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    French President describes Kashmir as bilateral issue in a boost for India

    Synopsis

    Macron reiterated the French position that the Kashmir issue should be resolved on a bilateral basis.

    ET Bureau
    PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron called on India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir crisis in a bilateral framework in what was a shot in the arm for India and snub for Pakistan’s demand to internationalize the issue.

    At the end of a meeting with PM Narendra Modi at the Château de Chantilly near Paris on Thursday, Macron noted that “France will remain attentive to ensuring that the interests and rights of the civilian population are duly taken into account in the territories on both sides of the Line of Control [between India and Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region]."

    Macron reiterated the French position that the Kashmir issue should be resolved on a bilateral basis. While Pakistan seeks multilateral negotiations to help resolve the crisis, India maintains it is a bilateral issue, which strengthens New Delhi’s position.

    "I recalled that it was up to India and Pakistan to resolve their dispute bilaterally," Macron added. "It is the responsibility of both parties to avoid any degradation on the ground likely to lead to escalation."

    Macron said that he would speak to Pakistan’s prime minister "in the coming days” and remind him of “France’s willingness to see this issue dealt with bilaterally".

    Modi made no mention of the Kashmir crisis in his statement.

    “The relationship between India and France is based on solid ideals of 'Liberty, Equality and Fraternity'. The two countries stand firm together to meet the challenges of climate change, environment, and technology inclusive development,” Modi said in his press remarks.

    “Both countries are constantly facing terrorism. We thank President Macron for the country's valuable support in combating cross-border terrorism. We intend to broaden cooperation on security and counter-terrorism,” the PM suggested.

    More than a year after their last summit, Macron and Modi met again Thursday ahead of the weekend’s G7 summit in Biarritz, to which Modi had been invited although India is not a formal member of the grouping.
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