French President Nicolas Sarkozy called on India to play a greater role in the Group of 20 nations and pledged to support its bid for a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council.
“We need you to regulate the global monetary order,” the French leader said in Bangalore at the start of a four-day visit to India. “The Indian currency one day will be part of the great currencies of the world,” Sarkozy said in a speech at the Indian Space Research Organisation.
Sarkozy, the current chairman of the G-20, will seek support from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his plans to overhaul the global monetary system and regulate commodities markets. To boost French economic and employment recovery amid Europe’s debt crisis, Sarkozy will push for sales of submarines as well as combat jets, and seek transport and energy deals.
A permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council would help India take “its full role in the G-20,” Sarkozy said. U.S. President Barack Obama said Nov. 8 during a visit to India that he would back the South Asian nation’s bid to become a permanent Security Council member as part of a “just and sustainable international order.”
Sarkozy is travelling with a group of 50 chief executives including Dassault Aviation SA’s Charles Edelstenne, EADS’s Louis Gallois, MBDA’s Antoine Bouvier and Areva SA’s Anne Lauvergeon.
France is pushing for the signature of a preliminary contract as soon as Dec. 5 that may include two of six Evolutionary Pressurized Reactor units and the supply of uranium fuel. France and India may sign a preliminary contract that would bring Areva closer to an agreement to build two 1,650 megawatt nuclear reactors at Jaitapur and supply them with uranium, Press Trust of India agency reported on Nov. 24, citing Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd. representatives.
The project passed a key hurdle on Nov. 28 when India’s Environment Ministry gave its approval. India plans to add 60,000 megawatts of nuclear power capacity in the next 14 years, a third of the current total output, to beat power shortages.
By participating in the work at the Jaitapur site, Paris- based Areva, the world’s biggest nuclear-power builder, “is becoming a key partner in India’s nuclear energy sector,” Sarkozy said in his speech. “When the cooperation phase is completed, the six Franco-Indian EPRs will provide 10,000 megawatts of energy.”
Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, after a 4 1/2-hour stop in Bangalore, traveled to Agra for a visit to the Taj Mahal.
France was India’s fifth-biggest trading partner in 2009, according to India’s government spokesman, Vishnu Prakash. French-Indian trade in the first nine months of this year was worth 5.3 billion euros ($7 billion), down from 7.1 billion euros in 2008, according to the French government.