Emmanuel Bonne, the diplomatic advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron, was on a two-day visit to India for the India-France Strategic Dialogue held on January 7.
During his visit, Bonne said that France had been supporting India at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) against China’s tactics of playing “procedural games“. Bonne, who had come to India for the annual strategic dialogue between the two countries, said on Thursday, “When China breaks the rules, we have to be very robust and very clear and this is the sense of our naval presence in the Indian Ocean”.
“On direct threats to India, we have always been very clear. Whether it be on Kashmir, we have been very supportive of India in the Security Council, we have not let the Chinese play any kind of procedural games. When it comes to the Himalayas just check our statements, we are perfectly clear. What we say publicly, we say to the Chinese also privately, there is no ambiguity”, he added.
Speaking on “France and India: Partners for a Stable and Prosperous Indo-Pacific” at an event organised by the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) said that France is close to the QUAD, comprising of the US, Japan, Australia and India” and that the country may hold some naval exercised with these countries in future. Regarding the French Navy’s patrols in the Taiwan Strait, Bonne said that it was not done as a provocation but to assert the necessity to follow the international law. French Navy is the only European Navy that patrols in the Taiwan Strait.
Bonne slammed Pakistan on the issue of terrorism and mentioned that France’s relations with Pakistan were at a ‘historic low’. “Let us not go for confrontation and I understand that it’s much easier to say this from Paris than from Delhi when you almost have a problem in the Himalayas and when you have Pakistan at your border”, said Bonne. He said that he talked with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval at the Strategic Dialogue about strategic opportunities as well as the bilateral defence, security relationship and military cooperation between the two countries. “In particular, we are sharing information, we are maneuvering together our navies, our air and space commandments are coordinating. We are building capacities and cooperating. When it comes to Indian Ocean, we are working on maritime surveillance”, he added.
Emmanuel Bonne is likely to call on other Indian dignitaries during his visit. The last edition of the strategic dialogue was held in February 2020 in Paris. The article was sourced from Times of India.