France on Thursday pressed for “decisive action” against Pakistan-based terror groups like LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen which are “targeting” India and vowed to work with New Delhi to get terrorist Masood Azhar proscribed by the UN Security Council.
Without naming China which has blocked a proposal at the UNSC to sanction JeM chief Azhar, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said, “The international community’s determination to combat terrorism must be the same everywhere, regardless of the threat.”
On the cross-LoC surgical strikes carried out by India in September last year after an attack on Uri army camp, Ayrault said a country has a “right to defend itself” in the wake of such threats. “France has very firmly condemned the terrorist attacks against India, including the recent one in Uri, and reiterated its full solidarity with India in its combat against terrorism,” the French Minister, who was on a visit in New Delhi, told PTI in an interview.
Clearly referring to Pakistan without naming it, he emphasised that all countries should fight effectively against terrorism “originating from their territory or territories under their control”. “We particularly want to see decisive action taken, in keeping with international law, against terrorist groups targeting India, particularly the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen,” he said.
The French Minister, who was on a four-day visit to India primarily to attend the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, was asked about his views on the surgical strikes carried out by Indian Army in September last to target terror camps based across the LoC in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
“Nothing can justify terrorism, which must be fought everywhere with equal determination. When a country is faced with a terrorist threat of this nature, it has the right to defend itself,” he replied. With regard to China blocking sanctioning of Azhar, he said, “We regret that, despite our joint efforts and wide support from the Committee, unanimity could not be reached.”
He noted that Jaish-e-Mohammad is already included in the Committee’s list of terrorist organisations and “therefore, there are very strong arguments in favour of listing its chief, as India has requested”. That’s why France not only supported but also co-sponsored this request, he said.