India is expected to get foreign investment of over $100 billion in nuclear energy in the next 20 years, of which a quarter would come from France, according to the Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Anand Sharma.

“In the coming two decades, India will see investments in excess of $100 billion in the nuclear power sector alone and I am sure, at least, a quarter, will come from France,” Mr Sharma said in Paris yesterday.

Addressing the India-France CEO Forum, he said, India “values” the French partnership in the energy sector, especially in nuclear power.

French nuclear energy majors Areva and Alstom are actively pursuing business interest in India. However, some of the proposed nuclear plants such as Jaitapur in Maharashtra are facing protests from the locals.

A Commerce Ministry statement here quoted Mr Sharma as saying that a total investment of $14 billion from France is in the pipeline in different sectors of the economy.

But “given the strong position of French companies, the level of French investment in India is way below potential. There are 800 French companies in India which engage over 80,000 people and we would like to see this growing in the coming years”, he added.

Referring to the recent decision of the Government to allow 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in single brand retail, he expressed the hope that the French luxury companies would establish manufacturing base in India.

“This will create a win-win situation as India has emerged as a huge market for luxury goods and establishment of manufacturing in India will provide maximum value” the minister said.

Mr Sharma also invited French companies to invest in the mega national investment and manufacturing zones. These zones are planned along the Delhi-Mumbai rail freight corridor covering seven northern and western States.

During 2010-11, the bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $8 billion.

(This article was published on January 31, 2012)
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