Be Pragmatic, Open Up Markets, Sarkozy Tells India

Mumbai, Dec 7 (IANS) Visiting French President Nicholas Sarkozy Tuesday urged India to open up its markets and also called for an "equal level partnership" between French and Indian businesses for the mutual benefit of both countries.

Addressing the India-France Economic Conference on 'Together to build a Sustainable Future', Sarkozy called upon India to open up its markets like France had done and said his country did not merely seek new clients or contracts, but a "true long-term partnership" between the two countries.

Discarding his prepared speech "to speak from my heart", Sarkozy said that though France and India were ancient civilizations with a rich historical past, "we are living in a new world where there are new ideas".

They are confronted by new problems and issues for which they must find solutions immediately or they would run into trouble, he said.

"These solutions must be pragmatic, not based on ideologies. You must react fast and not procrastinate till a later date, or you will have no business to run. Right decisions at the wrong time won't be relevant," Sarkozy said pointedly in his address at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel.

He said the decision to set up the G20 was a result of this fast reaction in the changing international scenario.

Sarkozy said that though France is the fifth largest economic power in the world, it has to re-think in a changing scenario.

"France is in the process of changing and modernizing in the changing scenario. To an outsider, India is more impressive and attractive," Sarkozy said.

He mentioned how during his trip to Bangalore, he found hi-tech industries reaching for the skies on one hand and abject depths of poverty on the other.

Sarkozy urged India to open up its markets and make them accessible just as France had thrown open its sectors like textiles, petroleum and agriculture. Especially on the agri-business front, he assured that France could offer great technological assistance.

The French president said that of the six billion people on earth, nearly two billion live in dire poverty and added that the developed and rich nations of the world must help them, and also the poorest people in India.

Sarkozy, accompanied by his wife Carla Bruni, left for Paris soon after the business meeting. They arrived in India Saturday on a four-day trip that took them to Bangalore, Agra, New Delhi and Mumbai.


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