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CAB, NRC are internal issues: French envoy

Emmanuel Lenain, French Ambassador to India, addresses the media at the French Consulate in Puducherry on Friday. French Consul General Catherine Suard, is also seen

Emmanuel Lenain, French Ambassador to India, addresses the media at the French Consulate in Puducherry on Friday. French Consul General Catherine Suard, is also seen   | Photo Credit: S. S. KUMAR

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‘We respect India’s democratic system’

France is aware of the internal debate going on in India on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), but these are issues on which other countries should refrain from commenting, French Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain said here on Friday.

Interacting with a select group of reporters at the French Consulate, Mr. Lenain said, “These are issues obviously discussed during official deliberations. We are aware of the ongoing debate in India on CAB and NRC. I don’t think another government should interfere in India’s domestic affairs. But we recall our attachment to the freedom of religion.”

On the removal of special status to Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation, the Ambassador said France respects India’s democratic system. “The country is world’s largest democracy,” he added.

“Some issues are domestic and there are some issues that are decided through a democratic process. Our country is also attached to certain values and shares those with India,” he said.

‘J&K a complex issue’

Recalling the statement of French President Emmanuel Macron on Article 370, he said the Jammu and Kashmir issue was complex. “It can only be solved through bilateral discussions. There is no benefit in internationalising the issue. All parties should refrain from any action that could aggravate the situation. We are following the situation very carefully and wish the situation would become normal as soon as possible. The rights of civilian population and their humanitarian concerns need to be respected,” Mr. Lenain said.

Expressing confidence on the prospects of strengthening relationship between India and France, the ambassador said that from May this year, universities in both countries had started recognising each other’s diploma, degree and doctorate degrees. The recognition of degrees would help students from both countries pursue higher education courses.​

Student intake

During the current calendar year, around 10,000 Indian students were studying in educational institutions in France. France planned to increase the intake of Indian students to 25,000 during 2020- 2025, he said.​

Taking the collaboration between the two countries further, he said tourist visas to eligible Indians were issued within 48 hours. Around 8 lakh Indians had visited France on Schengen visa this year, he said.​

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 4:51:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cab-nrc-are-internal-issues-french-envoy/article30301697.ece

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