India's ambassador to France, Jawed Ashraf, stated in an exclusive interview with ANI on Wednesday that the France-India Business Summit would undoubtedly provide a significant boost to the France-India business partnership in every aspect. He added that this would promote India's national priorities, which include economic growth, increased investment, the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, the reindustrialization of India, access to advanced technologies, and the development of defense and self-reliance, as outlined by the Prime Minister.
Ashraf identified numerous areas that could benefit from this collaboration, including the clean energy and health sectors, which are essential for growth, inclusion, and empowerment and align with the three pillars of the Prime Minister's economic vision.
According to Jawed Ashraf, the business sector should play a crucial role in driving innovation, technology, and investments in markets. He also emphasized the significance of Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal's attendance, stating that it conveyed a strong message about India's dedication to Europe and France. Ashraf suggested that India's commitment to France could help its industries promote their interests in terms of exports and establishing a presence in the EU.
Jawed Ashraf explained that the EU is not only the largest market in Europe but also the world, and expanding one's exports and presence in such a market is essential to create value and gain a competitive advantage. He noted that this was a clear message conveyed at the recent business summit, which highlighted the Indian industry's willingness to invest and the French government and industry's interest in increasing investments from India in Europe. Ashraf stressed that this was a two-way process, with both sides benefiting from the partnership.
Jawed Ashraf expressed that the France-India Business Summit was successful in generating new energy and momentum, and outlining clear roadmaps for collaboration, as evident from the plenary sessions, CEO roundtable, and one-on-one meetings attended by the minister and CEOs throughout the day. He emphasized the significance of the high-quality attendance, including top executives from major French companies, which reflects the level of interest in India and the need for regular business engagement on a large scale to convert this interest into action.
Furthermore, Ashraf highlighted the excellent support from the French government, who were highly interested in the summit, due to the crucial role that the business sector plays in the India-France strategic partnership.
He also discussed the expectations of the CEOs and noted that they expressed a desire to increase business with India, not solely due to the Indian market. He explained that in today's geopolitical climate, businesses prefer to work with their friends and partners they are comfortable with. According to Ashraf, this preference is driven by the shared values of democracy, in addition to India's market, growth, talent, infrastructure, digitalization, and reforms. And he highlighted that India's commitment to international law is well-regarded, and this adds to the comfort level of potential partners.
Jawed Ashraf spoke about the role of embassies in boosting exports, stating that the Indian government is currently negotiating a free trade and investment agreement with the European Union. Additionally, he mentioned that they are proactively promoting Indian products by reaching out to key importers in France and other parts of Europe and examining value chains.
Regarding investments, the Ambassador noted that Indian companies are encouraged to invest and are doing well in France, which has been ranked the most attractive FDI destination in the European Union for three consecutive years.
On the Indo-Pacific region, Ashraf highlighted that France and India are interested in advancing their partnership in the region, with France considering India as its number one partner in the Indo-Pacific and India also recognizing France as a premier partner in the region.