Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will visit India on April 13 and meet with the Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi, after their first encounter in Paris in April 2015. He is perceived as rather pro-business amongst Indian decision makers and is also surrounded, in the general public perception, by a glamorous image, related notably to his wife singer-song writer Carla Bruni.
Nicolas Sarkozy will pay tribute to the Mahatma at Gandhi Smriti in Delhi. He will also meet Sushma Swaraj, the Indian Minister of External Affairs, and Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister of India.
The former French President will interact with Indian business representatives at a conference held by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), in partnership with the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Nicolas Sarkozy visited India twice when he was President. On January 26, 2008, he was the Guest of honour of the Republic Day in New Delhi, invited by then Prime minister of India Manmohan Singh.
It was a symbolic gesture mirroring the ever closer strategic and economic relationship developed between France and India. Nicolas Sarkozy is regarded in many Indian business and political circles as a rather pro-business and energetic person.
From military and anti-terrorism cooperation to growing business links, in major sectors such as aeronautics and space, civil nuclear projects, transport and infrastructures or utilities and smart cities: the Indian-French ties were taken to the next level during his presidency.
Not to forget expanding persons to persons relationships, in areas like students exchanges, cultural cooperation and heritage preservation and of course gastronomy, hospitality and tourism.
Shortly after this first Indian visit in 2008, he married the famous Italian-French singer-song writer Carla Bruni who accompanied him on his second visit to India in 2010. She attracted a lot of media coverage during this Indian trip.
A key French political figure
Nicolas Sarkozy is a key French political figure. Born in 1955, he was the President of France from May 2007 to May 2012, when he lost his re-election bid to present French President, Francois Hollande. Before his presidency, Monsieur Sarkozy was the leader of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) right wing party.
Under Jacques Chirac’s presidency, he served as Home affairs Minister from May 2002 to March 2004 and then as Minister of Finances (March 2004 to May 2005) and again Home affairs Minister (2005–2007). He is well known for his strong stance on security issues.
Nicolas Sarkozy had also some deep local political roots as president of the General Council of the Hauts-de-Seine department, near Paris, from 2004 to 2007 and, from 1983 to 2002, as mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine, one of the wealthiest towns of France, adjacent to the French capital.
During his presidency, he faced the big world financial crisis that started in 2008 and the consequences of major international events such as the Arab Spring, notably in Syria and Libya, where he was at the forefront of the international military intervention that brought down the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
The former French President is now President of the main French opposition party, Les Republicains, which succeeded the UMP. He is likely to be candidate at Les Republicains Primary election to designate the right wing party candidate for the next French presidential election, in 2017.
Nicolas Sarkozy has been touring France recently, promoting his last book, “La France pour la vie” (“France for life”), where he recalls his experience as President and puts forward some propositions to fight France’s economic challenges and high level of unemployment.
He also draws some elements for a new French policy in a European Union facing many hot issues: from the pending economic crisis in countries such as Greece to the refugees crisis, that fled war countries like Syria to seek shelter in Europe.