France will be investing about $10 billion in India over the next five years, predominantly in the manufacturing sector, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on Monday during President Francois Hollande's 3-day visit to India.

"Over the last five years, French companies have invested more than USD one billion per year in various sectors in India," Sapin said at an event organised by business chamber Ficci, reports ANI.

"We estimate that they will continue to invest at least $10 billion over the next five years," he added.

In Chandigarh, Mahindra Defence and Airbus Helicopters signed an agreement to form a joint venture to produce military helicopters in India.

"We have made significant progress in setting up the joint venture and together the companies are creating a world-class advanced helicopter production facility in India," Mahindra and Mahindra Group President for Aerospace and Defence S P Shukla said in statement, PTI reported. 

The agreement was signed in the presence of President Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

President Francois Hollande will be the chief guest for India's Republic Day celebrations on 26 January, 2016. During the visit, he is expected to finalise the deal with India for the sale of 36 Rafale combat jets made by Dassault Aviation, ANI added.

The French embassy in India said in a statement that its regional economic department initiated talks to conclude agreements between Indian public sector company and nine French companies – Alstom Transport, CAN, Dassault, EDF Energies Nouvelles, Egis, Lumiplan, Pomagalski, Schneider Electric and Thales.

Bilateral trade between the two countries in 2014 was valued at â‚¬7.87 billion, up 11.16% from 2013. India's exports to France were valued at €5.18 billion whereas French exports to India totalled €2.69 billion, according to an external affairs ministry report.

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