We want France to supplant Britain as India’s gateway to Europe: Macron

Vastavam web: French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday he wanted France to supplant Britain as New Delhi’s partner of choice in Europe, as he embarked on a four-day tour of India.Macron, a pro-business centrist who swept to power last year, has been beating the drum for France as a new, modernised “startup nation” on the world stage, while he pushes ahead with a wide-ranging programme of reforms at home.

He has also used Britain’s decision to leave the European Union to pitch France as an investment destination at the heart of the European single market.The 40-year-old president, who is travelling with a delegation of French companies that includes EDF (EDF.PA), Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA), Schneider Electric (SCHN.PA) and Suez (SEVI.PA), will also inaugurate a solar plant built by Engie (ENGIE.PA) in Uttar Pradesh.

“I think India has to operate much more with Europe and the European Union as a whole. I want France to be its entry point,” Macron said.India was the third-largest source of foreign direct investment into Britain in 2015, contributing to its position as Europe’s top destination for foreign direct investment, according to official British figures. By comparison, India was only the 30th largest investor in France, according to 2013 Bank of France figures.