India is a partner country, not a market: Alexandre Ziegler

NEW DELHI: France is looking at India as a strategic business partner than a market and a handful of French firms are close to finalising major partnership deals with Indian firms, according to Alexandre Ziegler, ambassador of France to India. Such deals will help both the countries capture European and global markets, he added.

“Most French companies are seeing India as a partner destination and they are investing big in India and making in India,” Ziegler told Express.

A few start-up companies in aeronautical space are likely to sign major partnership deals during the Paris Air show starting on June 19. Ziegler also highlighted that French companies have helped in job generation. “Companies like Alstom are making in India and has about 3,000 employees against 300 three years ago,” he said.

The Ambassador stressed that India is a big business partner, as 25 out of 40 top French companies have research and development centres in India. “The idea is for long-term commitment and inventing solutions in India that would be relevant all over the world. What we invent here, we would not invest in Europe or any other place… This is the specific approach of French companies in India,” said Ziegler.

He said that during the past three years, India has remained investor-friendly backed by reforms in ease of doing business. Further infrastructure reforms like development of smart city, urban transport (Railways) and thrust on clean energy fits in with the potential that the French companies can offer to India, he said.

The Ambassador highlighted that the recent meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron was critical and important from strategic, political and business as both leaders showed a lot of trust.

“It was a very positive meeting. Both leaders showed a lot of personal trust and it is important between leaders… There is a lot of trust between France and India. It is of importance in a world which we live in. It is important for strategic, diplomatic and business relations,” said Ziegler.

He said telecom companies in France are looking for opportunities in rural areas with the technologies available with them. Ziegler said some start-up firms are also looking to partner with Indian firms. “Some of them with renewable energy storage, smart grid connectivity and making it accessible are looking to co-develop products for India,” he said.

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