New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday welcomed French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna on her first official visit to India.

"Bonjour FM @MinColonna. Welcome to India," tweeted Jaishankar.

Earlier today, the French Foreign Minister addressed the students of Lady Shri Ram College and said student mobility is among the top priorities to strengthen the Indo-French bilateral relationship.

"Student mobility is among the top priorities set by our leaders to strengthen the bilateral relationship further, and I am glad to be here, at Lady Shri Ram College, a key institution in this endeavour I measure how people-to-people exchanges are key to a strong bilateral relationship," Colonna said.

She highlighted that relations have been more than the strategic partnership, and said, "Our partnership, for decades, has not only been a strategic and economic partnership. It has always been and it is more than ever a partnership from the hearts and minds. Our countries share common values, such as democracy, rule of law."

The foreign minister mentions that there can't be a better indicator of peace and true friendship among nations than a student trained and graduated abroad who becomes acquainted with two cultures and can stand up for both.

Colonna also revealed the objective assigned by President Emmanuel Macron of 20,000 Indian students in France by 2025.

"After the figures went down in 2020, due to the pandemic, France will welcome in 2022 almost the same number of Indian students as in 2019, during which more than 5000 students had completed their procedure for long-stay studies in France.

The objective assigned by President Emmanuel Macron is clear, 20,000 Indian students in France by 2025. For us to achieve this objective, we must attract, every year, 7500 to 8000 students, and therefore increase the actual numbers by 50 per cent. It is very ambitious. But between India and France, the sky is the limit," she added.

She also talked about Gender Equality in France where Colonna said," At the national level, we have introduced new measures in order to fill the so-called "gender pay gap"."

Further added at the European level, the equality between women and men was also one of the key priorities of the French Presidency of the European Union that just ended in June 2022.

Colonna is visiting India from September 14-15 and she aims to move forward with an ambitious plan to deepen and expand the Indo-French strategic partnership ahead of its 25th anniversary next year.

The visit also demonstrates France's unwavering commitment to the Indo-Pacific and determination to work with India to find standard solutions to global disorders.

Moreover, the French Foreign Affairs Minister will also meet National Security Advisor Ajit Doval for discussions on regional and global security issues, strengthened defence cooperation, as well as the implementation of France's counter-terrorism cooperation with India, which is hosting the "No Money for Terror" conference this year.

As part of the visit, Colonna will travel to Mumbai for engagements with industry leaders and site visits on September 15.