In Call, PM Modi & French Prez Macron Discuss Bilateral Cooperation, Afghanistan

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Prime Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron, in a telephonic meeting on Tuesday, 21 September, discussed closer collaboration between India and France in the Indo-Pacific, and concurred upon the important role that the India-France partnership plays in promoting stability and security in the region.

"Spoke with my friend President Emmanuel Macron on the situation in Afghanistan. We also discussed closer collaboration with India and France in the Indo-Pacific. We place great value on our strategic partnership with France, including in the UNSC," PM Modi said in a tweet post the call.

The telephonic call comes at a time when France deals with the fallout from Australia's cancellation of a $40 billion French submarine order following the unveiling of the trilateral partnership AUKUS (Australia-US-UK) on Wednesday.

The move has been labelled as a "stab in the back" by French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Also Read: France Recalls Ambassadors to US, Australia Over Submarine Deal Row

What Was Discussed in the Call Between PM Modi and President Macron?

According to a press release issued by PM Modi's office, the two leaders discussed regional issues during their phone call, including recent developments in Afghanistan.

"In this context, they shared their concerns about possible spread of terrorism, narcotics, illicit weapons and human trafficking, as well as the need to ensure human rights, rights of women and minorities," the press statement said.

""The leaders agreed to maintain close and regular consultations, in the spirit of the India-France Strategic Partnership, which both countries cherish deeply."" - Prime Minister Modi's Office

As per a press release issued by the French president's office, the two leaders, during their telephonic meeting, "reaffirmed their shared commitment to act jointly in an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, including in the framework of the Europe-India relationship and European initiatives in the Indo-Pacific."

This approach aims to promote regional stability and the rule of law, while precluding any form of hegemony, the statement observed.

'France Committed to Strengthening India's Strategic Autonomy': President Macron

French President Macron, during his phone call with Prime Minister Modi, assured his Indian counterpart that bilateral cooperation between the countries, especially in the economic sphere, will be strengthened.

""The French Head of State reiterated France’s commitment to contributing to strengthening India’s strategic autonomy, including its industrial and technological base, as part of a close relationship based on mutual trust and respect between two strategic partners. Bilateral cooperation in all areas, particularly in the economic sphere, will be boosted."" - Office of Emmanuel Macron

Modi and Macron also expressed their concerns over the situation in Taliban-occupied Afghanistan, and agreed that authorities must severe their ties with international terrorism. They concurred that evacuations from Afghanistan should continue unhindered, and humanitarian organisations should be allowed to operate throughout the country.

According to the French president's office, the two leaders "will maintain regular discussions to coordinate ahead of upcoming events, in particular the G20 and the COP26 on climate change, and continue their joint actions against the pandemic. President Macron welcomed India’s decision to resume vaccine deliveries to COVAX."

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar is slated to hold a series of bilateral meetings, including one with France, and is expected to meet his French counterpart in New York on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden will also be meeting at the White House on 24 September next week for the Quad summit – their first in-person meeting.

Also Read: US-India Partnership: A Lot Rides on First Real Modi-Biden Meet at Quad Summit

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