President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that France is aiming to welcome 30,000 Indian students to its universities by 2030, in a major effort to boost academic ties between the two countries.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter) during a visit to India, where he is attending the 75th Republic Day celebrations as the chief guest, Macron said the plan is part of an "ambitious" effort to strengthen France's relationship with India, which he called a "key partner" in the Indo-Pacific region. He had announced the target after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to France in July 2023.
"We are launching new pathways in order to learn French in public schools with the initiative 'French for All, French for a Better Future,'" Macron said.
Sharing further details, he said, "We are developing the network of Alliances françaises, with new centers to learn French. We are creating international classes which will allow students, who do not necessarily speak French, to join our universities."
The French President also highlighted that the visa process would be streamlined for former Indian students who have studied in France, making it easier for them to return. This announcement comes as France aims to first attract 20,000 Indian students by 2025, setting the stage for the larger goal of 30,000 by 2030.
"It’s a very ambitious target, but I am determined to make it happen," Macron stated.
The French government has already taken steps to make it easier for Indian students to study in France. In 2018, it launched a programme called "Campus France" which provides information and support to Indian students interested in studying in France. The number of Indian students studying in France has increased by 20 per cent since it was launched.
Prime Minister Modi on Thursday welcomed President Macron's visit to India, which includes attending the Republic Day ceremony on January 26. PM Modi took to social media to express his delight at Macron starting his two-day visit in Rajasthan, where the latter toured Jaipur's iconic sites of Amber Fort, Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal.
The two leaders showcased their strong rapport with a roadshow in the Pink City, where Macron was presented with a replica of Ayodhya’s Ram Mandir and enjoyed masala chai before engaging in bilateral talks. Their discussions focused on further consolidating strategic cooperation in defense, security, trade, and clean energy.