Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with French counterpart Florence Parly at the Annual Defence Dialogue between India and France in New Delhi in December 2021 (Photo: ANI)
India has requested France to speak to the European Union (EU) about imposing a ban on weapon sales to Pakistan. India reportedly made the request to France during Defence Minister Florence Parly's visit to India last month.
India has expressed its concerns to France about weapon sale to Pakistan by EU countries as such technologies can be easily transferred by Islamabad to China. India also mentioned the threat of terrorism and Pakistan's poor human rights record, for EU banning weapon sales to Pakistan, reports The Economic Times.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke with Parly last month expressing India's concerns. India also handed over evidence of the role of State and non-State actors in Pakistan. New Delhi highlighted the role that Pakistan has played in supporting terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
Lobbying with France helps the Indian cause as Paris currently holds the presidency of the EU.
New Delhi shared its concerns that European weapons with Pakistan run the risk of falling into the hands of Pakistan-based terrorists as Indian forces have often recovered foreign weapons from such terrorists operating in India.
With strategic partnership formed in 1998, relations between India and France are on an upswing owing to the commonality of interests in the Indo-Pacific region. The two share close defence and security ties with India procuring the Rafale fighters and France helping India design its submarines.
On the other hand, Pakistan's relations with France have been under strain with Pakistani radical parties indulging in violent protests seeking expulsion of the French ambassador in Islamabad. Extremist elements in Pakistan have clashed with the policy over cartoons in France depicting Prophet Mohammad in a blasphemous manner.
The hardline Islamist group, Tehrik-i-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), threatened French interests in Pakistan and asked for a boycott of French companies, following which the embassy asked its nationals to leave the country.
India's lobbying with France against weapon sales to Pakistan comes exactly when the EU is looking at the Afghan situation with dismay. The Europeans fear that terrorism may again emnate from Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, with Pakistan as one of its supporters.