Modi, Macron vow to ‘act jointly’ after submarines dispute

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President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday vowed to “act jointly” in the Indo-Pacific region, the French presidency said, as a row with Australia and the US intensifies.

In telephone talks, both leaders said they would “act jointly in an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific area”, days after Australia pulled out of a submarine contract with France in favor of US submarines as part of an alliance with Washington and the UK.

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Macron assured Modi of France’s continued “commitment to the strengthening of India’s strategic autonomy, including its industry and technology base, as part of a close relationship based on trust and mutual respect”.

The statement from Macron’s office said France and India’s shared approach would be aimed at promoting “regional stability and the rule of law, while ruling out any form of hegemony.”

Macron’s discussion with the Indian leader came before a planned conversation with US President Joe Biden.

France is furious with the US for secretly leading talks about a new strategic alliance, AUKUS, and a deal for the delivery of American nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, calling the move “a stab in the back.”

Australia informed France only hours before pulling out of the submarines deal, according to the French government.

Biden has requested a conversation with Macron, but no date has been set.

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