Prime Minister Modi talks to Macron and extends his support to France against terrorism and extremism
French President Emmanuel Macron called Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday night to discuss a wide range of issues, including digital and strategic autonomy, deepening defense cooperation, the Indo-Pacific and the security environment. in Asia and Western Asia.
Prime Minister Modi conveyed to President Macron his condolences for the terrorist attacks in France and reiterated India’s full support for France in fighting terrorism, extremism and radicalism, the Prime Minister’s Office said. The leaders also discussed other bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest, including improving the affordability and accessibility of Covid-19 vaccines, post-Covid economic recovery, and climate change.
People familiar with the matter said it emerged that the two leaders decided to establish a direct line between the two leaders. The move comes in the context of France’s increased focus on the Indian Ocean and China’s aggressive stance in the region that prompted President Macron to appoint one of France’s top diplomats, Christophe Penot, as the first special envoy. from the country to the Indo-Pacific in October of this year.
But French President Macron has been vocal about countering China for much longer. Two years ago, he was one of the first to call for the construction of a strategic alliance between India, France and Australia that could respond to the challenges in the Asia-Pacific region and the growing assertiveness of China. This initiative had taken small steps in September when the main diplomats of the three countries had their first meeting via videoconference.
Like India, France believes in both strategic autonomy and plural democracy and is concerned about the Chinese movements in the South China Sea and the French territory stretching across dozens of islands in the South Pacific, New Caledonia, an official said.
The strategic partnership of India and France dates back to 1998; then it was the first in New Delhi. Over the next few decades, the two countries have established a strong institutional mechanism to deepen cooperation in space, the fight against terrorism, maritime security, as well as dialogues between defense chiefs and national security advisers.
National security adviser Ajit Doval had spoken with his French counterpart last month and the strategic dialogue between the two countries is expected to take place in January 2021.
The partnership between the two countries has particularly deepened in recent years, coinciding with Prime Minister Modi’s decision to purchase Rafale fighter jets. The two countries are also exploring joint manufacturing of fighter and auxiliary aircraft engines in India that can power India’s LCA Mark II with increased engine thrust.
The fact that Paris recently asked Qatar, which also bought the Rafale fighter jet, not to allow Pakistani-born technicians to work with the plane is indicative of the sensitivity France has shown towards Nueva’s safety concerns. Delhi, an official said.
New Delhi had reciprocated such gestures by French leaders in October this year when it issued a hard-worded statement condemning personal attacks on the French president from some Islamic countries such as Turkey and Pakistan for his stance on Islam and radicalism.