Macron India

France's President Emmanuel Macron (right) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi give a joint statement at the Elysee Palace June 3, 2017 in Paris. Macron is scheduled to visit India in December during which he will discuss strategic and economic ties with the Indian leadership. (Kamil Zihnioglu/AFP/Getty Images)

CHENNAI — French President Emmanuel Macron will visit India Dec. 8 to 10 to discuss with the leadership here issues including strategic and economic ties, France's Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler said Oct. 11.

He said a nuclear plant in France will go on stream next year, which will be a reference site for India to decide on buying French nuclear reactors for the Jaitapur site in Maharashtra.

"There will be discussions on economic, strategic, smart cities, renewable energy and other aspects," Ziegler told reporters on the sidelines of an event to announce commencement of direct flights to Paris from Chennai by Jet Airways this month.

According to Ziegler, bilateral trade is good, as are the investments French companies have in India and vice versa.

Ziegler said French automotive group PSA will start constructing its own car plant near here next year and start production in 2019.

The PSA is partnering with India's C.K. Birla Group and has announced an investment of around 100 million euros to set up a 100,000 units per annum car plant.

The PSA group is the second French automotive group to set up base here after Renault.

As for the status of discussions with the Indian government on the supply of nuclear reactors, Ziegler said it was progressing smoothly.

He said the Indian stipulation of reactor supplier having a running reactor as a reference site was perfectly fine with the French government.

India had earlier announced its plans to buy nuclear power reactors from French company Areva for the Jaitapur project.

Ziegler said a new nuclear plant similar to what is being planned to be supplied to India is coming up at Flamanville in France and is expected to be operational next year.

Speaking about Indian visitors to France, Ziegler said last year around 600,000 Indians visited France, which was higher than the previous year.

He said a consular office has been opened in Chennai and visas will be issued within 48 hours for visits to France.

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