We won’t lecture, but want to boost India’s strategic autonomy, says French ambassador
France has been the only country in the western world that has not criticised or urged India to take a similar stand to the US or Europe in the Russia-Ukraine war. Paris believes it can work more closely with New Delhi to “boost” its strategic autonomy and make India “more autonomous” in producing military equipment, according to Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India, Trend reports citing The Print.
In an exclusive interview to ThePrint, the French envoy said, France does not believe in giving “lectures” to India and understands the stand it has taken in the Russia-Ukraine war as a “close partner”. Lenain says Paris will work with New Delhi to get over some of the strategic “constraints” it is facing today.
“Our countries have their national position which is determined by our sovereign interest. We are not the kind of country that is going to lecture a close partner like India. We respect and we know that the stand it takes on such an important issue like this one has been determined through a process by outstanding professionals and given the country’s core interest,” Ambassador Lenain said referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this month.
The Ambassador said, “We want to move forward together and we want to do as much as we can in a positive manner and there’s a lot to do and that’s what was discussed in Paris … When you make your position you try to manoeuvre with your constraints. So one of our goals, in the long run, is also to do whatever you can to diminish your constraints, to boost your strategic autonomy.”
He added, “We want to be the partner with India to boost your strategic autonomy to make India more autonomous in producing the equipment it needs for its security, but it’s a long-term endeavour but we are totally committed to that.”
Lenain also stressed that Prime Minister Modi and President Macron are one of those few world leaders who have had their channels of communication opened with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as the war rages on.
“Our priority is to obtain the cessation of hostilities and to alleviate the plight of the population. PM Modi and President Macron are those few leaders who can really talk and were talking both to President Zelensky and President Putin,” he said, adding that the war has given rise to imbalances in food chains, and the risk of malnutrition and starvation.