France says it’s ready to back India on UN resolution against JeM chief Masood Azhar

Paris was ready to step up cooperation with New Delhi in order to get UN sanctions on terrorists and their outfits, French ambassador to India, Alexandre Ziegler said on Wednesday.

“Counter-terrorism is an area of major cooperation between the two countries. We were the co-sponsor of the resolution (to bring Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar in UN sanctions list). We are ready to engage with India on counter-terrorism and issues related to designation (of terrorists),” the envoy told HT in an interview.

India has continued to expand its diplomatic efforts in an attempt to get a global terrorist designation for Azhar and other Pakistan-based terrorists at the UN. However, many have questioned the efficacy of the move considering China, which has repeatedly blocked the bid to tag Azhar as a terrorist, is a veto-wielding member of the United Nations Security Council.

Ziegler added that India and France were keen on getting more countries to ratify the framework pact of International Solar Alliance, a grouping of countries who want to scale up the use of solar energy. So far, 15 nations have ratified the treaty of PM Narendra Modi’s pet project.

“We have been getting request from more countries requesting additional time to complete the internal process to ratify the treaty and be a part of the alliance. We expect many more countries to become a part of the alliance when the (French) President (Emmanuel Macron) comes here for discussions with Prime Minister Modi,” he said.

The 48-year-old envoy said the two countries also wanted to expand cooperation in the field of submarines, adding that one Scorpene submarine—designed by a French firm—was slated to be commissioned into the Indian Navy in December and the second one was undergoing sea test.

“There are four more in the pipeline. But we are looking beyond that. The submarine cooperation can be expanded under the Make in India initiative”, he said.

Highlighting the tie-up between India and France in the field of nuclear energy, Ziegler said the two sides were working to ensure that a contract between Nuclear Power Cooperation of India and French firm EDF to build reactors for the Jaitapur plant is inked at the earliest.

The EDF has submitted its proposal to build six EPR (European Pressurised Reactors) units, of 1650 MW capacity, in the plant.

By: HT

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