Paris, Aug 23: France on Thursday endorsed the Modi government's categorical assertion that Kashmir dispute could be resolved by India and Pakistan bilaterally giving a sort of vital moral booster to Prime Minister Narendra Modi just a few days ahead of the G-7 Summit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron held more than 90-minute one-on-one meeting at the historic Château de Chantilly and reviewed the entire gamut of the dynamic and multifaceted relationship and discussed possible measures to further boost the strategic partnership. Both the leaders also spoke about supply of Rafale combat aircraft.
Stage is set for India to receive the first of the 36 Rafale fighter in September. The procurement of Rafale combat jets became a major election issue in India earlier this year but the people seemed to have ignored Congress campaign as voters were not impressed by its leader Rahul Gandhi's campaign that there was alleged corruption in the deal. Prior to the formal bilateral talks, PM Modi also has said that the talks between two sides will add to the ground covered during previous interactions with the French leadership.
"Prime Minister Modi told me everything about Kashmir and the situation in J&K during our talks. I said Pakistan and India will have to find a solution together and no third party should interfere or incite violence in the region," French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters after holding bilateral talks with PM Modi. "Mr Modi told me about the recent decision taken by India and that it is in their sovereignty," President Macron said. In his remarks, PM Modi thanked President Macron and said that France has always stood by India in its crusade against cross border terrorism.
Mr Macron's remarks are certainly setback for Pakistan and especially Prime Minister Imran Khan who has been desperately trying to internationalise Kashmir issue - especially after the Modi government abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated the state of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5. Recently, Prime Minister Modi held tele talks with the US President Donald Trump and flayed Imran Khan without naming him. Modi told the US President - "that extreme rhetoric and incitement to anti-India violence by certain leaders in the region was not conducive to peace".
Lately President Trump has expressed desire to mediate at talks between India and Pakistan on Kashmir - an offer that has been rejected by India firmly. Prior to his travel in Delhi, PM Modi had said: "India and France have excellent bilateral ties, which are reinforced by a shared vision to cooperate for further enhancing peace and prosperity for our two countries and the world at large". France has been backing India in major international fora vis-a-vis Pakistan and Kashmir situation. French President Macron's regime backed India post-Pulwama terror strike when India insisted that terrorists such as Maulana Masood Azhar should be named by the United Nations.
Lately after abrogation of Article 370 as Pakistan sought UNSC censure against India, France was one key strategic partner who stood by India and ultimately led to yet another round of embarrassment for Pakistani leadership. PM Modi will be traveling to Gulf - UAE and Bahrain on Friday and would be again back in France for the G-7 Summit that would be held on August 25 and 26 at Biarritz. During the Summit, Prime Minister is expected to speak in Sessions on Environment, Climate, Oceans and Digital Transformation. On the sidelines, Prime Minister is expected to have bilateral meetings with leaders of other countries.UNI