Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss tensions in Kashmir with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the two meet in Paris this week, a French official said on Tuesday.
The two leaders are set to sit down for a working dinner at the Chateau de Chantilly outside Paris on Thursday ahead of a G7 summit in France this weekend, to which Modi has been invited. "Of course it (Kashmir) will be on the agenda," the French diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
"We have a strategic partnership with India, that means having confidence in each other. We are not going to be aggressive towards India, but we expect the Indian prime minister to explain how he sees things." On August 5, Modi's 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 in 1947. The move has angered many Kashmiris and led to tensions with nuclear-armed neighbour Pakistan, which also claims the region.
India resents any outside interference in Kashmir and its Western allies have historically avoided taking public positions on the dispute, despite allegations of human rights abuses there. The French diplomat recalled France's position that Pakistan and India should resolve their differences between themselves and that both sides should avoid raising tensions.
Modi has been invited to this weekend's Group of Seven meeting of major economic powers in Biarritz and is seen by France as a crucial ally in the fight against climate change. Macron is hoping the newly re-elected Indian leader will announce new pledges to curb Indian carbon emissions and will also sign up to a coalition of countries to tackle pollution from so-called HFC gases used in refrigerators and air-conditioning.