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India urges France to advocate for a ban on weapon sales by EU to Pakistan

Source : The Economic Times

India urges France to advocate for a ban on weapon sales by EU to Pakistan
Image : AP

India has urged France to advocate for a ban on weapon sales by the European Union to Pakistan, citing its support for terrorism, the distinct possibility of transfer of sensitive technologies to China and its poor human rights record. France has taken over the presidency of the Council of the European Union this month and will hold it till June.

In the past, France had assured India that it wouldn’t transfer sensitive weapon systems to Pakistan and stood by New Delhi amid border confrontation with China. Sources told ET that the request was made during defence minister-level talks last month, when Rajnath Singh met his French counterpart Florence Parly in New Delhi. A non-paper was also handed over to the visiting French delegation that brought out deep concerns on the working of state and non-state actors in Pakistan.

It is learnt that the Indian side shared information about terrorism-related activities being supported by Pakistan, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, and the possibility of arms sold by European states finding their way to militant cadres targeting Jammu and Kashmir. There have been several instances of foreign weapons being recovered from terrorists being pushed from across the Line of Control.

The human rights record of Pakistan was also raised by India. Instances of Pakistani security agencies targeting civil leaders, activists and journalists were also shared. A big concern on the possibility of Pakistan transferring European weapons technology to China was shared, given close ties between the two nations.

China is by far the largest supplier of defence systems to Pakistan, including fighter jets, frigates and submarines. This is followed by Russia, but no cutting-edge weapon systems have been supplied by Moscow in recent years. The biggest European supplier of weapons to Pakistan is Italy, which accounts for almost 6% of imports made by it. Other European nations actively supplying weapons include Sweden.

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