France says India’s J&K move within its sovereign right

France says India’s J&K move within its sovereign right

Briefed by Modi, French Prez says India, Pakistan should resolve issue bilaterally without interference by any third party

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (AFP Photo)

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi briefed him about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K); French President Emmanuel Macron endorsed New Delhi’s view that India’s recent decisions on its northernmost state had been well within its sovereign rights.

Macron echoed India’s stand after a meeting with Modi and said that he would soon call Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to convey to him that talks on J&K and other outstanding issues between the two South Asian neighbours should happen between New Delhi and Islamabad only, without any interference by any third party.

“Prime Minister told me everything about the situation in Kashmir. I told him that Pakistan and India would have to find a solution together and no third party should interfere or incite violence,” Macron said after a meeting with Modi at Château de Chantilly – a historic 19th century palace in the outskirts of Paris late on Thursday.

The comment by French President came at a time when Pakistan and China had launched a campaign to internationalize the issue of J&K after New Delhi’s recent decision to strip the state of its “special status” and to reorganize the state into two Union Territories. United States President Donald Trump too recently reiterated his keenness to mediate between India and Pakistan to diffuse the “explosive situation” in Kashmir. France’s support has come as a shot in the arm for Modi Government, which has been resisting US move to meddle in what New Delhi sees as a “bilateral” issue between India and Pakistan.

“It is important that peace is maintained there (J&K). We would always want peace & dialogue. I will talk to Pakistan PM as well after a few days and tell him that the talks should only be held bilaterally,” Macron said as he and Modi addressed media-persons jointly.

France had last week also opposed attempts by China and Pakistan to bring the issue of J&K back on the formal agenda of the United Nations Security Council.

Modi had the meeting with Macron at Château de Chantilly shortly after landing at Charles de Gaulle airport for an official visit to France. Sending out a message to Pakistan, Prime Minister and French President called upon all countries to work together for rooting out terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their financing channels, and halting cross-border movement of terrorists belonging to Al Qaeda, Daesh or Islamic State, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and their affiliates as well as other terrorist groups threatening peace and security in South Asia and the Sahel region of Africa.

“We have received valuable support from French Government in our fight against cross-border terrorism,” Modi said, thanking Macron. The two leaders reaffirmed that terrorism could “not be justified on any grounds whatsoever and it should not be associated with any religion, creed, nationality and ethnicity”, according to a joint statement issued after the meeting.

France had played a key role at the UNSC earlier this year to impose sanctions on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) leader Masood Azhar, who is based in Pakistan and orchestrated several terror attacks in India, including the February 14 suicide bombing killing over 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel at Pulwama in Kashmir.

Prime Minister and French President on Thursday agreed to step up cooperation to counter radicalization of youths by terrorist organizations, particularly on Internet.

They called upon all UN member countries to implement the UNSC Resolution 2462 on Fighting Terrorist Financing adopted on March 28 last. They welcomed the move to hold a new an international conference on the theme of “No Money for Terror” in Melbourne on November 7 and 8 in order to add momentum to the fight against terror financing.  The conference would build on the April 2018 conclave organized in Paris by the French Government. Prime Minister and French President agreed to work for early convening of the global conference, which New Delhi proposed for discussion on ways to deal with the menace of terrorism around the world.

Modi and Macron reaffirmed support for implementation of the Christchurch Call to Action to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist online content adopted in Paris on May 15 last. They agreed to strengthen counter-terrorism efforts in multilateral forums called upon all UN member countries to implement the UNSC Resolution 1267 and other relevant resolutions designating terrorist entities. They also agreed to work together on early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN, according to the joint statement.