France plans to welcome 10,000 Indian students by 2020

"In 2016, 4,000 Indian students went to France. This is 50 times more than that of 20 years ago. But it's still insufficient in terms of the quality of the relationship between the two countries," Ayrault said.

He was speaking after launching the Bengaluru chapter of France Alumni Network at Alliance Francaise. First unveiled in Paris in 2014, France Alumni Network is a multilingual digital platform to connect, inform and guide foreign students who have studied in French higher education institutes.

Ayrault said French president François Hollande and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are of the opinion that higher education and student exchange programmes would be an essential dimension of partnership between two countries.

Observing that international student mobility was increasing exponentially, the minister predicted the number of students going abroad would reach 8 million by 2020. "Four million students studied in foreign countries in 2012. Around the world, international student mobility has become a major issue. This mobility is a guarantee of freedom," Ayrault added.

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