India and Pakistan should resolve the Kashmir issue bilaterally and no third party should “interfere or incite” violence in the region, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday after his marathon one-on-one talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The two leaders reviewed the entire gamut of the dynamic and multi-faceted bilateral relationship during their more than 90-minute long one-on-one meeting at Chateau de Chantilly, one of the finest jewels of French cultural heritage, located about 50 kms north of Paris.
The one-on-one interaction was followed by the delegation-level talks. After the talks, the two countries signed four MoUs. In a joint press statement after the talks, President Macron said that Prime Minister Modi briefed him about the recent decision taken by India on Jammu and Kashmir and that it is in their sovereignty.
“I told him that India and Pakistan will have to find a solution to the issue and no third party should interfere or incite violence in the region,” Macron said. He said that peace should be maintained in the region and peoples’ rights should be protected.
“I will also speak to Pakistan Prime Minister after a few days and tell him that the talks should be held bilaterally,” the French president said. He also said that France will deliver 1st of the 36 Rafale fighter jets to India next month.
Speaking after Macron, Prime Minister Modi said the relationship between India and France is not based on any selfishness, but on solid ideals of ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity’ He said India and France will expand cooperation in counter terrorism and security.
“Both our countries are constantly facing terrorism. We thank President Macron for the valuable support that France has received in combating cross-border terrorism. We intend to broaden cooperation on security and counter-terrorism,” Modi added. In a joint statement issued after the talks, the two leaders reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including cross-border terrorism and terror-related incidents in France and India.
“Both leaders reaffirmed that terrorism cannot be justified on any grounds whatsoever and it should not be associated with any religion, creed, nationality and ethnicity,” it said. Recalling the joint statement on terrorism adopted by the two countries in January 2016, the two leaders reaffirmed their strong determination to eliminate terrorism wherever it is to be found and urged the international community to strengthen the efforts to counter and prevent terrorist financing.
“Both the leaders agreed to work for early convening of the Global Conference, proposed by India, to tackle the threat of terrorism around the world,” the statement said.
Prime Minister Modi was accorded a red carpet welcome at the airport where he was received by Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian.