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France Monitors Kashmir Rights: Macron to Modi

PARIS – France is preoccupied with “interests and rights of civilian populations” in Kashmir, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, as Indian closures on Kashmir approach the 19th day.
Frenchman Emmanuel Macron had a “frank” exchange with the Indian Narendra Modi about the tensions in the divided Kashmir on Thursday, saying that Paris would remain attentive to the rights of people living on both sides of the ceasefire line.
As tension mounted in the region hit by hot spots, the French president announced that he would hold a similar exchange with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in the coming days.
His remarks come after talks with the Indian Prime Minister at Chantilly Castle, just north of Paris.
On August 5, Indian Government put an end to the nominal autonomy of Indian occupied Kashmir, a Muslim-majority divided region enjoying special status in the Indian constitution since the country’s independence by Great Britain.
The move angered many Kashmiris who saw it as an annexation of the disputed territory and aroused tensions with Pakistan, which also claimed the region, prompting growing concern from the international community that violence was escalating between the two nuclear-armed powers.
Macron told Modi that it was incumbent on India and Pakistan “to avoid any deterioration on the ground that could escalate,” stressing the importance of resolving their differences bilaterally.
And he added that France “will remain attentive to ensuring that the interests and rights of the civilian population are duly taken into account in the territories on both sides of the cease-fire (Kashmir) line.”
French officials had previously said they would encourage Modi to explain how he saw the situation in the region over the next few days and weeks.
Since 5th August, the Indian authorities have imposed a severe ban on communications and heavy restrictions on movement in the Kashmir areas it controls, arresting at least 4,000 people and alarming more and more human rights violations.
UN experts warn of consequences
Earlier Thursday, UN human rights experts expressed concern over the “huge amount” of troops brought in to enforce the restrictions and the growing number of arrests of politicians, journalists, human rights defenders and protesters.
India is hostile to any outside interference in Kashmir and its Western allies have always avoided taking a public stand on the dispute, despite allegations of human rights violations in that country and multiple UN resolutions on the dispute.
Three years ago, India signed a multi-billion dollar contract for the purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft to France as part of an agreement reached during Modi’s first visit to Paris in 2015.
The meeting comes just two days before Macron welcomes world leaders at the Group of Seven (G7) summit to be held this weekend in the French seaside resort of Biarritz, including Donald Trump, Germany’s Angela Merkel and new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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