Macron assured PM Modi of continued “commitment to the strengthening of India’s strategic autonomy, including its industry and technology base, as part of a close relationship based on trust and mutual respect.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday vowed to “act jointly” in the Indo-Pacific region, the French presidency said, amid fallout with Australia and the US due to the AUKUS deal. During a telephonic conversation, Macron assured PM Modi of continued “commitment to the strengthening of India’s strategic autonomy, including its industry and technology base, as part of a close relationship based on trust and mutual respect.”
Macron’s office said that the shared approach of the two countries within the framework of the Euro-Indian relationship “aims to promote regional stability and the rule of law, while ruling out any form of hegemony.” It stated that bilateral cooperation will be further strengthened in all areas, particularly on the economic front. France also welcomed India’s decision to resume deliveries of vaccines to COVAX from next month.
The telephonic conversation was held days after the US, the UK, and Australia announced a defence deal under which America and Britain will provide Australia with the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines.
The new security pact, which is seen as an attempt to challenge China’s increased assertiveness in the region, was a major setback for France as it led to the cancellation of a $40 billion French submarine order from Australia. French called the deal a “stab in the back” and recalled its ambassadors from the United States and Australia.
PM Modi and Macron also expressed serious concerns over the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Both leaders shared concerns about the possible spread of terrorism, narcotics, illicit weapons and human trafficking in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
They stressed the need to allow humanitarian organisations to operate in Afghanistan and respect the fundamental rights of Afghans. They also agreed to coordinate ahead of multilateral summits such as G20 and COP26, the French presidency said.
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