Describing itself as a "true partner", France on Tuesday said its aviation and defence industries have chosen India for investment and strengthening the strategic partnership which has "full political support".
French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler said his country is looking forward to further exchanges with the new government in India to deepen the industrial relations in defence as well as civilian aerospace sectors.
France is India's oldest strategic partner and a significant one for defence and aerospace equipment, "not just as a supplier but as a true partner", he said, addressing a seminar of French Aerospace Industries Association "Groupement des industries françaises aeronautiques et spatiales" (GIFAS) and the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) here on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show.
He said the "Make in India" programme has been a reality for the French industry, particularly for defence equipment such as helicopters, missiles, submarines, aircraft engines and others.
Almost 60 French aeronautical companies already have physical offices or facilities in India and the number is increasing every month, the envoy said.
"There are of course the big groups like Airbus, Dassault Aviation, Thales, Safran and MBDA, but also more and more of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)... The French aviation and defence industries have chosen India and will invest in this goal," he added.
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Citing the example of the Aero India air show in Bengaluru last February, he said: "With 49 French companies present, and a lot of military and civilian aircraft, France was, by far, the foremost foreign participant in the exhibition."
Ziegler said the industrial dimension of the strategic partnership in the aeronautical and defence sectors is already well developed.
"Today, our strategic partnership is the strongest and closest we have in the Asia-Pacific region," he said, adding it was enhanced even further by the state visit to India of French President Emmanuel Macron in March last year.
"French industrial facilities in India, big and small, which we are strongly supporting, are indeed flourishing, and this is good news, especially because more and more Indian companies are also investing in France.
"We are also strongly supporting this investment from India in France as our strategic partnership in a two-way partnership, between partners and friends," he said.
He said the political support at the highest level of both the countries provided their industries the best possible high-level framework for deepening their industrial relations in defence as well as the civilian aerospace sectors.
"You can count on our full political support for this," the Ambassador assured.
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