New Delhi: A month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited France, the country has said that it is keen to invest in Indian government’s pet projects on sustainable urban development and smart cities.

France is also looking to expand cooperation in the tourism sector, said French ambassador to India Francois Richer on the sidelines of a function organized on Wednesday at the French embassy in India.

During Modi’s visit to Paris, the two countries had signed a pact to share knowledge about monuments, heritage conservations and hold joint exhibitions among other things in a bid to promote them as tourist destinations. A case in point was that of twinning monuments such as Château de Chambord (in France) and the City Palace of Udaipur.

“This agreement was the first of its kind. It has never existed between France and anyone else. It is a very forward-looking initiative. Yes, we are looking at expanding it. We will now look for additional sites and monuments in India and France for this," Richer said.

Meanwhile, an a delegation from France’s public financial institution Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is in India for a two-day visit to discuss urban development projects that could be funded.

French president Francois Hollande had during Modi’s visit decided to increase its line of credit from €1 billion to €2 billion over three years to support projects related to sustainable urban development and smart cities in India.

The move allowed AFD to engage in projects across India. Around half of AFD’s total earlier €1 billion commitment to India was dedicated to two metro train projects in Kochi and Bengaluru.

“The phase II of Kochi and Bangalore metros and phase I of Nagpur metro are in the pipeline and there is a possibility that these projects could be funded by AFD. However, this is only a part of the total funding required for these projects," said S. Selvakumar, joint secretary in the department of economic affairs.

The French have also shown interest in other projects that are related to Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan, another of Modi’s pet projects, said Selvakumar, while speaking at a function at the French Embassy.

Pascal Pacaut, director of the Asia department of AFD, said that in case India designated Puducherry for smart city project, AFD would love to take that up. “This is for historical reasons," Pacaut said. During the colonial rule, the French had held control over Puducherry since 1674 to 1956 when it was included into the Indian Union.

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