New Delhi/ Paris | Jagran News Desk: India and France on Wednesday condemned the civilian killings in Ukraine and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities "to the suffering of the people" as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held key bilateral talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

Issuing a joint statement, the two sides also said that they are committed to enabling a coordinated, multilateral response to address the risk of aggravated food crisis because of the conflict in Ukraine.

"Both countries underlined the need to respect the UN Charter, international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states," the statement read, adding that PM Modi and Macron have agreed to intensify coordination on the issue.

The United States-led West has constantly criticised India for refusing to vote against Russia at the United Nations (UN). India, despite the constant pressure from the West, has maintained its stand on the crisis and called for an immediate ceasefire in the region.

'Free and open' Indo-Pacific

India and France on Wednesday also called for a "free and open" Indo-Pacific and said that they have "built one of the premier strategic partnerships for advancing peace, stability and prosperity" in the region.

Without naming China, the two nations said that international law should be respected in the Indo-Pacific to keep it "free from coercion, tensions and conflicts".

"Besides bilateral cooperation, India and France will continue to develop new partnerships in various formats with like-minded countries in the region and within regional organisations," they said.

"The first Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum held in Paris in February 2022 during the French presidency of the Council of the EU launched an ambitious agenda at the EU level based on the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo Pacific," they added.

India, France express concern over human rights violations in Afghanistan

The two nations also expressed serious concern about the humanitarian situation and violation of human rights in Afghanistan and called for an inclusive and representative government in the war-ravaged country.

In their joint statement, they said that India and France reiterate "their strong support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan."

"India and France expressed serious concern on the humanitarian situation and violation of human rights and reiterated strong support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan, emphasizing respect for its sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and non-interference in its internal affairs," the joint statement read.

"They called for an inclusive and representative government, and respect for the rights of women, children and minorities," the statement added.

Posted By: Subhasish Dutta