France decide to double trade, push investments
June 1: India and France have set an ambitious target of doubling
their bilateral trade to over $5 billion over the next three years
and attracting French investments of $1 billion to India annually.
target was set during a meeting between India's Commerce Minister
Kamal Nath - who is here on a three-day visit for the Indo-French
Joint Economic Commission meeting - and his French counterpart
Catherine Lagarde. Accompanying the Indian minister is a business
delegation of nearly 20 chief executives, headed by S.K. Poddar,
president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and
total French investment in India, over the last so many years,
amounts to only $750 million that has no bearing on the capacity
of the French companies to invest and the requirement of the Indian
economy," Poddar said.
propose that we set a target of at least $1 billion in French
investments in India every year," Poddar told the meeting,
which was immediately accepted by the French minister who said
that she shared the view.
a move that would lend greater strength to bilateral trade, Lagarde
said she would be happy to lead a delegation of over 200 chief
executives of small and medium French firms to India in December.
"It is only by involving the small and medium companies that
we can add a new dimension to our trade ties and I will be happy
to contribute in the effort to promote French SMEs to look at
India more closely and seriously," she added.
the meeting, Kamal Nath said the perception of India in France
was still of a mystic country with lots of poverty and problems
and not enough potential. "With a cumulative French investment
of only $750 million in India, there is something wrong somewhere
and we need to identify the problems and fix them."
said the two sides must identify key areas for promoting trade
and investment and a focused effort should be made to increase
bilateral economic ties. Another reason for the low level of trade,
were the non-tariff barriers, he added.
Nath said he had raised the issue of L.N. Mittal's bid on Arcelor
and had been reassured by Lagarde that the French government treated
the issue as a commercial deal that was best left for the markets
to determine. "There is no discrimination on basis of colour,
race, nationality or religion and the French government will let
the markets decide the fate of the deal. We would welcome investments
by everyone," Lagarde added.
Singh, chairperson of Fortis, said the two sides should look at
launching some pilot projects in healthcare. "India has the
capacities and France needs to maintain its leadership position
in healthcare." He said the projects could establish the
case of mutually beneficial ties in this key domain, which also
found immediate response from the French minister who urged Singh
to work out the details.
should not consider these as mere outsourcing but as projects
that can lay the basis for a new relationship between India and
France," Kamal Nath added.
of Radha Krishna: a Daum crystal creation
DELHI, April 12: The eternal love of Indian mythological characters-
Radha and Krishna has now been immortalised by the French creator
of exclusive crystal sculptures-Daum.
of the Grand Prix award in Paris in 1900, Daum has been represented
at all major decorative arts exhibitions in France and abroad.
collaboration with the French Embassy in India and Ganga Creations
Pvt. Ltd, Daum launched its exclusive 'Radha Krishna' figurines
at a function held at the embassy of France. The masterpiece was
unveiled by the French Ambassador, Mr. Dominique Girard.
Perfecting the technique of acid engraving and addition of metal
oxides to render colour in glass, the Daum artists have married
the unique and precious material - pâte de verre into crystal
, leading to creation of inimitable objet d'art.
assures India support to get NSG nod
(Goa), April 3: As India prepares to hold talks with the Nuclear
Suppliers Group (NSG), its key member France on Monday said it
would help in generating consensus for the Indo-US nuclear deal,
but ruled out providing uranium till green signal
from the 45-nation group.
ambassador Dominique Girard said his country was looking forward
to industrial cooperation in nuclear field with India in the backdrop
of a joint statement issued by the two countries recently during
the visit of President Jacques Chirac.
[Indo-US nuclear agreement] is an excellent deal. We are quite
happy with it," he told a select group of reporters in Vasco
during his visit to witness the start of the week-long Indo-French
naval exercises 'Varuna II' off the Goa coast.
the requirement for NSG's endorsement of the deal, the envoy said,
"We will help in that [building of consensus] as much as
we can." Supporting India's quest for civilian nuclear energy
to meet its growing needs, he hailed its track record, "We
feel India should have better access to civilian nuclear technology
and materials because of its behaviour, because of its non-proliferation
record and because it is a democracy."
within NSG and its endorsement of the Indo-US deal is a key requisite
for allowing international community to resume trade in nuclear
field with India. Under the deal, the US is responsible for building
consensus for the deal in the NSG. Russia and Britain will also
be helping in this process.
France hold joint naval exercises off Goa coast
April 2: Adding a new chapter to Indo-French bilateral ties, aircraft
carriers, destroyers and submarines of the two countries, supported
by their air forces, on Sunday began week-long joint exercises
off the Goa coast to tone up inter-operability and make them ready
in the event of integrated operations.
The opening day of the exercises Varuna II saw India's Sea Harrier
combat aircraft landing for the first time on Charles de Gaulle,
the nuclear-powered French aircraft carrier participating in the
war games for the first time.
As two Sea Harriers, having the unique capability of vertical
take-off and landing, landed on Charles de Gaulle after starting
from Indian aircraft carrier INS Viraat a few kilometres away,
the French ship became only the second foreign aircraft carrier
after the US one, on which the Indian fighters have landed.
Another highlight of the eighth joint exercise is that for the
first time, aircraft carriers of both the countries are participating
for the first time. The two Navies have been conducting the joint
exercises since 2001.
While one of the Sea Harriers took off immediately after landing,
another halted for sometime triggering speculation that it had
developed some technical problems. Senior offiicials from both
sides said it had stayed back for refuelling as it was running
short of fuel. The aircraft took off again after about an hour.
Pre-summer nights dream relived with Fireflies
DELHI, March 4: The beautiful lawns of the French Embassy were unsually
lit up recently, in the most unique manner when Firefly
Ritu Beris book the fairytale of her life, was
launched following a fashion show with the similar name. To this
the charmingly popular French Ambassador, Mr Dominique Girard, remarked
My modest house has been transformed to a fairy dream
by Ritu, even if for an evening!
evening had the glamour and the unmistakable style of Indias
unofficial fashion ambassador to style capitals of the world, Ritu
Beri. The evening began with a special book reading of Firefly,
brought alive through Ritu Beris latest collection. Every
outfit depicted the concept of Firefly, perfect for any red carpet.
The collection was dramatic, the clothes - a fusion of an Indian
spirit, Spanish drama and western silhouette, made to make any woman
look and feel sensational.
was formally released to the world by the Union Commerce Minister,
Mr Kamal Nath, and the street kids of The Kalakar Trust, a non-governmental
organization working with underprivileged artists living in Delhis
slums. Priced at Rs 1 Lakh, a limited edition book with only a 100
copies, Firefly is a collectors item!
inaugurated book was auctioned and sold for Rs 1.4 lakhs bought
by Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia. Persuasively goading the audience
to bid higher was the unshakeable Siddharth Basu, who just loves
adding zeroes to any figure! The book will be sold worldwide in
the likes of showrooms of Louis Vuitton.
by Ritu Beri, Firefly is the story of her life. The world
I captured through my voyage I present through Firefly. I believe
God sent me into this world with a promise. It is his promise I
trust. I try to explain all this and more through my Firefly.
Says Ritu Beri.
the launch of the book, Ritu, who has wowed the fashion circles
of Paris and dressing Hollywood stars like Nicole Kidman,turned
into a writer. I can't be presumptuous enough to write an autobiography
but this book looks at the 15 long years I have spent in the fashion
industry. It is about my years in Paris, where I come from and my
personal life," said Ritu.
evening got bigger as yet another feather was added to this multifaceted
designers cap. The International Association for Young Creators
(IAYC), which awards a fashion creator every year for their talent
and for making a remarkable international impact, chose Ritu Beri
for this years Les Trois Fileuses Dor award for her
outstanding contribution to Indian fashion in the international
fashion arena. The award was presented to Ritu Beri by former super
model, Anne De Champigneul, the founder president of the IAYC, who
especially flew down from Paris to be present at the event.
- A Fairy Tale" combines various pieces written over the past
three years by the designer on diverse aspects of her life, glossy
pictures and paintings and humorous anecdotes."The book is
in four parts - my inspirations, my years in Paris, my travels -
because I think we grow with every journey we make - and my personal
life," said Beri.
about the book's title, Ritu said: "Fireflies have their own
glow. Like a firefly, I want to illuminate the world with my own
light. And my life has been a fairy tale, every experience is a
fairy tale for me."
has right to civil nuclear power: Chirac
March 1: Iran has the right to civil nuclear power as long as it
respects its commitments to the cause of non-proliferation, French
President Jacques Chirac said.
believes in the need for the demands of non-proliferation to be
respected, but believes this does not in any way prejudice Iran's
right to civil nuclear energy within such a framework," Chirac
was quoted as saying by his spokesman.
made the remarks in conversation with UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan, a few days ahead of a crucial meeting of the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which must rule whether to refer Iran
to the Security Council over its nuclear programme.
France ink Nuclear, defence pacts
DELHI, Feb 20: To give a further boost to their strategic ties,
India and France on Monday signed a joint declaration on civil nuclear
cooperation and a defence pact to coincide with the visit of the
French President, Mr Jacques Chirac.
two countries also resolved to double bilateral trade in five years
to nearly $10 billion. The two sides also inked seven other bilateral
documents spanning cooperation in diverse fields like space, tourism,
education, culture and civil aviation at a specially created stage
on the lawns of Hyderabad House here.
strategic partnership that was forged between the two countries
during President Jacques Chirac's last visit to India in 1998 had
gone from strength to strength and opened new
pathways of cooperation, said Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister,
at a joint press interaction with Mr Chirac. The declaration on
civil nuclear cooperation was the new face of this strategic synergy
between the two democracies.
India's civilian nuclear energy programme, Mr Chirac, who arrived
here on Sunday on a two-day visit, said the production of nuclear
power by India was necessary for the country's economic
development and to ensure a clean environment. The visiting President,
however, refused to dwell on difficulties that came in the way of
signing a formal pact on nuclear energy cooperation which was agreed
on by the two sides during Dr Singh's visit to Paris last year.
Chirac underlined an increasing convergence between
the two countries and offered France's support to civilian nuclear
energy cooperation with India on moral and environmental grounds.
He said we examined various points of view on the question
of India's access to civilian nuclear technology. This is necessary
for driving the country's economic development without polluting
the atmosphere with greenhouse emissions.
an oblique reference to the ongoing debate about New Delhi's separation
of its civilian and military nuclear facilities, the President said
we appreciate various constraints faced by India, including
economic ones and the ones relating to security and national independence.
Prime Minister thanked Mr Chirac for France's support for
the ongoing effort to enable full civilian energy cooperation between
India and the international community. Dr Singh reiterated
India's commitment to honour the letter and spirit of
the agreement signed between him and the US President, Mr George
Bush, in Washington on July 18, 2005.
to a question, the Prime Minister said all facilities provided
by India through international cooperation for civilian nuclear
energy will be subject to safeguards under the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA).
joint statement issued at the end of the talks between Mr Chirac
and Dr Singh called the joint declaration on cooperation in civil
nuclear energy an important step forward in the realisation
of that objective.
the contours of civil nuclear cooperation topped the agenda, the
ongoing controversy surrounding India-born steel magnate Laxmi Mittal's
bid on European steel major Arcelor also figured in the discussions
between the two leaders.
to questions on the controversy, Mr Chirac defended European concerns
over what he called a hostile takeover bid without presenting
any concrete plan or explanation for such a move. The President
said a hostile bid has been made with no prior explanation
or reasons. We will act in accordance with our principles and values.
Dr Singh said: It is my hope that a fair decision taking into
account all the stakeholders will be taken in this matter.
pact on defence cooperation includes building upon and expanding
cooperation in the defence and military fields, defence industry,
production, procurement, research and development of defence material,
joint exercises, professional exchange and training.
agreement for production of satellites for third countries was also
signed between Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the Indian
Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and European Aeronautic Defence
and Space's Astrium.
agreement between Indian Airlines, India's state-run domestic carrier,
and Airbus SAS of France was signed for the purchase of 43 aircraft.
In September, the Indian government had approved the purchase valued
at $2.2 billion.
memorandums of understanding on promotion of tourism, energy efficiency
and management education were also inked between the two sides.
The two countries further fine-tuned their convergence on major
global issues and agreed to work together for an early conclusion
of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
Chirac repeated France's firm support for India's candidature
for permanent membership of the UN Security Council. Earlier in
the day, Chirac was given an inter-services guard of honour in the
forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Declaring Chirac a statesman
and true friend of India, the Prime Minister said: India
and France share a close and strategic relationship and the ties
have grown from strength to strength due to the personal endeavour
of President Jacques Chirac.
France to ink nuke declaration
DELHI, Feb 17: India and France will ink a declaration on nuclear
cooperation for peaceful purposes and an agreement on defence cooperation
during President Jacques Chirac's two-day visit here beginning February
to this correspondent, the French Ambassador, Mr Dominique Girard,
said that several agreements and memoranda of understanding were
slated to be signed during the visit. "The most significant
will be a declaration on civil nuclear energy which will enumerate
the cooperation perspective showing the stepping of the relationship
between the two countries," said Mr Girard. He said the defence
framework agreement would reconfirm the long lasting and reliable
four-decade-old ties and give an additional impetus to the relationship.
Ambassador said the State visit by President Chirac eight years
after the official visit made in 1998 is opening up a new phase
in the development of relations between India and France. "The
year 1998 marked a founding date in terms of awareness at the highest
levels of the French State that India was now a major emerging power.
Eight years later, the outline of a genuine partnership between
our two nations, proud of their position in the world and aware
of the responsibilities that this entails, is to be confirmed."
a separate briefing a spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs,
Mr Navtej Sarna, said the two countries would also sign a memorandum
of understanding on cooperation in the tourism sector.
Girard said the significant of the visit can be gauged from the
fact that as many as five French Ministers, parliamentarians and
40 CEOs of the leading French companies would be accompanying the
President. The delegation would include the French Foreign Minister,
Mr Philippe Douste-Blazy, the Defence Minister, Mrs Michele Alliot-Marie,
the Economics, Finance and Industry Minister, Mr Thierry Breton,
the Tourism Minister, Mr Leon Bertrand, and the Trade Minister,
Mrs Christine Legarde.
President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, will ceremonially receive Mr Chirac
in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday and in the
evening will host a banquet in his honour. "There will be delegation
level talks with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and there
will be calls on by the National Advisory Council Chairperson, Mrs
Sonia Gandhi, and the Leader of Opposition, Mr L.K. Advani,"
said Mr Sarna.
the evening President Chirac will deliver a keynote address at Vigyan
Bhavan on India-France Economic Partnership and there will be interaction
between the accompanying business delegation and their Indian counterparts.
"President Chirac's visit follows Dr Manmohan Singh's to France
in September 2005 and is a strong reflection of the commitment of
the two countries to vigorously pursue their strategic partnership
by intensifying bilateral relations and cooperation in various areas
of their engagement, including political and economic," said
forms an important part of our relationship and we feel there is
scope to double this from the current 3.5 billion euros. French
FDI in India is currently $760 million," he added. This will
be Chirac's third visit to India in three decades. He was here in
1976 as the prime minister and in 1998 as the president. On both
occasions, he was the chief gust at the January 26 Republic Day
Goa to commemorate the magic of French cinema
DELHI: The magic of French cinema would be unveiled at the prestigious
36th annual International Film Festival of India (IFFI) to be staged
in Goa from November 24.
to this correspondent, Sanjit Rodrigues, CEO of IFFI and Entertainment
Society of Goa, said that it would be for the first time ever that
an entire day would be dedicated to celebrate the magic of any country.
will honour the French cinema by celebrating a special French Day
during the festival. This will be a very important occasion for
the people of Goa and for the Indian film industry as we hope to
strengthen Indo-French ties in the field of film and entertainment,
a very big part of both our cultures. On French Day (December 2)
we will be paying tribute to a very famous French actor Isabelle
Huppert for her incredible contribution to world cinema," said
Levaud, Cultural Counsellor at the French Embassy, said, "I
am delighted that the French participation at this year's IFFI will
be more important that it has ever been. Thanks to our teams' joint
efforts and the French Embassy, a dozen of French productions will
be showcased at this 36th edition of IFFI and more than ten delegates
will be coming from France to attend the festival in Goa."
Ambassador Dominique Girard, who would lead his countries delegation,
is expected to make a special announcement regarding Indo-French
Initiatives in Cinema.
Rodrigues said the French film called L'enfant (The Child) directed
by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne and winner of the Palme d'Or (the
Golden Palm) at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival will be the closing
film at the IFFI in Goa.
present at the conference was producer and actress Pooja Bhatt,
presenting her new movie, "Holiday" filmed in picturesque
Goa. The lead stars of "Holiday" Onjolee Nair and Dino
Morea will perform at the opening ceremony of the film festival.
on the occasion, Rajat Mukarji, Vice President, Corporate Affairs,
Idea Cellular said, "Innovation is the essence of Brand Idea.
Mobile telephony is emerging as a platform for cinema and entertainment.
For us an association with IFFI is a perfect brand fit. Not only
is it a privilege to be associated with an event of this stature
but also there is an equally high sense of belonging and intimacy
with the soul of the event. We at Idea believe that this is convergence
of a different kind."
delegation from France will include internationally renowned Directors
like Alain Corneau and two time Academy Award winner Regis Wargnier,
Veronique Cayla, Director General of the National Centre of Cinema
(a government body which handles the entertainment policy for the
French Government), Jerome Paillard, Executive Director of the Cannes
Market and a host of other film professionals.
glamour to the occasion will be Supermodel, actress and one of the
L'Oreal Professional Dream Team faces Noemie Lenoir and actor- director
Alain Chabat. They would be given a red carpet welcome at the India
premiere of "Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra."
Joseph, Director, Wizcraft, said the IFFI Goa would also have a
host of other exciting events this year. "For the first time
IFFI will showcase a host of special events like the Goa Music Day,
Namaste India music concert and street animation among others."
said "these have been planned to spice up the festivities during
the entire duration of the Festival and are a part of the 'Idea
Celebrating IFFI Goa 2005' initiative sponsored by Idea Cellular."
event has been planned and executed by Wizcraft International Entertainment
Pvt. Ltd on behalf of Entertainment Society of Goa.
Sabbas Joseph said the last day of the 'Idea Celebrating IFFI Goa
2005' festival would see the Goa Music Day, celebrating the song
and melody of Goa and its people.
the day, the local Goan musicians will perform at 101 significant
places to bring out the true spirit of Goa and every nook and corner
will be alive with the sound of celebration."
special day culminate into the preview of the movie 'Dubai Return'
that will be attended by the stars of the film- Irfan Khan, Divya
Dutta, Ritu Shivpuri, director Aditya Bhattacharya and producer
Manya Patil. To top it all will be the breath taking performances
by singers Sudesh Bhosale and Oliver Sean. The will be joined by
Sagarika, Shivani Kashyap, Australian singer Ayesha London's Bandish
Project and DJ Platinum and Band of Boys - the artists who came
together to bring you the fantastic soundtrack to 'Dubai Return'.
DELHI, Oct 31: Rhone-Alpes, the second largest region in France,
is all set to woo India. Recently, the region's President (equivalent
to Chief Minister), Jean-Jack Queyranne, along with a 30-member
high-level delegation, toured New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai for
five days to strengthen economic, higher education and research
as well as tourism ties with India.
prove that the State means serious business, President Queyranne,
who is also a Member of Parliament, inaugurated the Delhi office
of the Enterprise Rhone-Alpes International (ERAI), to promote regional
investments and partnerships in both the countries. The Rhone-Alpes
investment promotion agency would soon set up another office in
Bangalore. The organisation plans to develop and train a sales force
for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) willing to develop their
businesses in the subcontinent.
said "the objective of the mission was the mobilization of
socio-economic operators from the Rhône-Alps headed towards
India, introduction of the Rhône-Alps region in India and
ensuring the continuity of the exchanges with this country in the
framework of a decentralized co-operation with Karnataka."
trade offices will explore Indian commercial partners for firms
in Rhone-Alpes. We also plan to help about 100 SMEs in the region
to export their products and invest in India as well as to set up
shop," said the President.
decision to promote trade and investments comes in the wake of the
Indo-French agreement on doubling bilateral trade, signed by Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh with the French President Jacque Chirac
during his visit to Paris in September last.
will also help Indian firms invest in the Rhone-Alpes region by
providing its expertise to select the right partner, location and
capital for marketing and exporting their products," said Pascal
Weber, Managing Director, ERAI, India.
intend to boost economic cooperation in diverse sectors such as
infrastructure, IT, pharma, food processing, automotive and aeronautics,"
high-level delegation included Jean-Louis Gagnaire, Vice-President,
in-charge of Economic Development; Roger Fougeres, Vice-President,
in-charge of Higher Education and Research; Hervé Saulignac,
Second Councillor in-charge of Power, Information Technology and
Communication and President of the Regional Committee of Tourism,
of Rhone-Alpes Tourism Herve Saulignac admitted that this was the
first time the region was making a foray into India. "We have
been going to various countries for tourism promotion within Europe
and outside Europe including the US, Japan and China."
India? "In the recent past India has been playing a significant
role on a global front as a result of opening of its economy and
more significantly broad basing its outlook," he said.
Bechet, Director-General of Rhone-Alpes Tourism, said Rhone-Alpes
is an all-season ideal romantic destination for Indians. "We
will rope in tour operators, Bollywood, Internet and newspapers
and magazines to promote our region in India."
said of one lakh Indians who visit France every year, only 10,000
visit Rhone-Alpes region. "We plan to increase this to 50,000
visitors from India in three years, Bechet added.
its capital at Lyon, Rhone-Alpes region is a seat of high-tech industries,
an internationally focused higher education system and is one of
France's top two regions for investors. It has 30 global networks
and NGOs, some of the world's largest service sector companies and
is a popular venue for numerous international biennial cultural
festivals and cinema.
being Europe's leading center for micro and nano technologies, technological
synergies and research and development, Rhone-Alpes scores top marks
for leisure and quality of life. It is for this reason it is nicknamed
as world's five-star capital of tourism, gastronomy and heritage.
France ink Scorpene deal
DELHI, Oct 6: France has inked USD 3 billion (Rs 13,000 crore) deal
for India's acquisition of six Scorpene submarines.
French delegation, which included officials and members of the Dcn-International,
the manufacturers of Scorpene, held talks with the officials of
the Defence Ministry and Navy to finalise the final delivery schedule
of the subs and to further strengthen strategic ties between the
the announcement made jointly by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and
French President Jacques Chirac in Paris on September 12, the six
Scorpene Submarines are to be manufactured at Mazagoan Docks in
Mumbai under full technology transfer.
billed as the world's most silent underwater killer machine, would
be manufactured under technology transfer by the state-owned Mazagoan
Docks in Mumbai and delivered between 2010 and 2015.
part of the deal, the submarines will be armed with EADS SM39 Exocet
sub-harpoon anti-ship missiles. The other powerful weapons payload
on the subs include Black Shark and other advanced torpedoes.
the capability to strike targets underwater, on surface and on land,
Scorpene has a radical new design with reduced sound emissions which
enables the submarines to strike at long distances without detection.
The submarines have an operational cycle of 240 days a year and
endurance to carry 50 days patrol to ensure maximum utilisation.
also offer advanced capabilities for mine warfare, intelligence
gathering and special operations. Their acquisition would enable
India to reopen its submarine building assembly lines.
smart card base to touch 400 m in 3 years
DELHI, Sept 19: Living up to its IT super power status, India is
switching over to smart card technology in a big way covering mundane
activities like driving licence to health care. Already 70 million
Indian are proud owners of the new microprocessor based chip card.
And in another four years the smart card base would touch 400 million
to the envy of advanced G-5 nations.
usage of smart cards, which are capable of storing up to 8 MB data,
would range from driving licence to vehicle registration, National
ID card to access control, retail, loyalty, banking and finance
to healthcare and toll collections.
card base in India is estimated at about 70 million now. This is
projected to cross 400 million numbers in next three years,"
Mr Vijay Parthasarthy, Managing Director, Gemplus India Ltd, told
this correspondent on the sidelines of a seminar entitled "French
Smart Card Technology".
Union Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology,
Mr Shaqeel Ahmad, inaugurated the seminar jointly with the Chargé
d'affaires of French embassy, Mr François Goldblatt. The
seminar was organised under the patronage of the Ministry of Communications
and Information Technology.
the pioneer role of French companies in this area, Mr Ahmad said
a pilot project on national ID cards would be launched soon. The
Registrar General of India (RGI) is going to float a tender for
2.8 million citizens cards for 20 districts in India. Based on the
pilot project's success, RGI would come out with citizens card nationwide
by 2006-end, said the Minister.
Goldblatt said with more than 50 million mobile telecom subscribers
and an average of 2 million new mobile subscribers, subscriber identity
module (SIM) in the mobile industry currently is the key mass-market
application that empowers the expansion of the Indian smart card
market. He said it was also interesting to note that Smart Cards
are now also proliferating into new application areas in India,
which would in the near future fuel growth of the business.
governmental and security applications include National ID card,
driving licence and vehicle registration, access control, retail,
loyalty, banking and finance, healthcare, toll collections, among
others. The undertaking of these various pilot projects clearly
shows that though Indian smart card market is still at a nascent
stage, it is clearly the future hub of activities and Indo French
partnership for many cutting edge technology and know-how developed
in France," added Mr Goldblatt.
Frenchman, Roland Moreno, invented the smart card in the early seventies.
As of today, companies such as Gemplus, Oberthur, Schlumberger,
Sagem, Axalto, Atmel, Bull and Ingenico are among the major world
players in smart cards, readers, payment terminals and secure transaction
Vijay Parthasarthy said the Indian subsidiary of France-based Gemplus
said it is eyeing a large chunk of growing business of sim cards
in mobile telecom market and sim cards in other areas of activity,
including the proposed national citizens cards.
the business grows in India, the company would increase the size
of its technical development and support centre in Bangloare, which
employs just 20 people at present. He said the company is likely
to capture 25 to 30 per cent of expected 400 million sim cards in
mobile telecom segment in India in the next two-three years.
Gemplus has sold 300 million sim cards in the total one billion-sim
card market. He said Gemplus would bid for the national citizens
cards. He said a card would cost between US $1 to 2 and would be
less expensive when every citizen of more than 15 years of age is
given the card because of volume. The company is also eyeing a big
share of business in credit and debit cards when they are changed
to smart card from the present magnetic stripe cards.
the seminar, Dr. S.K Sinha, Director National Informatics Center,
Ministry of Communications & IT, made a presentation on the
"Role of Government in Smart Card Security Infrastructure".
smart card is a card that is embedded with either a microprocessor
and a memory chip or only a memory chip with non-programmable logic.
The microprocessor card can add, delete, and otherwise manipulate
information on the card, while a memory-chip card like the pre-paid
phone cards Indians are familiar with undertake a pre-defined operation.
cards, unlike magnetic stripe cards, can carry all necessary functions
and information on the card. Therefore, they do not require access
to remote databases at the time of the transaction.
promises India nuclear energy help
Sept 12: France has joined the United States and Britain in backing
India's atomic energy programme and promised to do all it could
to help the country get access to civilian nuclear technology and
a dramatic policy shift in July, the United States promised India
full cooperation in developing its civilian nuclear energy programme.
Britain gave its backing last week. French President Jacques Chirac
and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said they would work towards
conclusion of a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement.
acknowledges the need for full international civilian nuclear cooperation
with India and will work towards this objective by working with
other countries and the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) and deepening
bilateral cooperation," according to a joint statement issued
soon after Manmohan-Chirac talks. Manmohan stopped off in France
on his way to the United Nations in New York.
which has the highest number of nuclear reactors after the United
States, is a member of the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG), an informal
group seeking to control nuclear-technology exports. Indian Foreign
Secretary Shyam Saran told newsmen that France would work with the
group to try and get restrictions on supply of equipment and technology
had barred providing atomic technology to India because of New Delhi's
status as a nuclear power that has refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty, which was designed to halt the spread of nuclear weapons.
India caused international outrage in 1998 by testing a nuclear
weapon. Its old foe, neighbouring Pakistan, carried out five nuclear
tests soon afterwards in a tit-for-tat response.
the United States changed policy in return for New Delhi's commitment
to adhere to international non-proliferation regimes. Monday's statement
said France noted "India's strong commitment to preventing
weapons of mass destruction proliferation and the ongoing steps
it is taking in this regard."
was also announced that President Chirac would visit India for two
days from February 20 at the invitation of the Prime Minister. The
statement noted that the Governments of the two countries accorded
high priority to the exchange high level visits for the further
intensification of the bilateral ties.
Singh described India's ties with France as "privileged and
strategic". The French President welcomed the Prime Minister
at the Elysee Palace where a ceremonial guard of honour was given
to him. The
two leaders held wide-ranging discussions on India's bid for permanent
membership of the UN Security Council and trade and economic cooperation.
France, India is a major partner in the world today. And this is
the reason why France has always supported India's positions, in
particular her legitimate aspiration for a seat at the UN Security
Council as a permanent member," said Chirac.
Prime Minister reiterated that India and France were strategic partners.
"We had a very rewarding defence cooperation and we're going
to build on that. India has had a very strategic partnership with
EU of which France is a very important member and can play an important
role," said Singh. "We
have to strengthen economic alliances and trade. Trade and investment
between India and France is still below potential," he added.
also decided to acquire six highly advanced French Scorpene submarines
worth $3 billion (about Rs 13,000 crore). The move comes just days
after placing an order for 43 Airbus aircraft at a cost of about
$2.4 billion (nearly Rs 9,800 crore) from an European consortium
that includes France.
to help enhance India's N-status
DELHI, Sept 12: France would do all to enhance India's nuclear status
in the comity of nations and work towards New Delhi's aspirations
to acquire civilian nuclear energy.
is expected to be the highlight of Prime Minister Mammohan Singh
parleys with French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister
Dominique de Villepin on Monday. The talks between the Prime Minister
and the French leadership are expected to cover bilateral cooperation
in economic, defence and nuclear fields.
Prime Minister would also be meeting with leading French captains
of industry and would be seeking their support for India's economic
advancement. The Prime Minister arrived on a three-day visit to
Paris on Sunday. He is en route to New York to attend the 60th UN
General Assembly. External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh is accompanying
the Prime Minister.
Secetary Shyam Saran has termed the visit as a landmark one as it
was taking place after a gap of seven years. France has been an
important European strategic partner in India's quest for an increased
role in global affairs and a ready friend for giving access to high
technology in various sectors including nuclear cooperation.
Indo-French ties as strategic in nature, Saran said the partnership
had resulted in Paris co-sponsoring the G-4 resolution and supporting
New Delhi's candidature for permanent membership in the United Nations
Security Council (UNSC).
far as trade cooperation is concerned, Saran said that France has
always been forthcoming in the fields of electronics, avionics,
nuclear energy, and even since the 1960s, it has helped India to
become an important trading partner. In numerical terms, Saran said
that there has been a 25 per cent increase in trade since 2004 and
India had attracted 760 million dollars in foreign direct investment.
current trade between the two countries stood at Euro 2.9 billion
with Indian exports accounting for Euro 1.6 billion and imports
at Euro 1.36 billion. The long negotiated two billion dollar deal
for acquiring six Scorpene submarines, already believed to have
been cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security, is expected to
be wrapped up during the visit.
part of the high-level exchanges, President Chirac will visit India
early next year. When asked whether the Prime Minister would be
taking up the controversy surrounding the ban on turbans, the foreign
secretary said that Paris had taken note of New Delhi's demarche
on the issue, and "something has been done".
dream of an inhabitant of Mogul
DELHI, Sept 11: The French Ambassador, Mr Dominique Girard,
has inaugurated a rare exhibition titled "the dream of
an inhabitant of Mogul" at the National Museum in New Delhi.
The exhibition is organised around the collection of miniature
paintings by Imam Bakhsh Lahori, illustrating the Fables of
Jean de la Fontaine.
precious and exquisite paintings have come back to India for
the first time since these miniatures were sent back to their
rightful owner, the Baron Feuillet. This has happened thanks
to the initiative of the French Embassy, under the scientific
supervision of the curator, Dr Jean-Marie Lafont (Professor
in Delhi University,) and of Mrs Christiane Sinnig-Haas, Director
of the Jean de La Fontaine museum in Château-Thierry.
National Museum has not only housed this unique exhibition but
has also complemented it with some rare manuscripts from its
The Fables of Jean de la Fontaine, written at the end of the
17th Century, are probably one of the most famous collections
of French poems. Even today, school children recite them all
over French territories. They draw their inspiration from the
fables of the Pancatantra and the Tutinama, as well as from
the ancient Greek fables of Aesop.
exhibition is a visual treat, resplendent and glorious, dating
back to the times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. A kaledeiscope of
colours, these exquisite miniatures form an integral part of
the precious collection of the French National Museums. French
influence can be seen in many a detail of the paintings, the
most obvious of all being the 'volets' from Provence and Italy,
which appear in many illustrations of the fables.
DE CONCHES: THE LINK BETWEEN LA FONTAINE AND INDIA: The Baron
Bastien Félix Feuillet de Conches was born in Paris in
1798. He was an art lover, a collector, an Anglophile, with
a passion for history and rare objects, for autographs and for
La Fontaine. He described himself as "The Curious"
in his memoirs. He deserves a special mention amongst the art
collectors of his time, whose tastes he faithfully embodies.
illustration of La Fontaine's fables was Feuillet's passion.
His dream was to constitute an international collection of La
Fontaine's fables. Feuillet's high posting as Minister Plenipotentiary
at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs helped him in this regard.
He would entrust French ambassadors or envoys abroad with a
mission, that of finding the best illustrators for his dear
fables. He would then submit very precise indications of the
very section of the fable he wanted to have illustrated.
de La Fontaine never set foot in the India of his fables. The
Baron Bastien Félix Feuillet de Conches never travelled
to the India of his precious miniatures. As for Imam Bakhsh
Lahori, the artist from Punjab, he knew nothing of the country
from where his order originated. However, these strange fables
which were passed on to him abridged and translated were not
totally alien to him.
BAKHSH LAHORI AND MAHARAJA RANJIT SINGH: Imam Bakhsh Lahori
was an artist and a painter from Lahore. From 1837-39, he was
engaged in illustrating the fables of the Fontaine under the
supervision of the French General Allard. His works are deeply
influenced by the colour of the Moghul monuments of Lahore,
still existing in his time, in their pristine grandeur.
Bakhsh Lahori never had an access to the text of the fable,
but only to the text extract or the explanations of Feuillet
regarding the sequence he had to illustrate. The magic of the
poems remained unknown to him: his domain was that of the visual
projection of a summarized version. He was probably very familiar,
however, with some of La Fontaine's fables inspired directly
by stories from the Pancatantra or the Tutinama. Settings and
characters in Imam Bakhsh Lahori's paintings are often reminiscent
of the engravings of other European illustrations of La Fontaine,
which tends to prove that the French generals in Lahore had
shown the artist copies of other European editions of the same
splendid miniatures were executed at a time of peace, when art
was flourishing in the state of Punjab under the benevolent
reign of Ranjit Singh. As it stands today, the miniature paintings
of the Fables by Imam Bakhsh are the most achieved and the most
beautiful production of the Lahori School under Maharaja Ranjit
French honours seven Indians
DELHI, July 14: In a first of its kind, the French Government
honoured seven Indians on a single day. The event was marked to
coincide with the Bastille Day, the French national day. The French
Ambassador, Mr Dominique Girard, bestowed the top French awards
on Indian luminaries.
Knight of the Legion of Honour was bestowed on Mr CNR Rao, noted
scientist and honorary president of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for
Advanced Research, Bangalore. Mr. M.C Gupta, fomer Director, Indian
Institute of Public administration was honoured with the Officer
of the National Order of Merit and Mr M N Sharma, architect, was
given the Officer of the Order of Arts & Letters. The Knight
of the Order of Arts and Letters was conferred on Mallika Sarabhai,
danseuse, Mr Nirmal Varma, writer, Mr Naresh Kapuria, artist and
Ms Alarmel Valli, dancer.
highlights of the national day celebrations included splendid
fireworks that lit up the evening sky and a discotheque replete
with a French DJ, which a tribute to the GenNext largely represented
among the invitees.
day, the French national day commemorates the storming of the
Bastille, which took place on July 14, 1789 and marked the beginning
of the French Revolution. The Bastille - a prison - symbolised
the absolute power of King Louis XVI and thus its fall marked
a victory for liberty and will of the people. Today Bastille Day
celebrations combine the formality of military parades and the
conviviality of street dances and fireworks in France.
scribe, interpreter released after 5 months
June 13: French journalist Florence Aubenas and her Iraqi interpreter
Hussein Hanun have been freed following five months in captivity,
and she was to fly back to Paris later on Sunday, sources said.
plane carrying Aubenas took off from Baghdad airport around noon,
French Ambassador Bernard Bajolet said, without disclosing its
destination. "She was thinner but surprisingly vivacious
and smiling, she got through this ordeal with exceptional courage,"
Paris, a spokeswoman for foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy
said he would fly to Cyprus to greet Aubenas, a writer for the center-left
daily Liberation who was captured in Baghdad in January. "They
have been freed," spokeswoman Cecile Pozzo di Borgo said in
Paris, adding that Aubenas was expected to arrive at a military
airbase outside the French capital later in the day.
newspaper said the pair were released on Saturday, but Hanun was
not seen on Sunday at his house in northern Baghdad, and it was
not known if he too would fly to France. Aubenas, a 44-year-old
reporter who has covered many of the world's hot spots in her 18
years at Liberation, "is in good health", editor Antoine
de Gaudemar said.
pair were abducted after leaving her hotel in Baghdad on January
5, triggering a massive public campaign in France and elsewhere
in Europe for their release. On her latest assignment to Iraq, Aubenas
was reporting on the fate of Iraqis driven out of their homes after
the US military assault on the city of Falluja.
centres for getting French visa
DELHI, June 12: The French Embassy has opened three new visa
application centres in New Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai for the
benefit of students, businessmen and tourists keen to visit
France. The centres will remain open Monday to Friday from 8
a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
French visa procedure requires candidates to submit their applications
after making a prior appointment at the centres.
applying for the short-term Schengen Visa can make the appointment
by dialling 011-5113111 for Delhi, 044-52638000 for Chennai,
and 022-56314000 for Mumbai. Those with Internet access can
also log on to the French Embassy website: www.vfs-france.co.in.
names De Villepin Prime Minister
June 1: President Jacques Chirac, shaken by the defeat of the
European Union constitution, appointed Dominique de Villepin,
a loyalist who jetted around the globe galvanizing international
opposition to the Iraq war, as prime minister to lead a new
51, moves from the Interior Ministry to replace Jean-Pierre
Raffarin, dumped after voters Sunday roundly rejected Chirac's
call to ratify a European Union constitution, humiliating the
72-year-old president a leading proponent of the charter.
asked Villepin to form a new government the makeup of
which was not expected to be announced until at least Wednesday.
Villepin, Chirac opted for a trusted pair of hands, rather than
a radical change in direction for France. The senator's son,
a former foreign minister and writer who speaks excellent English,
has long been close to Chirac. He was Chirac's voice at the
U.N. Security Council in the crisis over Iraq in 2003, arguing
that war should be a last resort.
was speculation the ambitious and popular Nicolas Sarkozy, a
two-time minister who heads Chirac's governing center-right
party, will be brought back into the new government.
a decision would be remarkable because of the sometimes open
rivalry between Chirac and Sarkozy, who makes no secret of his
presidential ambitions. Before Sunday's referendum, Sarkozy
delivered what was interpreted as a veiled warning against making
Villepin prime minister, saying only people who have held elected
office which Villepin never has "have the
right to speak in the name of France."
Yves Jego, who is close to Sarkozy, told France-Info radio he
was being brought back as interior minister, a post he held
in 2002-2004. He claimed Sarkozy also would be allowed to remain
as head of the center-right UMP party, even though Chirac previously
has said that job is incompatible with holding a government
control of the UMP would give Sarkozy the electoral machine
he will need if he runs for the presidency in 2007.
was no confirmation from Chirac's office of a post for Sarkozy.
The silver-haired Villepin arrived at the presidential Elysee
Palace just minutes after Chirac bid farewell to Raffarin with
a handshake on the palace steps. Chirac then spent more than
an hour with his new prime minister.
takes over at a difficult time. Unemployment is running at 10
percent and the French political establishment is reeling from
the referendum vote that was as much a repudiation of Chirac's
economic and social policies as it was a refusal of the EU treaty.
outcome was not even close the referendum on approving
the proposed EU constitution was defeated by 55 percent to 45
aristocratic air and the fact that he has never been tested
in an election also could be drawbacks as the government tries
to reconnect with the people.
Socialists dismissed Chirac's choice as a mere shuffling of
personalities, not a radical change in direction. Senior Socialist
lawmaker Jean-Marc Ayrault called Villepin's appointment the
"ultimate attempt to save an administration in agony."
new prime minister will have no economic, financial or social
room for maneuver," he said. "You can't heal a crisis
with a poultice."
Moreau Defarges, a researcher at the French Institute for International
Relations, called the appointment "a real catastrophe."
will come out on the streets to show their anger," he said.
"It's a man who has never been elected, who doesn't represent
the people at all. The crisis is not over yet."
Chirac, Villepin was a known quantity having been his
closest adviser from 1995 to 2002. But Villepin also carries
the blemish of being among those who counseled Chirac to dissolve
the legislature in April 1997, a political disaster that led
to victory for the left and saddled the president with a Socialist
prime minister for the next five years.
may be hoping to groom Villepin as his eventual successor, perhaps
at the next elections in 2007. But if Villepin's stewardship
goes poorly, it also could ruin his chances of taking over as
head of state.
in a short address after the president accepted his resignation,
said Villepin's government would work to bring a significant
drop in unemployment in the last two years of Chirac's second
term which could be his last. "I
confirm this commitment, even if the drop in the dollar and
the rise in oil prices delay it for a few months," he said.
defended his three-year record as prime minister, saying he
acted to protect the future of the pension system and state
health care, among other programs.
have always been aware that what is healthy for the nation does
not go unblamed by public opinion," Raffarin said, referring
to polls showing him to be one of the most unpopular prime ministers
of the Fifth Republic founded in 1958.
voters reject first EU Charter
May 30: French voters soundly rejected the European Union's
first constitution Sunday, a stinging repudiation of President
Jacques Chirac's leadership and the ambitious, decades-long
effort to further unite the continent.
who had urged voters to approve the charter in the bitterly
contested referendum, announced the result in a brief, televised
address. He said the process of ratifying the treaty would continue
in other EU countries. "It is your sovereign decision,
and I take note," Chirac said. "Make no mistake, France's
decision inevitably creates a difficult context for the defense
of our interests in Europe."
votes counted in all of France and its overseas territories,
the "no" camp had 54.87 percent, with only 45.13 percent
voting "yes," the Interior Ministry said. Turnout
was close to 70 percent - testifying to the passions that the
treaty and the debate surrounding it aroused.
treaty's rejection in France - the architect of the European
project - could set the continent's plans back by years and
amounts to a personal humiliation for the veteran French leader.
Although Chirac argued that the constitution would streamline
EU decision-making and make the bloc more accessible to its
450 million citizens, opponents feared it would strip France
of its sovereignty and generous social system and trigger an
influx of cheap labor.
think that the constitution will destroy our political structure.
It's just about economic interests," said Anne Le Moel,
a "no" voter and 42-year-old professor of philosophy,
repeating what had become a battle cry among the charter's opponents.
25 EU members must ratify the text for it to take effect as
planned by November 1, 2006. Nine already have done so: Austria,
Hungary, Italy, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia
opponents chanting "We won!" gathered at Paris' Place
de la Bastille, a symbol of rebellion where angry crowds in
1789 stormed the prison and sparked the French Revolution. Cars
blared their horns and "no" campaigners thrust their
arms into the air. "This is a great victory," said
Fabrice Savel, 38, from the working-class suburb of Aubervilliers.
He was distributing posters that read: "No to a free-market
leaders in Brussels, Belgium, vowed to continue their effort
to have the constitution approved. "I am not a doctor,
but the treaty is not dead," said Luxembourg Prime Minister
Jean-Claude Juncker, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency.
"This ratification process will continue."
Dutch vote Wednesday, with polls showing opposition to the constitution
there running at about 60 percent. On Friday, the constitution's
main architect, former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing,
said countries that reject the treaty will be asked to vote
again. France was the first "no" - even though it
was a founder member of what over 50 years has grown into the
France forge cooperation in infrastructure, tourism
DELHI, April 24: The French Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,
Spatial Planning, Tourism and the Sea, Mr Gilles de Robien,
will be on an official visit here on Monday to forge new areas
of cooperation in the infrastructure and tourism sectors. The
visit is expected to take Indo-French trade ties to a new high.
French Minister will be accompanied by a high-level 25-member
delegation consisting of senior French government officials,
Maison de la France (French Tourism Office) and CEOs of over
a dozen French companies belonging to the rail, road and air
transport sectors such as Aéroport de Paris, Alstom,
Lafarge, Sagem, SNCF International and SYSTRA.
his stay here, the French Minister would hold talks with the
Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Praful Patel, the Railway Minister,
Mr Lalu Prasad, the Urban Development Minister, Mr Ghulam Nabi
Azad, and the Minister for Rural Development, Dr Raghuvansh
de Robien will co-inaugurate with Mr T R Balu, Minister of Shipping,
Road Transport and Highways, the "Indo-French Day on Roads:
Showcase of French technical know-how". Topics to be discussed
include road surface and soil treatment, road equipment and
road engineering. Several high level meetings between officials
from Tourism Ministry and senior members of the French Tourism
Office (Maison de la France) will be held during this visit
to explore means of providing further impetus to the booming
tourism industries of the two countries.
Anand's works to be displayed at Galeries Lafayette windows
DELHI, March 12: An Indian has done it again. This time at the
art and culture capital of the world Paris. Renowned Indian
artist, Baba Anand, has been invited to showcase his elaborate
artworks in the giant windows of the renowned Departmental Store
Galeries Lafayette in Paris. This is the first time in the history
of Galeries Lafayette that this deluxe and highly prestigious
establishment has invited any internationSal artist to visualize
and conceptualize their peerless windows for them. Baba Anand
has complete artistic license for this project.
Anand has unique style of collage that portrays a rejuvenating
freshness and originality. His religious pieces utilize traditional
images of Krsna and other Hindu deities, which he decorates
with materials such as sequins, crystals, and gold dust. These
images are then displayed in colorful, highly decorative mattes,
using flowers and other unusual objects.
within the framework of the "Artists-In-Residence"
programme of the French Embassy in India, Baba Anand is working
on a special project that will be displayed in the 30 giant
windows of Galeries Lafayette. To introduce the Paris Project
of Baba Anand, the French Ambassador to India, Mr Dominique
Girard, presented a collection of Baba's artworks, at his residence.
Lafayette, boasting of 10 floors, balconies and a beautiful
glass and steel dome inspired by a Byzantine style, was inaugurated
with great pomp in October 1912. The high-fashion displays and
grand architecture of Paris' resolutely old-world Galeries Lafayette
is the main attraction for visitors to this famous store.
vitrines (windows) of Galeries Lafayette are famous the world
over for their creative scenographie especially for Christmas
and during their special promotions. Galeries Lafayette also
has an Art Nouveau staircase built in 1912 by the architect
Cahnautin. The store is classified as an historic monument.
Anand, who first discovered France in 2002 and has mounted 5
shows since in collaboration with the French Embassy in India,
has been invited to showcase his elaborate artworks in the windows
of Galeries Lafayette, at the initiative of the Cultural Section
of the French Embassy in India. Baba Anand is also creating
the visual concept for the windows for the India promotion that
opens on the evening of April 26.
Anand creates a kitsch charm that is a stylistic hiatus from
established genres. The clever use of kitsch in his work has
also been seen as an attempt to lighten up the dark mood of
art so prevalent in his native region. These richly textured
works, so vibrant and dramatic, represent a creative vision,
which crosses boundaries and challenges assumptions.
Anand is also in love with the world of Indian cinema and has
used Bollywood as the inspiration for many of his mixed-media
three-dimensional paintings. The artist transforms Hindi film
posters from the 40's to the 70's, embellishing them with crystals,
sequins and the like, and adding elements such as artificial
roses and tiger-striped mattes. These powerful works of art
are at once seductive and playful, challenging stereotypes and
celebrating the power of kitsch.
has traveled extensively with these pieces, having mounted shows
in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Hyderabad,
London, Cannes and New York. His works have been featured in
many International Publications such as British Vogue, Vanity
Fair, Nice Matin, Elle, New York Magazine and India Abroad to
name a few.
is the only artist who paints on old Bollywood movie posters
and is consciously and consistently trying to use the lost beauty
and glamour of yesteryear Bollywood. "My art arises from
past associations with the glamour of the world ...My work is
a tribute to the more flamboyant entertainers and movies that
have become immortal over the years." The posters that
he has worked upon are retro from the 1950's through to the
September 2004, Baba designed the CD cover for French singer
" Pascal of Bollywood". The album was released in
November in Paris and is hugely successful in Europe.
and French nuptials: a perfect Valentine's day
DELHI, Feb 14: Smiles lit up the faces of Sophie Henon and Regis
Mendola as the French Ambassador, Mr. Dominique Girard pronounced
them man and wife on Valentines Day, on the sprawling lawns
of his Nyaya Marg Residence. Dressed in a white silken dress
and a multi-hued coat designed by Sanskar's Sonam Dubal, Sophie
Henon, currently serving as the Press Attache, French Embassy
had chosen Valentine's day to tie the knot with ex-colleague
Regis Mendola, hailing from the picturesque town of Nice.
met in India, and having our daughter Océane in Delhi,
it would have been out of place to marry somewhere else
all the Ambassador and the Embassy have been the privileged
witnesses of our Indian love affair! " said Sophie.
the civil marriage ceremony was solemnised by the French Consul,
the mix of Indian and French gathering were escorted to the
flower decked Hindu mandap where the French couple exchanged
garlands and tied the mangal sutra, now admist chantings of
Hindu mantras and conch shells. It was a unique experience both
for the audience and the couple as the colourful Indian wedding
rituals blended with the formal Western marriage ceremony.
Ustad Bismillah Khan's shenhnai and Richard Wargner's Lohengrin-
the Nuptial March made a perfect musical setting for the event.
The Indo-French touch had percolated down to the food too -
you could choose between tangri kebabs and the traditional French
cake called 'Pièce montée' - (reserved for marriages
and baptisation ceremonies). For the French couple who both
grew up on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea the choice of
Trivandrum and Maldives' sun bathed beaches as a honeymoon destination
is of course natural.
vertical gardens now in India
DELHI, Feb 21: Indoor gardens abound in today's urban homes
but vertical gardens growing on the walls of your home is a
novel concept - mastered and perfected after years of research
by Patrick Blanc, a French botanist. Blanc's vegetal walls adorn
the Pershing Hall, Hotel in Paris, the French Ministry of Culture
and the Musée du quai Branly, a few steps away from the
Eiffel Tower. A project to cover a 70 floor skyscraper in Tokyo
with vertical gardens is now being studied by him! He has even
given a green touch to parking lots and shopping malls usually
known for their austere concrete settings.
India, during his stay as an 'artist in residence', Blanc created
eight columns of such 'vertical gardens' inside the French Embassy
hall, New Delhi. He has used more than hundred species of plants-
all of the tropical variety and procured locally (including
a Banyan!). Says Philippe Gaudin, maintenance in-charge of this
unique garden over the last two years, "I trim the stalks,
regularly remove dead leaves which fall in the water basin below
and spray insecticides once a month- and that's it! " So
perfect is Blanc's indoor creation, that a couple of sparrows
have even chosen to make it their home.
infrastructure needed for such a garden is simple- an aluminium
armature fitted on a stone/brick column, covered by panels of
PVC foam and polyamide felt. Various plants are then stapled
on to the felt layer while the roots are inserted into the film.
Patrick Blanca researcher at the main French research institute
CNRS, sticks to a general pattern while weaving the plants into
the film, focussing on the individual requirements of light
and moisture for each variety and of course their ability to
how the plants survive indoors without soil ? Each such vertical
garden is fed by a system of electrovanes and calibrated pumps.
Minerals are mixed in water which is sucked in by the pumps
and sprayed at regular intervals to the plants through the felt
in Malaysia, Blanc noticed that, several plant varieties grew
on rocks, tree trunks or slopes often surviving on a thin humus
layer. It was this observation which led to his concept of creating
a vegetal wall. Opposing the Darwinian theory of the "survival
of the fittest", Blanc insists "the art of co-existence
in undergrowth plants is remarkable - in their struggle for
light, the plants continuously learn to live together."
A fact to ponder in the context of human ethnology and behaviour!
honours Pascal Vincelot
DELHI, Jan 7: The Government of France has conferred the prestigious
award of the 'Chevalier dans l'Ordre national du mérite'
(Knight of the National Order of Merit) on Dr. Pascal Vincelot,
Managing Director, BioMérieux. Mr Alain Mérieux,
Head of Biomérieux, France who is in India presented
Mr Vincelot with this award at the Residence of the French Ambassador
on Friday evening.
is a global clinical diagnostics company with operations in
130 countries. A world leader in bacteriology, food and environmental
microbiological controls, it specialises in the manufacture
and sale of diagnostic equipment for tuberculosis detection
his career as a pathologist in Senegal, Dr Pascal Vincelot headed
the Brazilian BioMérieux subsidiary and later was the
Marketing Europe Director at BioMerieux, France. Since the inception
of its India operations in 1998, Dr Vincelot has built strong
partnerships with the medical community in India, focussing
on finding healthcare solutions between emerging countries and
creating synergies between emerging economies --namely Brazil,
Russia, India and China, where he has participated in setting
up subsidiaries. Dr Vincelot is an active member of the European
Business Group and the CII Medial Equipment Division.
French Ambassador, Mr Dominique Girard, told this correspondent
that the conferring of this distinction is a well deserved recognition
of his constant engagement in advancing Indo-French co-operation
in the fields of medicine and the fight against infectious diseases.
Created in 1963, the National Order of Merit recognises distinguished
qualities which have been acquired during a civil or military
career, or in private enterprise. It is one of the most prestigious
awards given by the French Government.
Minister hails India's decision
Jan 5: The French Defence Minister, Michelle Alliot-Marie, on
Wednesday attributed criticism of India's decision to refuse
international aid to "a lack of knowledge about India and
the country's economic, technological and financial capabilities."
She said India's decision was a gesture of solidarity towards
countries that needed it most.
Alliot-Marie paid a condolence visit on behalf of her Government
and the European Union to the Indian embassy here during which
a three-minute silence was observed in memory of the tsunami
victims. Her visit was part of a gesture of solidarity undertaken
by the E.U. Governments, marked by silent tributes across Europe
in memory of those who perished.
newspapers, radio and television stations have tended to deride
India's efforts to go it alone, saying the country was determined
to prove its worth as a regional power. On Wednesday morning
the national French radio carried reports from Tamil Nadu suggesting
the State Government had not honoured its promises of boats
and financial help to fishermen. It also quoted French NGO workers
who said the fishermen had been distributed sub-standard "smelly
rice" and used clothes. "However I cannot comment
because there will be repercussions from the Government,"
said the person questioned.
influential daily Le Monde in a despatch on Wednesday said India
was " fuelled by her desire to assure its supremacy in
the Indian Ocean zone, which will soon be reinforced by the
launch of a second Oceansat satellite. The extension of the
Nicobar air base aimed at making it a strategic and humanitarian
pivot in the region. A good part of the base with its second
runway still under construction was destroyed by the tsunami.
In the same vein, the country, which is discovering the need
to prevent further catastrophes is floating the idea of constituting
its own tsunami alert system in conjunction with its neighbours."
India as a "great and powerful nation," Mrs. Alliot-Marie
said the French President, Jacques Chirac, was "ready to
undertake joint action with India aimed at other countries."
Asked about the international tensions on who should take the
lead in coordinating the international aid effort, Mrs. Alliot-Marie
replied: "All polemic over such a subject is out of place.
I think the initial friction and misunderstanding was also due
to the fact that the enormity of the catastrophe had not become
Ambassador, Dilip Lahiri, explained India's efforts to help
not just Indian victims but those in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
He emphasised the need to establish an early warning system
though the Indian Ocean is not naturally prone to disasters
of this nature.
tallest bridge inaugurated
(France), Dec 15: Thundering fighter jets streamed the blue,
white and red of the French tricolor as President Jacques Chirac
on Tuesday dedicated the world's tallest bridge, a skyway span
dwarfing the Eiffel Tower by more than 50 feet. Ahead of its
public opening Thursday, the Millau bridge in southern France
has been celebrated as a work of art combining the strength
of cement and steel with the "delicacy of a butterfly."
of the bridge, which dominates the Rhone Valley countryside
for miles, have appeared in national media for days.Stretching
1.6 miles through France's Massif Central mountains, the bridge
will enable motorists to take a drive 891 feet above the Tarn
River valley. Chirac underscored the national pride stirred
by the bridge by lifting a French flag from its ceremonial plaque,
followed by air force jets trailing the colors of France.
exceptional opening will go down in industrial and technological
history," Chirac said, praising the designers and builders
for creating "a prodigy of art and architecture - a new
emblem of French civil engineering." The bridge will serve
as a symbol of "a modern and conquering France," he
by British architect Norman Foster, the steel-and-concrete bridge
with its streamlined diagonal suspension cables rests on seven
pillars - the tallest measuring 1,122 feet, making it 53 feet
higher than the Eiffel Tower.
said in an interview with regional daily Midi Libre that the
bridge's airy and fluid appearance was designed to have the
"delicacy of a butterfly."
work of man must fuse with nature. The pillars had to look almost
organic, like they had grown from the Earth," Foster, who
also designed London's Millennium Bridge. In an editorial Tuesday,
Le Monde declared the bridge "a work of art."
Royal Gorge Bridge, towering 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River,
is the world's tallest suspension bridge - but it is designed
for pedestrians. The Kochertal viaduct in Germany was the highest
roadway, at 607 feet, officials said. Millau, whose skyline
is dominated by the bridge, had until now been best-known outside
France as the site where anti-globalization crusader Jose Bove
dismantled a McDonald's restaurant.
$523 million bridge was commissioned to open a new north-south
link between Paris and the Mediterranean and is expected to
relieve bottlenecks caused by trucks and tourists headed to
the Riviera. Special roundtrip bus rides over the bridge were
planned for Wednesday for residents a day before the span opens
28,000 vehicles a day are expected to cross the bridge in the
summer months, and about 10,000 a day the rest of the year,
according to France's Eiffage construction company, which built
it. Tolls for motorists will vary from $6.50 in winter to $8.60
in summer. Trucks will have to pay $32.24 year round.
trade heading for 5 b Euros
DELHI, Dec 10: France hopes to increase its bilateral trade
with India to 5 billion Euros in the next three years. "This
is being done through a commercial action plan where India finds
a special place," informed Mr Francois Loos, visiting French
Minister for External Trade. Mr Loos is on a visit to India
and is leading a delegation of CEOs from France.
Loos said that the French Government was pushing French companies
to go to India and invest. "We release advertisements to
motivate French businessmen to go to India," he said and
added that.there were already 200 French companies in India
and these have provided 20,000 jobs to the local population.
visiting Minister informed that the two-way bilateral trade
between France and India was 2.5 billion Euros in the year 2004
with the balance in favour of India. This year there was growth
of over 25 per cent in trade as compared to last year. ''We
are looking at India with deep interest for investment and collaborations
in a range of sectors including nuclear energy, automobiles,
automotive components, waste water treatment, agri food processing,
entertainment, bio-technology, tourism, IT, pharmaceuticals,
Infrastructure, energy and aerospace,'' he said.
he said, realised the growth prospects in Asia in the coming
decade and beyond and ''we would like to substantially step
up our presence in India and translate our intentions into concrete
projects''. Some of the proposals being discussed between the
two countries include proposals for manufacture of helicopters
in India and technology transfer for production of satellites,
Loos also invited the Indian businessmen to invest in Europe
and make France a gateway. Some of the Indian companies that
have invested in France include Tatas, Wipro, Infosys and Ranbaxy.
at an interacting meet with Indian businessmen at FICCI, the
Minister assured non-discriminatory treatment to all Indian
professionals visiting that country and exhorted entrepreneurs
to take advantage of France's expertise in cutting edge technolgies
for the benefit of the two countries. ''Historically, we have
been a country of immigrants,'' he said and held out his government's
assurance to remove any impediment in the flow of two-way trade
and movement of people.
FICCI President, Mr Y K Modi, pointed to the areas of concern
in the Indian industry in trade engagements with France and
other EU countries. These were anti-dumping duties and non tariff
barriers, harmonization of standards, especially in pharmaceuticals
and agro-processing, and restrictions in movement of professionals
and delay in grant of visa and work permits.
France to boost bilateral trade
DELHI, Dec 9: India and France have agreed to take concerted
measures in coordination to expand and diversify the pattern
of bilateral trade and investment. This was decided at a meeting
between the Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Kamal Nath, and
the visiting French Minister for External Trade, Mr Francois
the inaugural session of the 13th Indo-French Joint Committee
meeting here on Thursday, Mr Kamal Nath invited France to invest
in Special Economic Zones being set up in the country. He pointed
out that economic presence of France in India, while growing,
was not commensurate with the economic complementarities and
the business opportunities, which existed.
French Minister said at the meeting that India was a strategic
country for the foreign trade of France and informed that the
European nation had adopted a Commercial Action Plan in order
to develop its economic and commercial ties with India. In a
joint statement signed at the conclusion of the Joint Committee
meeting in the evening, both sides agreed to take concerted
measures to expand and diversify the pattern of bilateral trade
a one-on-one meeting with French Minister, Kamal Nath raised
the issue of difficulties faced by Indian IT firms in obtaining
visas and work permits for their personnel in France. He also
raised the issue of short duration of visas granted to Indian
professionals. Mr Nath suggested that French authorities could
consider introduction of a work permit or visa regime, which
would facilitate easier movement of professionals and the issue
of five-year green cards for IT professionals and personnel
could also be thought of. The Indian side also suggested a bilateral
framework for recognition of mutual technical qualifications.
Mr Loos told newsmen that there are 297 Indian IT professionals
in France but the country needs many more. "We find the
current number of Indian IT professionals in France quite few,"
he said. He expressed the hope that the Union Cabinet will clear
the acquisition of 43 Airbus aircraft by Indian Airlines, approved
by the Public Investment Board recently.
hope that the acquisition will be cleared by the Cabinet Committee
on Economic Affairs," he said. The
Indian Airlines Board had in April 2002 cleared the 2.1 billion
dollar deal to purchase 20 Airbus 321s, 19 Airbus 319s and four
Airbus 321s as part of its fleet expansion and replacement programme.
India also invited French Telecom Industry to set up manufacturing
facilities in the country to tap the opportunities provided
by the rapidly expanding telecom sector. During the meeting
with the French Minister, who called on the Minister of Communications
and Information Technology, Mr Dayanidhi Maran explained the
visiting Minister and his delegation about the scope and future
trend of the telecom industry in the country.
number of mobile subscribers has already exceeded the fixed
telephone subscribers and in the next three years 120-150 million
telephone connections are planned to be provided. In addition
to this, in view of the recent announcement of broadband policy
a target of providing 10 million broadband connections in the
next three years has been set, said Mr Maran.
visiting French Minister pointed out that Alcatel is already
working closely with the Indian Telephone Industries to manufacture
the telecom equipment. He further showed keen interest in introduction
of smart card technology and setting up of GSM handset manufacturing
facilities in India.
honours Anand Mahindra
Dec 8: Mahindra and Mahindra Vice-Chairman and Managing Director
Anand Mahindra was honoured with the "Ordre National du
Merite" by the French Government, here on Wednesday. French
External Trade Minister Francois Loos honoured Mahindra for
his 'contribution to the corporate world', a French consulate
investiture took place at Mahindra Towers, the corporate office
of Mahindra & Mahindra, in the presence of Mr Dominique
Girard, Ambassador of France to India, Mr Jean-Charles Demarquis,
Consul General and Trade Commissioner of France in Mumbai, Mr
Jean-Louis Latour, Minister Counsellor, Head of Economic Affairs
in South Asia.
are proud to honour you today, Mr Mahindra, since you not only
brought about success at Mahindras but also continued to convey
the values of corporate citizenship within and outside the group,
and therefore played a very important role for Mumbai and for
your country said the French Minister of External Trade.
On this occasion, Mr Anand Mahindra shared this moment with
members of the Board, friends from the corporate world and close
Ordre national du Mérite was created by General
de Gaulle. On 3rd December 1963, he signed the decree instituting
and organising the Ordre national du Mérite
intended to reward "distinguished merit. Recognizing
an outstanding contribution, the Ordre national du Mérite,
along with The Legion dHonneur, is the most important
decoration awarded by the President of the French Republic.
others, Mr Kanwal Sibal, former Foreign Secretary, Mr Anil Kakodkar,
Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, and Mr Nadir Godrej, Managing
Director, Godrej Industries Limited, have been recipients of
to honour Indian engineer
DELHI, Nov 25: The French government will honour H L Suresh
of SS Consultants for his outstanding contribution to the Indo-French
Technical Association, according to an embassy communiqué.
Suresh, who is chairman of the association's Delhi chapter,
will be conferred the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre National
du Mérite at a reception to be hosted here on Thursday
by French Ambassador to India Dominique Girard.
chemical engineer by profession, Suresh has a master's degree
in petroleum refining and chemical engineering from the Ecole
Nationale Superieure du Petrole et Des Moteurs, France. IFTA
was founded in 1966 by a group of engineers, scientists and
technologists who had secured specialised training in France
with an aim to promote scientific and technical collaborations
between India and France.
its formation in 1966, IFTA has set up chapters in Bangalore,
Dehradun, Thiruvananthapuram, Delhi, Kolkata and Pilani (Rajasthan),
expanding its membership to over 800 members.
French aerobatic teams create magic
DELHI, Nov 7: The clear and bright Sunday afternoon sky over
Hindon Air Force Station, near Delhi, roared with IAF's Kiran
Mk II aircraft and French Air Forces's Alphajets, as a select
gathering was treated to a breath-taking display of aerobatics.
Nine highly skilled pilots of Suryakiran, the IAF's 'formation
aerobatic team', performed some magical manoeuvres with their
red and white indigenously-built aircraft as records played
'Ma Tujhe Salaam', sending a frisson of excitement through the
occasion was the joint display of aerobatics by Suryakiran and
Patrouille de France, the FAF's aerobatic team, one of the oldest
full-time military aerobatics teams in the world. The
Suryakiran team was led by Wing Commander Sreekumar Prabhakran,
an A2 flying instructor with over 4400 hours of flying, and
the eight-member Patrouille de France team was led by Commandant
French team, which had earlier performed at Pune, performed
with eight blue-white-red Alphajet aircraft, a product of Marcel
Dassault Breguet Aviation, a French-German joint venture. Amberg
and his team's spectacular display in 20 formations (with names
like 'Diamant, Arrow, Two beams, Rafale and Concorde) represented
the famed French love for beauty and precision.
aerobatic team to display skills
DELHI, Nov 6: French Aerobatic Team, the Patrouille de France,
will display its aerobatics flying skills at Hindan air base on
Sunday. It will be an occasion for the Patrouille de France to
present French military aeronautical professionalism. Fitted with
the Alphajet , this will be the Patrouille de France's third air
show in India in a span of four years.
equipped with F-84 G, Ouragan, Mystère IV and CM 170 Fouga
Magister, the "Patrouille de France" has been flying
the Alphajet since 1981. The airshow is a dynamic combination
of constantly changing formations, with the pilots handling 'G'
forces from 7 to -3.5. With its aeronautical know-how, the Patrouille
de France takes pride in its 51 years' experience and is indisputably
one of the world's best aerobatics team. The event marks the strengthening
of cooperation between the two air forces.
de France 2004 will cover a wide spectrum of aerial formations
ranging from the 'Leader' to the 'Big Nine', displaying the talent
and outstanding capabilities of the Alphajet. The team is led
by Squadron Leader Amberg.
emerging super power: French FM
DELHI, Oct 28: The visiting French Foreign Minister, Mr Michel
Barnier, has said that India was fast emerging as one of the super
powers of tomorrow. Addressing a public interaction, organized
by the Editors' Guild of India on "India-France: The European
Perspective", Mr Barnier said both India and France believe
in a strong and effective multi polar world, on the basis of commitment
to the principles of the United Nations Charter.
said "India is one of the poles of the emerging multi-polar
world where at present the US is the sole hyper power. Besides
India, the other poles of the multi-power world will be China,
Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, the US and couple of countries
from Africa." The visiting Minister stressed that France
had discovered India as an important part of the emerging multi-polar
world several years ago. "It is for this reason we had established
strategic dialogue with India."
said the relationship between the two countries was not a purely
economic one. "There are also people to people contacts and
that is very important in my view and (there is) also political
dialogue aspect." He said "in that respect I want to
confirm here that the choices that were made by France - the choices
that were expressed clearly by President Chirac on his visit here
in 1998 - India because of its history, its size, the size of
its population, its political determination and also its outlook
on the world is and will be truly a genuine strategic partner
the post cold war era, Mr Barnier said France was the first country
to call for a "fair and just" order and in this regard
sought expansion of the UN Security Council. He said France favours
India, Japan, Germany, Brazil and one other country from Africa
as permanent members of the expanded Security Council.
said the French President, Mr Jacque Chirac, had stated this on
several occasions and as lately as early this month in Hong Kong.
In the meantime, while waiting for the reform of the United Nations
Security Council to make it more representative, he said there
were outstanding reasons why France and India should establish
a dialogue and should go on working together and examining a number
of conflicts and sharing positions on conflicts such as Iraq and
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
visiting Minister said in the days to come European Union would
have a common Foreign policy for all the members of the EU. "You
would see that in time to come European Union would speak in one
failed to give a commitment on sharing of civilian nuclear energy
with India. He said there were constraints because of fear of
proliferation of nuclear technology and of the international laws.
takes up turban issue: The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh,
had specially taken up the turban issue with the French Minister
on Wednesday and had impressed upon him the need to allow Sikh
students in that country to wear turban in some government schools.
According to the Minorities Commission Chairman, Mr Tarlochan
Singh, who had met Barnier at a dinner on Wednesday night, said
"the French foreign minister told me that both the Prime
Minister and External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh had raised
the turban issue during their meetings with him yesterday."
said that the French minister said they had already admitted around
100 Sikh students to various public schools where the law against
wearing the headgear was not applicable. Only three cases were
pending which too would be solved by the second week of November,
he had assured Dr Singh. The French minister assured him that
Sikh students would not lose their academic year.
Tarlochan Singh said that the issue was almost settled and they
are in continuous consultation with the Sikh community there.
The law was not against any religion, but to prevent the growth
of fundamentalist approach by community schools, he said quoting
France pledge to curb terrorism
DELHI, Oct 27: India and France have pledged to work closely to
counter terrorism and step up economic and commercial ties as
New Delhi invited French companies to make use of vast opportunities
now available in this country. During wide-ranging discussions
the visiting French Foreign Minister, Mr Michel Barnier, had with
his Indian counterpart, Mr Natwar Singh, the two sides noted that
international terrorism was one of the serious challenges faced
by open democratic, multilingual and multi-cultural societies.
to newsmen at a joint press conference on Wednesday afternoon,
Mr Natwar Singh said "we reiterated our determination to
continue to work closely together to counter the menace of terrorism."
Mr Singh said French President Jacques Chirac has been invited
to visit India and hoped he would be able to undertake it soon.
meeting Mr Singh, the visiting Minister had talks with the Prime
Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the Defence Minister, Mr Pranab
Mukherjee. The French minister, who arrived here this morning
on a two-day visit, is accompanied by a delegation of senior officials.
to a question on the Scorpene submarine deal, under which Indian
plans to build six of the vessels under licence, Mr Barnier said
"the Scorpene talks have been going on for a long time. There
have been commitments and undertakings and I hope we can bring
this to a close positively, be it today, tomorrow or a further
declined to go into recent allegations of kickbacks paid to agents
in the sale of 10 Mirage 2000 jet fighters, an agreement for which
was signed between the two countries in September 2000. Under
Indian laws, armament firms are barred from appointing middlemen
or agents to clinch deals.
will not make any comment since there is a court order and I will
say even less as the Indian government had made its stand very
clear," he said, in a reference to Indian Air Force chief,
Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy's statement that the government
was not aware of any kickbacks being paid in the deal.
the protest by Sikhs in France against his government's order
barring students from wearing religious symbols, Mr Barnier said
that France had strong secular traditions. "We have trust
and positive relationship with this community and we will go to
settle the issue through dialogue and negotiations."
sources said the talks between the visiting French Minsiter and
Indian leaders were held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere
and added that the two countries, which consider themselves as
strategic partners, shared fundamental values such as freedom
and democracy. India and France are strategic partners and believe
in an effective multipolar world. France has expressed support
for India's candidature for permanent membership of the UN Security
Council about which the French President, Mr Jacque Chirac, has
himself stated publicly on several occasions. Foreign Minister
Barnier himself made a statement to this effect at the UN General
Assembly in New York in September 2004.
and France coordinate extensively in the area of counter-terrorism,
through an established institutional Joint Working Group on Counter
Terrorism. An Indo-French Extradition Treaty was signed in January
2003 and the process of ratification is underway.
two sides also reviewed the economic and trade relations and discussed
ways to enhance bilateral trade from the present 2.5 billion euros.
France is an important trade and investment partner of India.
Total French investment approvals in India for the period 1991
to 2002 amount to US $ 1.71 billion, although actual inflows have
been only US $ 0.51 billion so far.
FM visit to cement ties with India
DELHI, Oct 26: The French Foreign Minister, Mr Michel Barnier, arrives
here on a two-day visit on Wednesday, to further cement the already
warm ties with India. Mr Barnier's visit would provide a timely
opportunity for the leaders of the two countries to exchange views
and perspectives on regional and international as well as bilateral
issues of mutual interest and discuss ways to take forward the relationship
into a 21st century partnership.
his first official visit to India since assuming office in April
this year, Mr Barnier would hold talks with the Prime Minister,
Dr Manmohan Singh, the External Affairs Minister, Mr Natwar Singh,
the Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, and other political leaders.
to this correspondent, the French Ambassador, Mr Dominique Girard,
said the visit is the first contact with the new United Progressive
Alliance (UPA) Government at the political level. Ambassador Girard
said the Foreign Minister will reaffirm the importance France attaches
to the Franco-Indian strategic partnership established in 1998 and
will look at ways to deepen it.
has a special place in the world today which must be recognized
by its major partners, by the EU and the international bodies. We
share with India the same positions on the major international issues,"
his stay here, Mr Barnier will inaugurate the new Alliance Francaise
building with the Delhi Chief Minister, Mrs Sheila Dikshit, on Wednesday
and visit the Kashmiri Gate Metro station built with French technical
know-how the next day.
the importance of Alliance Francaise, Ambassador Girard said "I
would like to draw your attention to the steady increase in the
number of people registering for French language classes and diploma
courses and the success of the cultural programs which required
the construction of more appropriate premises in Delhi. The network
of Alliances françaises in India extends to 22 cities and
13 states. It is the most important linguistic and cultural network
in the country."
other engagements include a visit to the Rithala sewage treatment
plant here constructed by a French company and an interactive meeting
with the members of the Editors' Guild of India on "India-France:
The European Perspective".
visit would also provide the two sides an excellent opportunity
to review bilateral relations including cooperation in economic
and science and technology sectors.
Girard informed that between 1998 and 2003, French exports to India
grew at a steady rate of 42.7 per cent whereas the French imports
from India grew by 39.1 per cent. In volume, French exports are
estimated at Euro 1 billion in 2003 against Euro 701 million in
1998. Over the same period, French imports from India jumped to
Euro 1.47 billion (Euro 1.06 million in 1998 over the same period),
the trade balance still remaining at a deficit for France going
up from € 3530 million to € 468 million. French exports
to India are composed mainly of industrial products (capital goods
and intermediate goods) which account for 78 per cent of the total
export basket to India.
composition of French imports from India is as follows: For the
year 2003-04, the consumer goods and the intermediate goods sectors
enjoy 46 per cent (€ 682 million) and 36 per cent share (€
527 million) respectively. These sectors are followed by the agriculture
and allied products sector, which accounts for 15 per cent share
in the total French imports from India.
2003-04, accounting for 0.46 per cent of the total French imports
and 0.32 per cent of the total French exports, India ranked as the
42nd client and 33rd supplier of France. However, for India, France
is the 14th client and 17th supplier.
the opening of the Indian economy, Ambassador Girard said France
has been one of the most important foreign investors in India. Around
200 French companies are established in India, employing with a
work force of more than 20,000. Most of them are located in Delhi
(40 per cent), then Bombay (30 per cent), followed by Bangalore
and Chennai (15 per cent). France is currently the 9th investor
in India, behind Mauritius, USA, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Japan,
South Korea and Switzerland.
2001, the stock of French investments in India amounted to €
529 million (1 per cent of the total French investments around the
world), making India the 44th partner of France in terms of investment.
As many as 23 per cent of the stocks are listed in the hydrocarbon
sector, 22 per cent in the chemical industry, 19 per cent in building
materials, 14 per cent in the glass industry and 10 per cent in
the food industry.
investments realized by Lafarge (USD 260 million) and Saint-Gobain
(USD 150 million) have led to a sharp increase in the stock of French
FDI in India in the past few years.
Bal to attend Saint-Etienne International Design Biennial 2004
DELHI, Oct 19: On the eve of the departure of designer Rohit Bal
to France, a sneak preview of the collection that he will be presenting
at the St. Etienne Biennial, France (November 6 to 14) was showcased
in the presence of French Ambassador, Mr. Dominique Girard and his
wife, Mrs. Maud Girard at the French Embassy.
Saint-Etienne International Design Biennial 2004 is a grand event
that brings together a host of creators from about 80 countries:
designers, agencies, companies, producers, publishers, design centers,
journals and more. To be held from 6-14 November, it is a forum
for exchanging ideas on the culture and art of the object, set out
over a huge area of exhibition space. It is more than a simple trade
fair in that it provides a permanent forum for encounters and debates
on the culture built around the object. As is evident, the future
of design is today becoming an essential factor for a harmonious
is a city located in the South of France, close to Lyon and is a
melting pot of industry and culture, where the influences have been
strong enough to prompt the French Government to make it the European
Centre for Design. As the French Minister for Culture and Communication,
specified at the opening of the last Biennial, 'Saint-Etienne had
become the leading city in our country in the field of design.'
response to the questions prompted by industry and technological
developments, the fourth Saint-Etienne International Design Biennial
will give plenty of space to those unusual innovations and cultural
identities that bring the colour of diversity and originality back
to a world greyed out by globalisation strategies.
year, with the support of the French Embassy in India , the Indian
pavilion will be represented by a host of talented designers, from
Rohit Bal and Narendra Kumar, to Saleem Bhatri (furniture) and Meera
Naidu (textiles). Moreover, the prestigious schools of design ,
NID, Ahmedabad and Shrishti School of Design in Bangalore will also
exhibit their creations at the event.
garments, to furniture and other indigenous objects, the design
fair presents a great opportunity to showcase the rich tapestry
of Indian contemporary culture in the global forum. In addition,
it gives a new meaning to the Indo-French cultural co-operation
based on the long history of cultural and artistic exchanges, but
with a new structure. The participants in turn can also soak in
the very happening atmosphere that the Saint-Etienne International
Design Biennial has to offer.
favours Indian membership at the UN SC
KONG, Oct 12: The French President, Mr Jacques Chirac, has said
that he favoured India along with three other countries for a permanent
seat in the UN Security Council. When asked at a news conference
during a brief stop in Hong Kong whether he'd rather see Germany
or Japan get a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, he said
both of them. Chirac
said he also favours permanent membership for two other nations
seeking it, Brazil and India.
Chirac said he also favoured a major African nation, chosen by the
continent's countries, to become a permanent member. The UN Security
Council, whose members hold coveted veto power, have for years been
an exclusive club of the United States, Britain, France, Russia
and China. He also called for an increase in the number of non-permanent
members to give the council a more "realistic and balanced
view of the world."
CEO bags France's second highest civilian honour
TTO News Service
DELHI, Oct 8: French president, Jacques Chirac, has conferred the
country's second highest civilian honour, 'Knight of the Order of
Merit', to Suresh Mathur, CEO and managing director of Petronet
legion of honour was given to Mathur in recognition of his "leadership
and professional acumen" and for the role in development of
India's first LNG import terminal at Dahej in Gujarat. The award
was given to Mathur by Dominique Girard, the Ambassador of France
in India, company officials said.
is the founding head of Petronet LNG that built a 5 million tonne
per annum capacity LNG import and regassification terminal at Dahej.
Petronet imports natural gas in liquefied form in ships from Qatar
and regassifies it before selling to customers.
refiners, Indian Oil Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, exploration
firm ONGC and gas utility, GAIL (India) Ltd hold 12.5 per cent each
in Petronet LNG, while Gaz de France, the project consultant, has
10 per cent stake. Mathur is also credited with negotiating the
world's lowest price of LNG.
rejects Iraq oil claims
Oct 8: The French Government has angrily rejected accusations by
the US-led Iraq Survey Group that its politicians and companies
profited from Saddam Hussein's oil revenues. A prominent Russian
party leader also dismissed similar claims, as did the British politician,
U.S.-French relations still strained from the Iraq war, the French
Foreign Ministry issued a tart statement expressing surprise that
the ISG had made accusations against companies and individuals ``without
having taken the trouble to verify the information in advance with
the individuals and companies concerned, nor indeed with the authorities
in their countries''.
ISG, embarrassingly for the US President, George Bush, and the British
Prime Minister, Tony Blair, failed to find weapons of mass destruction.
But it included in its report accusations about Mr. Hussein's use
of oil revenues. Most of the companies and individuals mentioned
in the report are from France or Russia. But individuals from other
countries are also named, including Mr. Galloway.
Galloway, who was out of the country but issued a statement through
his office at the U.K. House of Commons, denied having profited
from his campaign against Iraqi sanctions. In the main body of the
report, the ISG said: ``According to a former high-ranking Iraqi
official with direct access to the information, there are two Americans
and one U.K. citizen listed as recipients on the list of Iraq's
illicit oil allocation programme.'' It does not name the Briton.
in an annexe to the report, Mr. Galloway's name is mentioned twice
as having been allocated oil vouchers, once with a Jordanian businessman,
Fawaz Zureikat, and once on his own. The ISG admits that many of
those named never converted their allocations into cash. Mr. Galloway
said he had not seen the ISG report but noted similar accusations
had been made in the past. ``A lie does not become true just because
you keep repeating it,'' he said.
honours three Indians
DELHI, Oct 28: France has honoured three Indian artists, Guru Kelucharan
Mohapatra, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Ram Kumar, in recognition of
their contribution to cultural diversity in France and in India.
The French Ambassador, Mr Dominique Girard, presented the awards
to the renowned Indian artists at a function at the Ambassador's
Kelucharan Mohapatra and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan were given the rank
of "Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres" (Commander
of the Order of Arts and Letters) and Mr Ram Kumar was conferred
"Officier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres" (Officer
of the Order of Arts and Letters).
order of "Arts and Letters" was created in 1975. The French
government gives this Award to "persons who have distinguished
themselves by their creativity in the field of art, culture and
literature or for their contribution to the influence of the arts
in France and throughout the world".
distinction is divided into three grades ie Knight, Officer and
Commander (Chevalier, Officer and Commandeur).
closeness of the ties between India and France was visible at the
conferring ceremony when the French Ambassador spoke in Hindi and
the veteran artist, Ram Kumar, spoke in French.
Francaise, DAAD sign pact
DELHI: In a move that would exemplify European unity, DAAD, German
Academic Exchange Service, have decided to move into the building
of Alliance Francaise de Delhi (AFD). An agreement to the effect
was signed here recently between the two organizations.
new building of Alliance Francaise is currently under construction
and is expected to be ready by June, 2004, according to Mr Jean-Pierre
Bricman, Director AFD.
Bricman informed that the visiting French Prime Minister, Mr Jean-Pierre
Raffarin, and the Delhi Chief Minister, Mrs Shiela Dikshit, laid
the foundation stone of the building on February 7 this year. Alliance
Francaise is a leading organization, which promotes French language
and culture in India.
Director DAAD, Mr Ulrich Podewils, said "it has been the common
aim of Germany and France to partner in all possible spheres, be
it politics, culture, business and education. This unique partnership
between the AFD and DAAD is a formidable stride towards exactly
said "the two organizations do not intend to project themselves
as entities promoting different countries but rather as partners
in promoting Europe as a whole." DAAD administers various scholarship
programmes and counsels Indian students about study and research
opportunities in Germany.
for India's candidature as UNSC permanent member
NATIONS, Sept 23: France on Tuesday strongly supported India's
candidature as a permanent member of the expanded UN Security Council,
describing it as a "natural candidate" for the post.
is very hard to imagine how one could exclude India from the possibility
of having permanent seat in the Security Council given its characteristics....
It is obvious that a certain number of countries are natural candidates,"
French President Jacques Chirac told newsmen after his address to
the United Nations General Assembly.
he said, "we can't prejudge the outcome. We have to wait for
the dialogue to take place."
who had made a strong case for the expansion of the Security Council
in address to the Assembly, was asked about India as he had named
only Germany and Japan as the candidates for the permanent seat.
am very careful not to express judgments on the countries. I mentioned
Germany because this is long time position in France. A long history,"