GANGTOK: Emmanuel Lenain, ambassador of France to India is currently visiting Sikkim on a 3-day tour. He was accompanied by the first Counsellor at the Embassy Laurent Triponey. The French team paid a courtesy visit to Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay on May 17.

On May 18, in an interactive discussion with the media fraternity, Ambassador Lenain highlighted how the French government is keen on partnership with the state’s education sector. He stressed partnership with the upcoming Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Centre for Excellence in the Soreng-Chakung constituency, a flagship initiative under the Golay led SKM government.

Lenain highlighted how the development of French language courses would be a key focus at the upcoming University while also focussing on future exchange programmes between students of Sikkim and France in future. He shared, “Education in France is comparatively cheaper when compared to anywhere in the West. There is a sound student population of above 10,000 Indian students in France, with student ratio almost doubling by 2025. We would be keen on setting up institutions and tutors here in Sikkim for more exchanges in the future. However, language has a key role, and the same would be looked upon diligently for improvement here among the Sikkimese people.”

As part of the discussion with the media fraternity in Sikkim, the ambassador and his team paid keen interest in the development and potential of tourism in Sikkim, the organic farming culture, entrepreneurship in the State, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among various other topics.

They stressed how cash crops such as cardamom, turmeric and Mandarin oranges have a huge potential for export from Sikkim with the Organic tag being a crucial sale factor in France.

The team also divulged how French construction firm Puma has been playing an important role in the construction of the ambitious skywalk project from Bhaleydhunga to Dhapper in Yangang, Namchi district.

While discussions were also ripe on various philosophies, art and culture along with music and literature. A special mention was also given to Sikkim born Author Prajwal Parajuly whose novel The Land Where I Flee was translated into French.

The literature was awarded prize by the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie Franco-Indienne (CCIFI). Fuir et revenir, the French translation of his novel Land Where I Flee, was published by Emmanuelle Collas and translated by Benoîte Dauvergne. The Embassy informed how literature in the future can play a crucial connection between the two cultures.

The Embassy also inclined on the ongoing Cannes Film Festival where India was invited as the Guest of Honour to mark the occasion of the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.

Discussions were also ripe on press freedom and structure in France as compared to the young media fraternity in Sikkim.

The team comprised of first Counsellor at the Embassy- Laurent Triponey, Consul General of France in Kolkata- Dadier Talpain and Anjita Roy Chaudhury -the Press and Diplomatic Liaison Officer.

Also read: Sikkim: One feared dead as vehicle plunges into Dikchu Reservoir

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