By RFIPalled on 21-08-2019edited on 21-08-2019 at 20:00
Just before the start of the G7 summit in Biarritz, the French president chained bi-lateral meetings: after the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the head of the Greek government Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Emmanuel Macron will receive on Thursday evening the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the castle Chantilly (north of Paris), which is also invited to the summit of Biarritz. The Kashmir issue should animate the discussions.
" The exceptional friendship between the two countries " that Emmanuel Macron had praised during his state visit to India in March 2018 will be put to the test: in the sumptuous decor of the castle of Chantilly, the French president should discuss the situation explosive in Kashmir, disputed between India and Pakistan. In the Himalayan foothills, tensions remain high since New Delhi deprived the Indian sovereign party of its autonomy on August 5.
But while Washington has urged India to release some 4,000 detainees and restore freedoms, Paris does not intend to openly criticize India's grip on Kashmir. Emmanuel Macron should be content to ask for " explanations " to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said Paris, " we will recall our position that is to resolve the issue through dialogue ."
Out of the question to anger India, which France expects a lot economically: during an interview followed by a dinner, the French president will have the opportunity to discuss including the sale of 36 Rafales (still not delivered ) and the project of a nuclear power station in negotiation for a decade.
" We will probably have a declaration calling for regional peace, restraint between India and Pakistan, negotiation. All this is good diplomacy. It would be very surprising if Paris decided to take a truly critical position, predicts Jean-Luc Racine, researcher and specialist of India at CNRS. Finally, this bilateral meeting refers to all the Franco-Indian relations that are rather good, even if we are waiting for a number of old contracts to materialize - either the Rafale, which we are told the first will be delivered soon, or the nuclear power plants planned now ten years. And there are many things on the table since Emmanuel Macron's last visit to India. "
India is not part of the G7 but Emmanuel Macron wants to widen the circle of great powers to partners like India - despite American reluctance - which play a key role on global issues such as climate or digital. France hopes that India, one of the main emitters of greenhouse gases, will go further than the objectives of the Paris Agreement and will also commit to HFCs or endangered species, many of which are in the country.
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