India may get a one billion euro ($1.4 billion) credit line to fund sustainable infrastructure and urban development projects.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius made the announcement recently. The credit line would be available for over three years and be delivered through the French Development Agency.
India, which has said it needs $ 1 trillion of investment by 2017, to upgrade its infrastructure, is keen to attract foreign development agencies and companies to help finance new roads, railways and cities. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed to focus on infrastructure.
“If you don’t have the share of technology and the share of finance, you can develop brilliant ideas, may be brilliant, but (you will have) nothing concrete,” Fabius said.
He is the first of a string of Western politicians due to visit India over the next few weeks for talks with Modi and his government, drawn in part by the prospect of lucrative defence deals that stalled under the last administration.
After meeting ministers in Modi’s cabinet, Fabius expressed confidence that there would be a ‘positive outcome’ to negotiations on a $12-billion deal to sell Rafale combat aircraft to India.
The deal to supply 126 Rafale fighter jets manufactured by Dassault Aviation has been under final negotiations since January 2012 after they pipped the Americans, Europeans and Russians. The contract, which involves technology-sharing and the production of most of the planes in India, has been making slow progress through numerous stages of vetting and evaluation.
The French minister sounded less upbeat after meeting Modi, declining to say when the deal might be concluded.
“The next step is for Dassault and the (Indian) government to discuss the details, which have not yet been discussed and hopefully to reach a conclusion,” he told news agency reporters. “For us, the earlier the better … but it’s a normal negotiation and the way it must be.”
Fabius said Paris was keen to share technology and industrial development with India in the defence sector.
“To be honest and candid, you have a diminution of the defence budget in Europe … and therefore (it is in) our interest, it’s not only the interest of India,” he said.
Fabius, who flew from New Delhi to India’s financial capital, Mumbai, said Modi had accepted an invitation to visit France, and Paris was hoping he would stop there on his way to or from a visit to the United States in September.