France to open Consul General office by year-end

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Kolkata, Feb 28 (UNI) French Ambassador to India Jerome Bonnafant today announced the opening of its Consul General office here by this year-end and decision to persuade Air France to start its commercial flights from the city.

On his first visit to the city, the diplomat said France was also interested in enhancing investments and strategic cooperation with India, particularly West Bengal, in the fields of Water Resources Management, Food Processing, Steel, IT, ITEs, SMEs and other allied sectors.

Addressing the local industrialists in an interactive session of the Indian Chamber of Commerce(ICC), Mr Bonnafont said France was also interested in exchange of educational facilities with India, stating that very few students from India utilise the advantage of the world-class facilites existent in France.

France has its consul offices in Mumbai and Delhi.

On the opening of the Consul General office in Kolkata by end of 2008, Mr Bonnafont said the office would have visa section, administration, economic mission and information desk on study facilities in France.

Mr Bonnafont said he would visit the Calcutta Univerity complex tomorrow to hold talks with the authorities, regarding exchange of knowledge between Indian and French students and also explained the opportunities France offers for higher studies and at the same time working facilities.

Mr Bonnafont also assured to persuade the private airliner to start operation in Kolkata after looking the business feasibility.

Air France has increased the number of fights between Mumbai and France and opened liason offices in Chennai and Bangalore.

UNI PC LL SYU RAI1837

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