As a letter to Consulate General of France in Bengaluru ahead of French President Francois Hollande’s visit to India renewed focus on the threat terrorism poses to both the nations, New Delhi and Paris are set to announce new measures for bilateral cooperation in combating the menace.
Terrorism will be high on the agenda when Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet in New Delhi on Monday.
“Highlight will be terrorism in view of the situation we are in at present – military operations in Syria, Iraq and in Africa, as well as situation in India,” France’s ambassador to India, Francois Richier, said on Friday. He was briefing journalists on the French president’s upcoming visit.
The letter to Consulate General was printed on a paper that had on the background a map of India and a picture of slain Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. It stated that French President should not visit India.
“I think it is sad that it has leaked. We are looking into this,” Paris’s envoy to New Delhi said on Thursday. “We receive plenty of them. Generally, it is to create disorder, to raise the attention of the media. They have never proved to be true threats,” added Richier.
Ever since at least 129 people were killed in a series of coordinated attacks by the Islamic State terrorists in and around Paris on November 13, 2015, France and India have been exploring ways to augment bilateral cooperation to fight terror.
Richier said that both France and India were committed to defend common interests and values against the menace of terrorism.
“This is an occasion not only to remind everybody but to pull certain number of steps in this direction of combating terrorism and this will be high on the agenda (of Hollande-Modi meeting),” he said.
French Air Force stepped up strikes on Islamic State facilities in Syria in response to the terror attacks in Paris.
India and France already have very strong security cooperation and both nations are keen to support endeavours to strengthen international frameworks to forge closer cooperation to dismantle terrorist infrastructure, deny safe havens to terrorists and to bring perpetrators of attacks and conspirators to justice, officials said in New Delhi.
During Modi’s visit to Paris in April 2015, he and Hollande agreed to step up bilateral cooperation within the framework of the Joint Working Group, focussing more on sharing of information and intelligence sharing on terror networks and work together to share experiences on dealing with the growing phenomenon of radicalisation.