," he said. He said the number of Indian students in France grows steadily. "Only 2,000 came for higher studies in France in 2010. The figure touched 4,200 last year end and is to reach 10,000 in 2020. At the same time we want more French students to come to study in India," he said.Kamiyama said Bonjour India, an Indo-French cultural festival, will be held in November, 2017 to February 2018.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's smart city project progresses at good pace and added that the embassy associates all the French companies specialised in urban development to undertake major projects at Puducherry, Chandigarh and Nagpur.

Terming Indo-French partnership dense, Kamiyama said the two countries have "engaged in the fight against terrorism, a social cancer that must be fought with firmness." He added that France and India propose to convene a first summit of the 'solar global alliance' to combat global warming.

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