New Delhi: Visiting French foreign minister Catherine Colonna has said that France aims to welcome 20,000 Indian students by 2025. “For us to achieve this objective, we must attract, every year, 7500 to 8000 students, and therefore increase the actual numbers by 50%. It is very ambitious. But between India and France, the sky is the limit.” said Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, in an interaction with the students of Lady Shri Ram College.
She informed that they have recovered from the pandemic-induced dip in the number of Indian students going to France and that its appeal among Indian students is “as strong as ever”.
“France will welcome in 2022 almost the same number of Indian students as in 2019, during which more than 5000 students have completed their procedure for long-stay studies in France,” Colonna, who was on a three-day visit to India, said.
Further, Colonna lauded France’s financial aid efforts for students which benefited a number of Indians as well. “France provided unprecedented support through scholarship, with a record of € 1.6 million this year that benefited 500 Indian students.” The scholarships were sponsored by private companies through the French Indian Education Trust.
During her discussion with students, she emphasized the need for gender equality in not just education, but also internationally. “I believe we (men and women) are complimentary. And the world would be in better balance and harmony if there are more women in key positions,” she said.
Ahead of the 25th anniversary of India-France strategic relations in 2023, she underlined the strong bilateral ties between the two nations. “Our countries share common values, such as democracy, rule of law, of course. But also our relation to the world, be it our keen appreciation for beauty and refinement in Arts including gastronomy, our interest for History or our vision of the future.”