French Ambassador paid his first visit to Bihar 2nd - 4th December 2013
The Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Mr François Richier paid a three-day visit to Bihar, from 2nd to 4th December 2013. This trip was part of a series of travels throughout India to expand the scope of Indo-French cooperation and develop joint, forward-looking projects in various fields, notably economic exchanges, education, science and culture (Attached is the list of the 26 trips to 14 cities in 10 different states made by Ambassador Richier since January 2013).
On the occasion of his first visit to Bihar, Ambassador Richier travelled to Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Nalanda, Patna and Sonepur, and interacted with various interest groups and eminent personalities in the State.
On 3 December, Ambassador Richier met Hon. Chief Minister Mr Nitish Kumar to discuss potential areas of cooperation.
On 4 December, Ambassador Richier had a meeting with various members of the Bihar business community in Patna. Until now, only a few French companies have started to engage with Bihar.
There is also a huge potential for cooperation in the field of higher education. According to UNESCO, with nearly 300,000 foreign students in 2013, France is the third most attractive country, representing 7% of the total number of global internationally mobile students. In particular, French authorities would like to welcome even more Indian students: they are already around 2600 currently pursuing their academic projects in France, making it an increasingly popular destination for higher studies. Ambassador Richier discussed possible partnerships between institutions in France and Bihar for higher education and ways to increase student exchanges.
On 3 December, Ambassador Richier met Mrs Gopa Sabharwal, Vice Chancellor of the International University of Nalanda, based in Rajgir, and toured this site which has been the brainchild of India’s foremost economist and Nobel Laureate Mr Amartya Sen. The French Ambassador also engaged with the cultural and academic community in Patna and exchanged with institutes of scientific research like the National Institute of Technology based in Patna (4 December). NIT faculty and students have demonstrated outstanding ability and aptitude for research in areas in which France has developed fundamental research, strong expertise and high-end technology.
In the social field, Ambassador Richier paid his respects at the Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya and met the Mahavihara society that preserves this World heritage site (2 December).
Ambassador Richier also visited the NGO “Jeanamitabh Welfare Trust” founded in 2002 by a French lady, Ms Jeanne Pere, who works closely with local administration and teachers to educate and professionally train young destitute children in Bodh Gaya.
4/01/2013: Mumbai (economic relations)
17/01/2013: Bangalore (culture)
17/01/2013: Chennai (culture)
20/01/2013: Mumbai (culture)
22/01/2013: Hyderabad (culture)
06/02/2013: Bangalore (defense)
25/02/2013: Sriharikota (space cooperation)
26/02/2013: Chennai (Higher education)
03/03/2013: Ahmedabad (culture)
16/03/2013: Visakhapatnam (economic relations)
22/03/2013: Bhopal (culture, urban development, heritage)
13/04/2013: Goa (economic relations, naval cooperation)
06/05/2013: Chennai (culture, economic relations, education)
08/05/2013: Pondicherry (urban development, French community, culture, education)
09/05/2013: Karikal (French community, education)
17/05/2013: Dharamsala (culture)
31/05/2013: Goa (urban development, culture, education)
12/06/2013: Chennai (culture, economic relations, higher education)
27/07/2013: Gwalior (defence, heritage)
20/09/2013: Chennai (economic relations)
29/09/2013: Jaipur (heritage and culture cooperation)
30/09/2013: Mumbai (economic relations, French community, higher education)
14/10/2013: Ahmedabad (economic relations, culture, heritage)
17/10/2013: Mumbai (culture, economic relations)
20/11/2013: Mumbai (economic relations)
25/11/2013: Chennai (economic relations).