The UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) could cause severe regional and global damage. The so-called “Brexit” would disrupt established trading relationships and cause major challenges for both the UK and the rest of Europe. It was time for EU to relook at its policies and consolidate its outlook, said Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy, Former President of the French Republic, at an interactive session on ‘France, Europe, India: Challenges and Opportunities’ organized by FICCI jointly with the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce & Industry. In his special address, Mr. Sarkozy said that the ‘Make in India’ campaign resonated well within France.
However, he suggested that the campaign could be rephrased as ‘Make with India’ as it would help strengthen the existing partnership between India and France while paving the way for future collaborations. Speaking about the strategic relationship between Indian and France, Mr. Sarkozy said that India had been one of the stable alliances of France. Stressing on the areas of cooperation between India and France, he said that significant progress in bilateral relations have been made and through regular exchanges in strategic areas of security, defence, nuclear energy, space, the bond has been further strengthened. Mr. Sarkozy said that India and France had a FTA between them which was benefitting the two nations. However, he pointed out that there was a trade imbalance and this could be bridged by entering into new and meaningful partnerships which would translate the friendship between India and France into a more concrete relationship. Sharing his views on the permanent seat for India at the UN Security Council, Mr. Sarkozy said that France supports India’s candidature and wishes that India secures a permanent seat at the Council. He added that France does not support the double standard of the UN, where it gives the power of veto to one permanent member and disallows another from the same.
It is time that UN adopts uniform processes for all its members. Underlining the threat of terrorism, Mr. Sarkozy said that both India and France had witnessed the acts of terrorism and it was time for all nations to build a consensus to fight against it. He added that terrorism needs to be fought with a collaborative approach otherwise the terrorists will find a safe haven in some country. Mr. Harshavardhan Neotia, President FICCI & Chairman, Ambuja Neotia Group, said that India, just as France and rest of EU, has to redefine the approach to growth with a firm eye on security – at the domestic, regional and global levels. “We see future engagement between nations being dictated by two themes: economic prosperity and global peace and security,” he added. Mr. Neotia said that strategic trade agreements have assumed great significance in the wake of mega accords such as TPP and TTIP. During the recent visit of PM Modi to Brussels for the 13th India-EU Summit, both sides have agreed to re-engage in discussions with a view to considering how to further the EU-India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
India and France have to work together to bridge divergence of opinion on critical issues to find comfortable common ground. On the occasion, URGO Group and Eucare Pharma signed a MoU and Mr. Pierre Moustial, CEO of the Urgo Group,announced a strategic partnership with Eucare, an Indian family owned company based in Chennai. Urgo Group is one of the leading healthcare companies in the world and global expert in the treatment of serious wounds. The vote of thanks was delivered by Mr. Pierre Behnam, President, Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry.