Throwing its weight behind India, France today said it will ensure that the proposal to designate Pakistan-based JeM Chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist is “reintroduced” at the Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.
The strong assertion was made by Jacques Audibert, Diplomatic Adviser to French President Francois Hollande, weeks after China blocked India’s move to get the Pathankot attack mastermind banned by the UN. He also exuded confidence on India becoming member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) notwithstanding stiff opposition by China on admitting India into the 48-nation grouping.
“We will make sure that demand is reintroduced. We are still hopeful that the UN will designate him (Azhar) as a terrorist soon,” Audibert told reporters on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue when asked about the Azhar issue. India has already initiated preliminary discussions with several member countries of the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council on once again brining back the proposal to ban Azhar. France is a member of the Sanctions Committee and has been strongly supporting India on the issue.
On India’s NSG bid, Audibert said France supports New Delhi’s membership as its entry into the grouping will improve non-proliferation regime. “We have been supporting India’s NSG bid because India is providing necessary guarantee. India’s membership of NSG will improve the non-proliferation regime,” he said. Asked about the Scorpene submarine deal with India, Audibert said he did not think the alleged leak of some secret documents has compromised the project.
Earlier, speaking at the Raisina Dialogue, he made a veiled reference to China on the South China Sea dispute, saying freedom of navigation and law of the sea needs to be defended by all the states.
“India and France act together to improve stability in the region through their cooperation in maritime security,” he said. He also spoke about right of any country to defend itself against a threat of terrorism.