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HomeDiplomacyIndia's diversity should be kept as it is: New French Ambassador Emmanuel...

India’s diversity should be kept as it is: New French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain

Insisting that the citizenship law and the NRC are India's internal matters, Lenain said France would always uphold freedom of all religions.

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New Delhi: Amid protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), newly-appointed French Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain Monday said the country’s diversity should be kept “as it is”.

Speaking to reporters in Delhi, the French envoy said issues such as the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) are India’s “internal matters”. He also expressed hope that the rule of law will ultimately prevail in India and said France will always uphold “freedom of all religions”.

Lenain’s remark came at a time when violent protests have erupted across the country against the new law, including in capital New Delhi. Students of many major universities have also taken to the streets in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) act, which seeks to grant Indian citizenship to members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan until 31 December 2014.

The envoy also said France was closely coordinating with India on issues related to cross-border terrorism. Counter-terrorism measures have always been the cornerstone of the India-France relationship, he added.

France, along with the UK and US, had also spearheaded efforts to list Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, the alleged mastermind many terror activities in India including February’s Pulwama attack, as a global terrorist at the United Nations in May this year.

Also read: This is how China wants India to pay it back for listing Masood Azhar a terrorist

Pakistan hasn’t fulfilled FATF commitments

Speaking about steps taken by the French government to stop terror financing, Lenain remarked that Pakistan has not fulfilled its commitment on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Paris-based terror financing watchdog.

“Nobody can say that Pakistan has fulfilled its commitment (under the rules laid down by FATF),” he said.

In October this year, the FATF gave Pakistan time until February 2020 to comply with its rules of stopping money laundering and financing of terror networks. Islamabad would be blacklisted if it does not adhere to these norms.

“Pressure need to be put on it (Pakistan) till the February deadline. We are very strict on this issue. We will keep the pressure (to fulfill its obligations),” he added.

Lenain also said India and the European Union, of which France is a member, should resume negotiations on the free trade agreement.

He, however, added that the “right kind of climate” is needed to resume such talks and where the final outcome can be “meaningful and ambitious”.

Also read: In Modi era, France has replaced Russia as India’s new best friend


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  1. India’s diversity is the most precious aspect of our nationality. This was the dream of our founding fathers. CAA and NRC definitely affect this diversity by eliminating one section of our population from time to time may be bit by bit over a period of time. Perhaps CAA itself may not be that explosive. But when it is blended with NRC as declared by our Home Minister it will result into selective choosing against the Muslims. The govt should reconsider the Act with proper amendments. It is true it is passed by the parliament. But the govt should take all section of minorities into confidence before implementing the Act since the issue involved is emotional.

  2. With CAA, Modi-Shah have ensured that if Muslims are unable to satisfy NRC documentation, they will be non-citizens FOR GOOD. But if Hindus fail similarly at NRC, they will get a roundabout chance to REMAIN CITIZENS through CAA. This kind of partiality, even if it is possible ONLY THEORETICALLY defies the right of EQUALITY provided by the Constitution.
    So, even if CAA and NRC are india’s “internal matter” their implications are against india’s Constitution.

  3. How does CAA affect India’s diversity? CAA is about granting citizenship to those illegal immigrants who should be otherwise thrown out of the India but some of them who are persecuted religious minorities in their country of citizenship, are now offered Indian citizenship, as they can not safely return to their original country. India is not diverse due to presence of illegal immigrants but due to its 1.3 billion citizens comprise all religions of the world who have constitutional rights of equality and freedom to follow their religion. Moreover, such diversity is civilizational. Hence, any such comments without understanding the provisions and intent of CAA by anyone are totally unwarranted. Instead of lecturing India on its diversity, such persons should call upon such countries like Pakistan to take back persecuted minorities and providing them safe and rightful living ! It is to be noted that both Afghanistan and Bangla Desh have now offered to take back their citizens who are illegally residing in India. This is a very positive step from these countries. It shows that these countries respect sovereign rights of India and how it deals with illegal migrants.

    It is another kind of a wish that India should invite every person, whether persecuted on the basis of religion, gender, ethnicity, political views etc, from anywhere in the world and offer them citizenship so that India becomes a melting pot and a vibrant society!! And we also know that Father of the Nation, Gandhi would have surely approved of such measure! Those who wish like this can carry out peaceful marches everyday and even go on fast until death at the Gandhi statue outside Parliament. But please do not mess up the situation with violence and arson. One should also advise a Bharat Ratna former President of India not to offer unnecessarily public comments on every contentious issue and keep dignity of his past office in mind.

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