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France's Macron Urges Modi To Respect Rights In Kashmir, Avoid 'Escalation'


French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met at the Chateau of Chantilly, near Paris, on August 22.

French President Emmanuel Macron has told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Paris is watching developments in Kashmir closely and urged him to respect the rights of people on both sides of the divided Himalayan region.

Macron's remarks came on August 22 after the French leader met with Modi at the chateau in Chantilly, just outside of Paris.

Macron said he planned to have a similar dialogue with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in the next few days.

Macron said he told Modi it was the responsibility of both India and Pakistan "to avoid any deterioration on the ground that could lead to an escalation."

He added that France would "remain attentive to ensure the interests and rights of the civilian populations are properly taken into account in the territories on both sides of the [Kashmir] cease-fire line."

Modi, speaking in Hindi, did not directly mention Kashmir, but he vowed to continue the fight against "radicalization" and added that India had gained France's "valuable support in fighting cross-border terrorism."

Tensions have risen since Hindu-led India on August 5 said it would strip the Muslim-majority region of its special status, which sparked resentment in Indian-administered Kashmir and across the border in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, as well as in Islamabad.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since they gained independence from Britain in 1947, but both sides claim the territory in its entirety.

More than 50,000 people have been killed in the part of Kashmir that India controls in the past three decades, and critics say New Delhi's latest actions will further isolate the region and encourage armed resistance.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP
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