In a major snub to China, France has come out in complete support of India, and has made no secret of the fact that in a choice between India and the paper dragon, the Macron administration of France will unapologetically side with the former. To the same effect, French President Macron’s top diplomatic advisor who is in India for talks has assured India of all help it will require not just at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), but also in taking on China. The adviser – Emmanuel Bonne also revealed that France’s ties with Pakistan are at a historic low, which effectively means that the country has dumped both China and Pakistan to partner with India.
The diplomatic visit of Emmanuel Bonne to India, and France’s reiterating of unflinching support to New Delhi’s fight against China comes in the backdrop of CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping working overtime to placate French President Emmanuel Macron. In fact, China’s desperation to please Macron can be gauged from the fact that its state media tabloids, particularly Global Times are pursuing a much softer line when reporting or opining on fresh French manoeuvres. This is in stark contrast to the Chinese line against countries like the U.S., U.K, Australia or India. Deep down, Xi Jinping still seems to believe that he can win-over Emmanuel Macron and seal a Sino-French friendship, especially as Macron replaces German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the face of the European Union.
However, much to China’s chagrin, Emmanuel Bonne Thursday said, “I mean the direct threats to India, we have always been very clear. Whether on Kashmir we have been very supportive of India in the Security Council, we have not let the Chinese play any kind of procedural games.” The statement by the French diplomat came in the backdrop of China and Pakistan together trying to rake the Kashmir bogey at the UNSC ever since the Modi government revoked Kashmir’s special status in August 2019.
On the issue of India and China being locked in a tense and escalating military standoff along the Himalayas, Bonne said, “Let us not go for confrontation and it’s much easier to say this from Paris, than from Delhi when you almost have a problem in the Himalayas and when you have Pakistan at your border…When it comes to the Himalayas, just check our statement we are perfectly clear. What we say publicly, we say to the Chinese also privately.”
France is hoping that with India assuming the two-year membership of the UNSC, the two countries will work overtime to secure the Indo-Pacific from China’s devious plans, and also combat radical Islamist terrorism together. Emmanuel Macron and Narendra Modi have of late come around as two leaders whose goals and ideologies bear sync, making India and France natural partners to take on the challenges of this decade.
Last month, TFI had reported how India had brought back the effectively dead Indian Ocean Rim Association to life with the inclusion of France as a permanent member to the grouping, further strengthening joint efforts by the two countries to limit Chinese expansionism and hooliganism in the region.
China, meanwhile, can do nothing more than be a mute spectator to the growing bonhomie between India and France. Xi Jinping was hoping to befriend Emmanuel Macron, who is most likely to emerge as the natural choice of the European Union to lead the intergovernmental bloc. As such, Macron would be a very powerful enemy which would not be a pleasant experience for China by a long shot. Like Angela Merkel is subservient to Xi Jinping, the CCP General Secretary was at least hopeful that Macron would be a friend of China, if not an outright poodle. However, all such dreams have now come crashing down for the Chinese as France sides with India on all counts.
With a regime change in the United States and a Biden administration expectedly not going as harsh on China as Trump did, India and France are stepping up efforts to collectively take on the challenges in the Indo-Pacific, while also astronomically enhancing cooperation in all other spheres.