France joined India on Monday in demanding Pakistan bring to justice the perpetrators of the Pathankot airbase and the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks even as the Indian president said that dialogue can bridge disagreements but not under a ‘shower of bullets’.
The call came as French President Francois Hollande met Indian PM Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Monday. Hollande is in India to attend the 67th Republic Day ceremony on January 26 (today) – just as US President Barack Obama had visited India last year.
“Condemning the recent terror attacks in Pathankot and Gurdaspur in India, the two countries reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring to justice their perpetrators and the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which also caused the demise of two French citizens, and to ensure that such attacks do not recur in the future,” read their joint statement on terrorism.
At a press event, Modi said that the two were of the view that the “global community needs to act decisively against those who provide safe havens to terrorists, who nurture them through finances, training and infrastructure support.”
Their joint statement went on to call for action against state sponsorship of terrorism. “Prime Minister Modi and President Hollande underlined the need for all countries to effectively deal with terrorism emanating from their territory or territories under their control. They called for actions to be taken, consistent with international law, against all entities, including States, that sponsor, provide support, active or passive, to terrorist groups or harbour them.”
Hollande said that “odious provocations [terrorist attacks] only serve to further increase the resolve” that they had as the two countries agreed to step up cooperation on counter-terrorism.
France has been rocked by a series of terrorist attacks during 2015 which started with an attack on magazine Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead, followed by an attack on a supermarket that left five others dead. Subsequently in November, Paris was rocked by a series of gun and bomb attacks that left 130 people dead – the attack was claimed by the Middle Eastern extremist group Islamic State, also known by its Arabic acronym Da’ish.
India has been struck by a series of terrorist attacks, most recently an attack on an airbase in Pathankot, Indian Punjab, that killed at least five officials.
They reaffirmed their commitment to the key principles of a peaceful inter-Afghan dialogue: acceptance of the Afghan Constitution, renunciation of violence and severing links with terrorism.
Indian president’s speech
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee also addressed terrorism in his annual speech on the eve of India’s republic day.
“This is war beyond any doctrine, a cancer which must be operated out with a firm scalpel. There is no good or bad terrorism; it is pure evil.”
Without naming Pakistan, he referred to talks with Islamabad, emphasising its importance in resolving issues.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2016.