On a recent trip to Bangalore, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced a plan to attract 10,000 Indian students to French institutions by 2020, more than doubling the current population of Indian students.
In a recent Times of India article, Ayrault said, “In 2016, 4,000 Indian students went to France. This is 50 times more than that of 20 years ago. But it’s still insufficient in terms of the quality of the relationship between the two countries.”
Why the push? France wants to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries. According to Ayrault, the French president and Indian prime minister both agree that higher education and student exchange programs would continue to strengthen the partnerships between the two countries. Annual trade between France and India reaches around $8.6 billion.
On his trip, Ayrault also announced the Bangalore chapter of the France Alumni, an online, multilingual digital network to connect international students who have studied at French institutions. The hope? To encourage Indian students who have studied in France to work together.
Ayrault acknowledged that international student mobility is at its highest level. He said, “Four million students studied in foreign countries in 2012. Around the world, international student mobility has become a major issue. This mobility is a guarantee of freedom.” He predicted that international student mobility could reach eight million by 2020—and he wants France and India to continue to have mutually respectful relationships, especially when it comes to higher education.
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