New Delhi [India], Jun 10 (ANI): France, which played a proactive role in the recent UN designation of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, on Monday said countries should address cyber security in the fight against terrorism.
French Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, who is here to do the groundwork for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit to his country for the G7 summit in August, also said that France supports India in the fight against terrorism and terror financing.
In an exclusive interview to ANI, he described Modi's visit as an "important moment" while touching on a wide range of issues of bilateral interests.
Commenting on the recent designation of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, the French Minister said, "The fight against terrorism is our priority. France stands alongside India in this fight and I think we must address different things - cybersecurity, for example, is crucial (so is) the fight against financing terrorism as I mentioned previously.
"It's an everyday fight and I can say that we (India-France) have a strong relation in that field."
India and France worked closely to get the Pakistan-based JeM chief designated, especially after the Pulwama terror attack which killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14. A JeM operative rammed into a CRPF convoy in an explosive-laden vehicle, leading to the death of the Indian personnel.
Following this dastardly attack, India launched extensive diplomatic efforts to get Azhar designated as a global terrorist, which finally became a reality on May 1 when China lifted its technical hold on a proposal introduced by the US, the UK, and France in the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council.
"France is very committed at an international level to fight against terrorism and financing terrorism...We also know that India is very committed and we're very happy about that. A conference will be held in Australia which will show how the Indo-Pacific area is crucial to fight against the financing of terrorism," the minister said when asked about the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) not being impressed with Pakistan's efforts in combating terror financing.
Speaking on Modi's upcoming visit to France, Lemoyne said "President Macron and Prime Minister Modi have a strong relationship personally and that is why he was very happy to invite Modi to join the G7 leaders meeting at the end of August. India could provide a very interesting experience for the work that will be done in terms of numeric. Modi's participation will be preceded by bilateral visit; that could be a very important moment in the relations."
He also spoke on the attempted break-in into Indian Air Force (IAF) Rafale Project Management Team in Paris last month.
"Investigation is going on, Indian authorities would be updated when new details would be provided to us," he said.
Unidentified persons broke into India's Rafale office in Paris last month in a possible espionage attempt to steal data related to the aircraft critical to India's national security plans.
The French Minister further stated that India will get its first Rafale fighter jet by September this year.
"The first Rafale jets will land in India in September and it will be a very tough signal of the effectiveness of this cooperation. Thirty-six Rafale (jets) will be delivered one by one. It's very good news for the cooperation between France and India," he added.
The French Minister was received by the MoS for External Affairs V Muraleedharan at New Delhi on June 10. The two leaders held a meeting regarding the further deepening of the Indo-French strategic partnership and its contribution to more stable and sustainable world governance, according to the Ambassador of France to India, Alexandre Ziegler.
Lemoyne also visited the Alliance Française de here on Monday to meet Indian alumni of top French Schools. (ANI)