Wednesday, April 19, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

France too backs India for UN seat

PARIS, April 18 (PTI) — France has backed India’s candidature for a permanent UN Security Council seat, saying that it will give full meaning to “our common determination to contribute to the construction of a harmonious multipolar world.”

“India is naturally destined to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. France supports and will support your candidature,” French President Jacques Chirac said at a banquet hosted in honour of President K.R. Narayanan at Elysee Palace here yesterday. Mr Narayanan is on a five-day state visit to France, the first ever by an Indian head of state.

Mr Chirac said the perspective of India becoming a permanent member of the Security Council “gives full meaning to our common determination to contribute to the construction of a harmonious multipolar world.”

Stating that India is emerging as one of the foremost centres of power in the world, Mr Chirac said “The international balance of power needs a strong relationship between India and the European Union”, and added that “Let us work hand in hand for the success of the forthcoming summit between India and the European Union.”

The French leader said India could count on his country, which would be taking over the presidency of the European Union on July 1, to give full weight to this special relationship.

The French President, in his speech, did not mention the May 1998 Indian nuclear tests but said the two countries had been able to discuss each other’s respective concerns, notably with regard to non-proliferation “and as you know, for France this was an essential prerequisite for international security.”

Mr Chirac also skirted the issue of terrorism and described the Indo-French ties as a “political partnership”.

“We have institutionalised our cooperation over the past two years by establishing a regular strategic dialogue in a climate of trust on all the major issues,” he added.

Science and its industrial applications are among the priorities of the great partnership which the two countries have formed and “today our scientists are establishing new laboratories”, Mr Chirac said.

Meanwhile, President Narayanan said today that it was high time that an Indian cultural centre was established in Paris to coordinate and expand the variety of cultural activities that had been taking place here.

Before leaving for Toulouse, on the second leg of the five-day state visit to France, the President said Paris would always be remembered for what it meant in human history.

“Paris is more than a city. It is the soul of France and a paradigm of civilisational aspirations. Its vibrant spirit encased in its marvellous bridges, its great museums, and its captivating Gothic churches, are propelled by energy, he said.

Meanwhile, India today firmly ruled out formation of blocs or axis with Russia or China saying New Delhi was genuinely opposed to bloc mentality.

“India is keen on developing a healthy relationship with each and every country be it Russia, France or China because it believes in a multipolar world since each nation formulates its own strategic policy without being subject to a bloc policy”, President Naryanan told French intellectuals at a meeting here.

“India is a country where 1 billion people live in harmony and fundamentalist attitudes and dogmas will not succeed because the people are inherently opposed to it”, he said.

In the interaction with the intellectuals, Mr Narayanan dwelt on a wide range of issues varying from attacks on minorities to relevance of the non-alignment movement in the post-cold war era and the economic reforms taking place in India.

Mr Narayanan dispelled apprehensions that the recent attacks on religious minorities in India have led to disharmony among the people saying that “attempts to provoke the Indian people into religious disharmony has not succeeded and will not succeed”.

He said religious harmony continued to be a way of life in India and “whatever aberrations happen were an exception”.Back

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