Considerable untapped potential for growth in Indo-France ties: Khurshid

Paris, Jan 11 (ANI): Inviting French investments in India's infrastructure, food processing industries, hi-tech and green technologies, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said economic and commercial relations between India and France were affected by the economic slowdown but are again growing steadily and there is considerable untapped potential for further growth.

At the joint press interaction with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius here yesterday, Khurshid said: "Though affected by global economic slowdown, economic and commercial relations between our two countries are steadily growing in recent years. Yet there remains considerable untapped potential for further growth. We invite French investments in our infrastructure, food processing industries, hi-tech and green technologies.

"We believe that an early conclusion of the Broad-based Indian-EU Trade and Investment Agreement would significantly contribute in enhancing trade between our two countries," he added

Asserting that both India and France share the same values of liberty, equality and fraternity, Khurshid said: " Our excellent bilateral relations with France are marked by mutual trust. They encompass trade, investment, defence, security, counter terrorism, space, nuclear energy, education, culture, science and technology and people to people contacts."

"Above all, there is a high degree of political understanding and convergence of views. This was evident during the meeting of our Prime Minister with President Hollande on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos in Mexico in June 2012 which continued the tradition of regular and close contacts. We look forward to welcoming President Hollande to India in the near future," he added.

Congratulating scientists of both countries on the successful launch of the Indo-French joint scientific satellite, Megha Tropiques, in October 2011, Khurshid said: "Megha-Tropiques satellite is in good health and data from all the four scientific instruments on-board are received in India and France. Megha-Tropiques has become the first of the eight-satellite constellation for Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) coordinated by NASA. "

"We look forward to the launch of Satellite for ARGOS and ALTIKA (SARAL) in the first quarter of 2013. This is another India - France joint satellite to study sea surface altitude," he said.

"In the civil nuclear field, our Government remains committed to the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project. Both sides are committed to ensuring the highest levels of safety in the project," he added.

Noting India and France were resolutely opposed to terrorism, Khurshid said they reiterated their commitment to continue to cooperate in the fight against terrorism.

Describing his meeting with his French counterpart as "cordial, comprehensive and fruitful", Khurshid Foreign Minister Fabius for the support of the Government of France for the extension project of Maison de L'Inde, which is the most sought after hostel for Indian students and research scholars."

"The construction on the Project has started and is expected to be completed in the next two and a half years. Under the extension project 72 new rooms would be constructed on land donated by the French Government. We also discussed the situation in our respective regions and agreed to continue this dialogue at all levels," he said.

"I thanked Foreign Minister Fabius for the support of French Government to India's increasing role in world affairs. France has been consistent in voicing support for India's permanent membership of the UN Security Council and also India's inclusion in other international fora, including the multilateral export control regimes. We share common views on most regional and global issues," he added. (ANI)

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