France will help India develop Chandigarh, Nagpur and Puducherry as smart cities. Agence Française de Developpement (French Development Agency) signed memoranda of understanding with the government of Union territory of Chandigarh, and government of Union territory of Puducherry and the Maharashtra government here on Sunday in the presence of French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Chandigarh, designed by the French architect Le Corbusier half a century ago as a model city, is spread across 114 sq km and the urban infrastructure and green belt of the city provide it a distinguished status among India's planned cities. On January 26, Modi is set to announce the official list of 20 smart cities to be developed in the first phase. A delegation of 26 CEOs from France travelled to Chandigarh with Hollande and had discussions on CEO forums to explore partnerships in renewable energy, defence, information technology and aerospace. Modi said French companies can exploit India's trained and affordable manpower to expand their manufacturing operations in the country.
The French president committed annual investment to the tune of €1 billion to strengthen business relations with India. An agreement between Airbus and Mahindra was also inked under Indo-French cooperation to manufacture helicopters within the Make in India initiative. French companies will also collaborate with public sector firm Engineering Projects India to provide integrated railways solutions. The railway stations of Ambala and Ludhiana will also be redeveloped with French partnership. The French delegation evinced interest in the areas of renewable energy, infrastructure, transport, defence, and water treatment.
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