France’s Emmanuel Macron had a “frank” exchange with India’s Narendra Modi about tensions in divided Kashmir on Thursday, telling him Paris would remain attentive to the rights of people living both sides of the ceasefire line.
As tensions soared in the flashpoint region, the French president said he would also have a similar exchange with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan in the coming days.
His remarks came after talks with the Indian premier at the chateau in Chantilly, just north of Paris.
On August 5, Modi’s Hindu nationalist government scrapped the autonomy of Indian-controlled Kashmir, a divided Muslim-majority region that has enjoyed special status in the Indian constitution since the country’s independence from Britain in 1947.
Macron said he told Modi it was the responsibility of both India and Pakistan “to avoid any deterioration on the ground which could lead to an escalation”, noting the importance of resolving their differences bilaterally.
And he said France would “remain attentive to ensure the interests and rights of the civilian populations are properly taken into account in the territories on both sides of the (Kashmir) ceasefire line”.