New Delhi: France has said it “continues to follow” the situation in Kashmir “closely”, adding that French President Emmanuel Macron “discussed the situation in Kashmir” in a phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last Friday.
“In the spirit of trust and frankness that characterises their relations, the French President and the Indian Prime Minister discussed the situation in the region of Kashmir, which France continues to follow closely,” France said.
The statement was released by the French Embassy in New Delhi on Monday, although it was issued from Paris last Friday.
France also said the two leaders had discussed the need for de-escalation in the Middle-East, a reference to the US-Iran military tensions.
Interestingly, the statement on the phone call that was issued by New Delhi last Friday had made no direct reference to the two leaders discussing Kashmir.
New Delhi only said “that the two leaders exchanged views on a range of issues of mutual interest in bilateral relations as well as regional and global situations”.
France has close strategic ties with India, is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and is also a member of the European Union.
It may be recalled that the absence of the ambassadors belonging to member-nations of the European Union (EU) from the foreign envoys’ delegation that visited J&K last Thursday and Friday raised eyebrows.
In response to certain media reports that claimed that the EU envoys did not want to be part of a “guided tour”, the ministry of external Affairs had said last Thursday this was factually incorrect.
The MEA said the EU envoys wanted to visit J&K as a single group and that it wanted the group visiting on Thursday to include envoys from several regions in the world. It indicated that the EU envoys could be taken separately as a single group to J&K at a later date.
In a statement issued from Paris, France said, “The President of the French Republic and the Prime Minister of India expressed their shared view on the necessity of de-escalation in the Middle-East. They agreed to work together towards easing tensions.”...