India, France to expand counter-terror cooperation, focus on success of COP 21

Laurent-Fabius

A week after the horrific Paris terror attacks, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will be in India on a two-day visit (starting November 20) to discuss ways to expand counter-terror cooperation and to enlist New Delhi’s support for the success of the global climate summit.

The foreign minister’s agenda in New Delhi will focus on issues relating to COP21, which is expected to generate an ambitious and comprehensive global deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions. In this context, Mr Fabius will meet Minister of State for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar and Minister of State for New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal.

India is expected to update the visiting French minister on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to launch an international solar alliance during the COP21 Paris. Mr Modi will attend the leaders’ segment of the COP21 on November 30-December 11.

India has consistently reiterated its position that any global climate deal should be based on the cardinal principle of common but differentiated responsibility of developed and developing countries, and has stressed on a comprehensive and balanced deal that reckon into account the imperatives of adaptation, mitigation and climate finance.

Mr Fabius’ visit is primarily meant to focus on the global climate deal, but the cold-hearted massacre of Parisians on November 13 has lent a different complexion to his visit to India, with counter-terror cooperation zooming on top of the agenda. In his talks with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Mr Fabius is expected to provide a first-hand account of the Paris terror attacks, for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

Ahead of Mr Fabius’ visit, Vikas Swarup, the spokesperson of India’s external affairs ministry, said that upgrading counter-terror cooperation will be high on the agenda. “Insofar as France is concerned, we have robust security cooperation with France. France is a longstanding and trusted strategic partner of India. And during the visit of Mr. Fabius I am sure there will be discussions on this latest attack in Paris and how India and France can further step up their mutual cooperation in the area of combating terrorism,” said Mr Swarup in New Delhi on November 19.    

 The visit by Mr Fabius is the first trip by a senior French minister to India since the ghastly attacks in Paris that killed more than 100 people and injured hundreds on November 13. India and    France will also be holding their Joint Working Group meeting soon on terror and intelligence   sharing.

Mr Fabius and Ms Swaraj will discuss response against the IS and explore new avenues of security cooperation during the course of their meeting. India and  France have a robust security partnership.  The National Security Advisors of India and France     may meet in Paris on the sidelines of COP-21. The two countries are also likely discuss the   issue of deradicalisation amid successful attempts by youth from both countries to get inspiration from propaganda video and online materials released by the IS.

With India pushing for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in various international fora, the Paris terror attacks may goad the international community to consider adoption of a strong global convention to combat global terror, with added urgency and gravitas.

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