New Delhi: France's Minister for Finance and Public Accounts Michel Sapin Monday said French companies have been investing billions in India and he expects that they will invest over USD 10 billion in the next five years.
"Over the last five years, French companies invested more than USD 1 billion per year and we estimate that they will continue to invest at least USD 10 billion in next five years," Sapin said at the India-France business session organised by industry body Ficci.
French companies represent 10 percent of solar capacity installed in India and by 2020-22, they could add additional capacities, he said.
Sapin said France is the third-biggest foreign investor in India with an investment stock of USD 20 billion and there are more than 400 French companies present in India with a consolidated turnover of over USD 20 billion.
"The majority of these investments are meant for the industrial sector. This makes France a major player in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make in India programme. This complementarity can also been seen in the context of other programmes of the Indian government," Sapin said.
The minister added that France has directed French Development Agency to earmark 60 percent of total financial outlay to India.
"The economic presence of France in India goes back to a long time and is very diverse. This expression of interest in India did not wait for Indian GDP to supersede that of China," Sapin said.
The agency operates in 70 countries and provides finance for development. In 2014, it committed euro 8.1 billion across the globe for various projects.
He met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley this morning and has invited him to visit France for an annual economic dialogue between the two countries.
"In France, Indian companies are too few in numbers though France is one of the biggest recipients of FDI in the world. I count all French companies in India to act as ambassador for our country and invite their counterparts to discover in France what they are missing," Sapin stressed.
Sapin took the line that partnership between both the countries should not be limited to the Indian domestic market though it has a huge potential.
The minister said that among all multi-lateral issues, India and France share a very close view on fight against financing terrorism and fiscal cooperation, which allows both to continue working on similar terms.
France and India, he said, have a common goal of following the trajectory of economic growth and are resilient to intense movement of market witnessed in the last few weeks.
"I have a lot of comfort to say that approach towards stability, structure methodical reform has started to bear fruit. From this point of view, I can only encourage the Indian government to pursue this reform," Sapin added.