India backs Emmanuel Macron, criticises personal attacks on French president

Macron has pledged to crack down on radical Islam in France after the October 16 beheading of Samuel Paty, a history professor who used controversial caricatures of Prophet Mohammed from the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in a class on freedom of expression
French President Emmanuel Macron.(REUTERS File)
French President Emmanuel Macron.(REUTERS File)
Published on Oct 29, 2020 04:32 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent | Edited by Zara Khan

India has deplored personal attacks by countries such as Turkey and Pakistan on French President Emmanuel Macron for his stance on radical Islam in the wake of the beheading of a teacher in Paris, and said that there can be no justification for terrorism.

Macron has pledged to crack down on radical Islam in France after the October 16 beheading of Samuel Paty, a history professor who used controversial caricatures of Prophet Mohammed from the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in a class on freedom of expression. The killing by a suspected terrorist triggered a heated debate on secularism and Islamophobia in France.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that Macron needs “some sort of mental treatment” for his attitude towards Muslims, while Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan accused the French president of encouraging Islamophobia.

Also Read: Foreign secretary Harsh Shringla to visit France, Germany and UK in November

Without naming any countries, the external affairs ministry said in a statement: “We strongly deplore the personal attacks in unacceptable language on President Emmanuel Macron in violation of the most basic standards of international discourse.”

The ministry condemned the “brutal terrorist attack that took the life of a French teacher in a gruesome manner that has shocked the world” and offered condolences to Paty’s family and the people of France.

“There is no justification for terrorism for any reason or under any circumstance,” the statement added.

French ambassador Emmanuel Lenain responded to the external affairs ministry’s statement in a tweet: “Thank you @MEAIndia. France and India can always count on each other in the fight against terrorism.”

The Indian statement came as foreign secretary Harsh Shringla began a two-day visit to France as part of a three-nation tour of Europe that will also take him to Germany and the UK. Shringla is set to interact with top French officials to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation in a wide range of areas, including security and defence, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

France has emerged as one of India’s strongest allies in Europe and has taken a strong position on security challenges facing the country, especially at the UN Security Council. It has consistently criticised cross-border terrorism targeting India and was also one of the first countries to offer support amid the border standoff with China and the killing of 20 Indian soldiers in a clash in June.

French defence minister Florence Parly expressed “deep solidarity” over the death of the Indian soldiers in a violent face-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and conveyed her country’s “steadfast and friendly support” in a letter sent to her Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh.

India’s support for Macron also comes at a time when New Delhi’s relations with Islamabad and Ankara are at a low. Pakistani and Turkish leaders have earned India’s ire by repeatedly raising the issue of Kashmir and treatment of minorities at international forums such as the UN.

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Monday, November 29, 2021