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India

Updated on: Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 06:15 PM IST

PM Modi, French President Emmanuel Macron discuss Afghanistan crisis, co-operation in Indo-Pacific region

This comes as France deals with the fallout from Australia's cancellation of a $40 billion French submarine order.
PM Modi, French President Emmanuel Macron discuss Afghanistan crisis, co-operation in Indo-Pacific region | PTI Photo

PM Modi, French President Emmanuel Macron discuss Afghanistan crisis, co-operation in Indo-Pacific region | PTI Photo

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday discussed issues such as the crisis in Afghanistan and the co-operation in Indo-Pacific region over the phone, said a statement from Macron's office.

"French President Emmanuel Macron & PM Modi held talks over phone. They agreed to act jointly and with Europe in Indo Pacific, to keep the region stable & free of hegemony. France reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening India's strategic autonomy," said Ambassador of France to India.

"The two leaders also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and agreed to coordinate ahead of multilateral summits such as G20 and COP26. Prez Emmanuel Macron warmly welcomed India's decision to resume vaccine exports to COVAX," he added.

This comes as France deals with the fallout from Australia's cancellation of a $40 billion French submarine order.

For the unversed, Australia said last week that it would scrap an earlier 2016 deal with France's Naval Group to build a fleet of conventional submarines, and would instead build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with US and British technology after striking a trilateral security partnership.

France said it was informed of the pact only hours before the public announcement, calling it a stab in the back. It also recalled its ambassadors from the United States and Australia as a sign of protest. "We want explanations," French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Australia defended its decision to scrap the multi-billion dollar submarine purchase. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected accusations that Australia had lied, saying France should have been aware it was prepared to break the deal, reported BBC.

Morrison said he understood France's disappointment, but that he had always been clear about Australia's position. The French government "would have had every reason to know that we had deep and grave concerns", he said. "Ultimately this was a decision about whether the submarines that were being built, at great cost to the Australian taxpayer, were going to be able to do a job that we needed it to do when they went into service and our strategic judgement based on the best possible of intelligence and defence advice was that it would not," Morrison said.

Now, United States President Joe Biden has requested a phone call with Macron over the deal, which would happen “in the coming days”, said French government spokesman Gabriel Attal, reported France24. “We want explanations,” Attal said. adding that the US had to answer for “what looks a lot like a major breach of trust”.

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Published on: Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 05:08 PM IST
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