France announced Thursday that under its presidency of the European Union, it will host a ministerial meeting devoted to the Indo-Pacific on February 22, and invited India to participate.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced this during an online chat and invited Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, who also participated in the event titled “The French Presidency: EU-India partnership in the Indo-Pacific”.
Le Drian said this will be the first time the EU Council Presidency will hold an event focusing on EU-Indo-Pacific relations.
This Indo-Pacific meeting will be held on February 22 and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles will be in Paris for it, he said.
Le Drian hoped that Jaishankar and other partners would participate in the event and contribute to peace and stability in the region.
“What I hope is that this Paris Forum will make it possible to concretize the principles that we share in terms of the rule of law, harmonious relations and post-Covid recovery”, he declared. Le Drian said security and defence, connectivity and digital issues and global challenges will be on the agenda of the Indo-Pacific ministerial meeting in Paris.
The French foreign minister said that India plays a key role in the Indo-Pacific.
In his remarks, Jaishankar said the French plane flying in the finale of the Republic Day parade was a visible example of the strategic ties between India and France.
Affirming that France has a resident presence in the Indo-Pacific, Jaishankar called for strengthening the India-France partnership and said it is timely to focus it on the Indo-Pacific.
“I welcome the invitation to the EU Ministerial Forum hosted by France next month and it will be an honor to participate,” he said.
Jaishankar further said that it is time to take the Indo-French relations to the next level. Le Drian also said that the tensions in Ukraine will not prevent the EU from pursuing the Indo-Pacific strategy.
Talking about Russia, he said “we believe that Russia is in Europe” and it is up to Russia to be not a power of imbalance but a power of stability.
Regarding the inclusion of more members in the Quad, Jaishankar said, “So far, we haven’t really discussed the engagement of the Quad with other countries… Honestly, I don’t know what is the point of view of the other three (members).” PTI REQUEST REQUEST DIV DIV
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