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Kashmir a bilateral issue: France to Pakistan

Modi is travelling to Paris for bilateral summit and subsequently as an invitee to Biarritz for the G-7 Summit.

, ET Bureau|
Aug 22, 2019, 08.11 AM IST
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When PM Modi meets French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday evening near Paris for their summit, the French government is expected to extend support to India on the Kashmir issue
NEW DELHI: France’s foreign minister has advised his Pakistani counterpart to address the Kashmir issue through dialogue with India, according to a statement from the French government on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Paris visit beginning Thursday.

ET has learnt that over the last two weeks France has been working behind the scenes to garner support for India at the UN Security Council on the Kashmir issue. For instance, it blocked China’s move at the UNSC when Beijing sought an open formal session on the Kashmir issue and pushed for a statement from the informal UNSC session at the behest of Pakistan.

“Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, on 20 August held discussions over the phone with his Pakistani counterpart, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi. The ministers raised the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Jean-Yves Le Drian recalled France’s constant position on Kashmir: it is up to the two countries, under the framework of their bilateral political dialogue, to resolve this dispute so as to establish lasting peace. France makes a call to the parties for restraint, de-escalation, and easing the situation,” the French government noted in a statement. “It is essential to abstain from any measure likely to aggravate tensions.”

Modi is travelling to Paris for bilateral summit and subsequently as an invitee to Biarritz for the G-7 Summit. When he meets French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday evening near Paris for their summit, the French government is expected to extend support to India on the Kashmir issue and cross-border terror in the backdrop of their widening strategic partnership. Earlier, at the UNSC following the Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir, France had garnered support for India’s demand that Masood Azhar should be declared as a global terrorist.

Meanwhile, sections of the Pakistani diaspora in Sweden have planned a demonstration in Stockholm on August 23. The Swedish government, except for tweets by the Swedish foreign minister, has not approached the Indian government on the issue yet. The minister commented that the population in Kashmir must be consulted on decisions that involves their future.

In Sweden, the Indian diaspora out numbers the Pakistani population by three times. Also, the Pakistani diaspora does not constitute a big constituency for local lawmakers, sources familiar with the issue told ET. An Indian minister will visit Europe in the near future for consultations in the backdrop of the recent developments, officials said.

In a separate development, in what is being seen as a shot in the arm for India, Bangladesh has said the decision on Article 370 is India’s internal matter. “Bangladesh maintains that the abrogation of Article 370 by the Indian government is an internal issue of India. Bangladesh has always advocated, as a matter of principle, that maintaining regional peace and stability, as well as development should be a priority for all countries,” according to a Bangladesh government statement.
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