France presses India, Pakistan for dialogue over Kashmir

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday (August 22) said France's concern is to preserve stability in the region, between India and Pakistan.

At a joint news conference with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Macron added that he would reach out to the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in the coming days to discuss the matter.

Macron and Modi met at the gilded Chantilly palace, near the French capital, ahead of a G7 summit in southwestern France that will start on Saturday (August 24). India is one of the non-G7 countries invited to attend the summit.

Modi is facing criticism after his government revoked Muslim majority Kashmir’s special status under which people from the rest of India could not buy property or compete for government jobs and college places.

Hundreds of political leaders and activists, many of them separatists seeking Kashmir’s secession from India, have been incarcerated and separatist leaders in Indian Kashmir are now urging people to defy a ban and join a mass march after Friday prayers (August 23).

Modi’s ruling party had long sought an end to Kashmir’s special status, seeing it as appeasement of minorities and a barrier to its integration with the rest of the country.

But critics said the withdrawal of its legal autonomy would cause further alienation and fuel the 30-year revolt in Indian-administered Kashmir, in which at least 50,000 people have been killed.

(Production: Rosalind Church, Tanya Lezaic)

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