Must counter terror with cooperation: French envoy

French special intervention police conduct a houseto-house search in Longpont, northeast of Paris, onThursday.

French special intervention police conduct a houseto-house search in Longpont, northeast of Paris, onThursday.  

France, India will share info about Charlie Hebdo attack

France will share information with India on the terror attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, as it is important to counter terrorism with cooperation, says France’s Ambassador to India Francois Richier. “We have already shared information on this attack, although our security agencies are still trying to track the perpetrators. We will definitely share the methods the terrorists used and the way the attack was carried out, with Indian authorities because all this information is useful for our allies around the world.” Mr. Richier told The Hindu.

He said the French government had been tracking the Charlie Hebdo attackers for some time, and believed they were part of a “radical group,” but not members of Islamic State (IS).

However, he said the “sizeable numbers” of French and European nationals going to fight in the IS was a “growing concern,” and might have proven as an “inspiration” for the attack.

Last week, the European Union’s counterterrorism chief had said an estimated 3,000 Europeans were now fighting in the IS, and a video released by the terror group targeting France specifically had raised concerns.

Sources told The Hindu that Indian and French security officials had discussed sharing lists of those suspected to have joined the IS, although the numbers in India were estimated to be much fewer, nearly 15.

Asked if incidents reported in Paris, Lyon and other towns of attacks on mosques caused worries of a backlash, Mr. Richier said, “It is not established yet that these incidents are related to the terrorist attack. I hope they aren’t.” However, he said it would be unfortunate if they were, adding, “We have to punish the perpetrators but we shall not act like these terrorists did in harming innocent people.”

The French embassy in Delhi received condolence messages from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. “Like the rest of the world, we are shocked,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

Ambassador Richier met diplomats, French nationals and others who came to the embassy for a moment of silence timed with a similar observance in other capitals around the world, and at a special service in Paris at 1030 GMT. “This could have happened anywhere, in India, in Europe, in the U.S., so it is clearly a message of solidarity, to cooperate together against terrorism,” he said.

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Printable version | May 21, 2020 1:51:33 PM |

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