France assures India of support against China

New Delhi, Sep 14 (EFE).- French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, on an official visit to India, reaffirmed Wednesday her government’s support for India in the face of challenges posed by China in the Indo-Pacific region.

Colonna underlined that this support will not be affected by the divergent positions of the two nations in response to the war in Ukraine.

“We have spoken a lot about the general situation in the Indo-Pacific, and many challenges that have emerged because of China. We have the same analysis, and we also share the same concerns because we know the kind of role the Chinese are playing,” Colonna said in a joint press conference with her Indian counterpart, S. Jaishankar.

Paris’ strong support for New Delhi was expressed by the minister after a working meeting with Jaishankar, during her first official visit to India.

“Want to make sure that there’s no imbalance in the Indo-Pacific nor are we looking for any imbalance of power elsewhere in the world,” she added, underlining the importance of stability in the region.

Relations between China and India have deteriorated over the last two years following a border clash on the western Himalayan border.

The clash was the worst in 45 years between the two nuclear powers, in which at least 20 Indian soldiers died, and caused a large scale military escalation on the border shared by the nuclear powers.

After a year of high-level negotiations, “we have had disengagement at PP15 (Patrol Point 15). The disengagement, as I understand, was completed and that is one problem less on the border,” said Jaishankar when asked about the situation with China.

In her speech, the French diplomatic head underlined that India was the first country she officially visited in Asia as a sign of the importance of the relationship between the two nations.

Although France and India have taken different positions on the conflict in Ukraine, and relations with Russia, the foreign ministers clarified that this has not changed the nature of their relationship.

India remains neutral in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, despite Western allies’ call to oppose it.

Instead, amid the crisis, New Delhi has decided to increase the purchase of fuel that Moscow has been selling at a discount.

Colonna’s visit comes after a meeting in Paris between French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May, in which they discussed measures to reduce India’s energy dependence on Russia.

“There is a difference in the way we look at it, but we know our histories, and we know of India’s relationship with Russia but that has not prevent us to have the same analysis of cooperation,” said the French minister referring to the long relationship between Moscow and New Delhi.

The ties between the two countries even stretches to the field of defense with India being heavily dependent on Russia for weapons.

Even so, the foreign ministers Tuesday reaffirmed their point of agreement on this matter and the importance of leading the parties to resume dialogue.

Both parties “have the same analysis of cooperation, what we can do with some of the consequences and what we need to say to the Russian president, this conflict has to come to an end,” she said. EFE


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