France watching Kashmir rights, Macron tells Modi

 French president, France, Kashmir, Imran Khan, Pakistan, India,Macron, Modi

Chantilly - The French president said he would also have a similar exchange with Imran Khan in the coming days.


Published: Fri 23 Aug 2019, 6:38 AM

Last updated: Fri 23 Aug 2019, 2:36 PM

France's Emmanuel Macron had a "frank" exchange with India's Narendra Modi about tensions in Kashmir on Thursday, telling him Paris would remain attentive to the rights of people living both sides of the ceasefire line.
As tensions soared in the region, the French president said he would also have a similar exchange with Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan in the coming days.
His remarks came after talks with the Indian premier at the chateau in Chantilly, just north of Paris.
On August 5, Indian government scrapped the autonomy of Kashmir, the region that has enjoyed special status in the constitution since the country's independence from Britain in 1947.
Macron said he told Modi it was the responsibility of both India and Pakistan "to avoid any deterioration on the ground which could lead to an escalation", noting the importance of resolving their differences bilaterally.
And he said France would "remain attentive to ensure the interests and rights of the civilian populations are properly taken into account in the territories on both sides of the (Kashmir) ceasefire line".
French officials had earlier said they would push Modi to explain how he saw things playing out in the region in the coming days and weeks.
Speaking in Hindi, Modi made no direct remarks on Kashmir but pledged to continue the fight against "radicalisation", saying India had gained France's "valuable support in fighting cross-border terrorism".
He hailed defence cooperation as an "important pillar" of the relationship with France, saying India would take its first delivery of French fighter jets next month.
Three years ago, India signed a multi-billion dollar deal to purchase 36 Rafale jets from France in an agreement which was settled during Modi's first visit to Paris in 2015.
The meeting comes just two days before Macron hosts world leaders at this weekend's Group of Seven (G7) summit in the French resort of Biarritz, among them Donald Trump, Germany's Angela Merkel and Britain's new prime minister Boris Johnson.
Modi will also attend the three-day summit, which begins on Saturday.

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