India, France share concerns on China

NEW DELHI : The withdrawal of Indian and Chinese troops at patrol point (PP) -15 along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh has resulted in “one less problem at the border”, Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar said on Wednesday.

Jaishankar’s remarks, delivered at a joint media interaction with her French counterpart Catherine Colonna, came a day ahead of Indian and Chinese leaders’ attendance at the Summit of the United States. Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. To be sure, there is no official word yet on a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the summit.

Colonna said the situation in the Indo-Pacific and “many challenges presented by China” were envisioned in her discussions with Jaishankar. and we want to make sure that there is no imbalance in the Indo-Pacific,” she said, speaking in French.

Referring to the withdrawal of Indian and Chinese troops at PP-15 in the Hot Springs area, Jaishankar said: “I don’t think I will say anything new today, except I realize that we do. withdrew troops at PP-15. As I understand it, the disengagement is complete. And that’s less of an issue at the border. “

The two sides completed the pullback at PP-15 on September 12. Indian officials have described the pullout at this point of conflict as a “positive development” but said the two sides needed continue negotiations to resolve the remaining points of conflict in the LAC.

In response to a question about China blocking efforts by India and its partners to punish Pakistan-based terrorists at the United Nations Security Council, Jaishankar said India and France had agreed on this issue for many years. “I think the list of terrorists was made because terrorists are a threat to the entire international community. So this is not something that states necessarily have to do to pursue a narrow national agenda. If someone were to block a list, especially in cases where the benefits of going ahead are obvious, I think they frankly would jeopardize their own interests and the reputation of others. themselves,” he said.

Colonna highlighted France’s interests in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and said France and India would continue to support each other to ensure a “balance of power” in the region. This will also allow both countries to develop their own strategic autonomy to ensure, she said, peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and elsewhere.

“Of course, we need to do more with India and with other partners to make us more present [in the Indo-Pacific,” Colonna said. “We want to be more active so that we can present an alternative to the countries in the Pacific, whether it is in development, culture or any other areas.”

France has stepped up its engagement in the Indo-Pacific as the region is home to some 1.5 million French citizens on its island territories and 93% of its exclusive economic zone.

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