French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a telephone conversation last Friday, PTI reported. Macron reportedly told Modi that Paris was closely following the developments in the region.
“In the spirit of trust and frankness that characterises their relations, the French president and the Indian prime minister discussed the situation in the region of Kashmir, which France continues to follow closely,” the French embassy in New Delhi said in a statement.
An Indian statement issued the same day did not make any reference to the discussions on Kashmir. “The two leaders exchanged views on a range of issues of mutual interest in bilateral relations as well as regional and global situations,” it added.
Macron and Modi also agreed to work together to ease tensions in West Asia by urging all parties to show restraint and responsibility, the French statement added.
Last week, envoys from 16 countries visited Jammu and Kashmir at the invitation of the government. Delegates from the European Union allegedly turned down the invitation because they did not want a guided tour and were told they would not be allowed to visit detained former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah, and Farooq Abdullah.
In lockdown since August 5
On August 5, the central government amended Article 370 of Constitution and imposed prohibitory orders in the region. It also divided the state into the two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. While postpaid mobile and SMS services have resumed in Kashmir, internet remains blocked. The Ladakh administration on December 27 restored 4G mobile internet connectivity in Kargil, after a gap of 145 days.
A number of political leaders were also detained. Farooq Abdullah’s detention under the Public Safety Act was extended by three months on December 15. At the moment, he is confined to his Gupkar Road residence in Srinagar. Omar Abdullah is at Hari Niwas, while Mehbooba Mufti was initially lodged at Cheshmashahi hut, but was later shifted to a government accommodation.
The Narendra Modi government has faced global pressure to restore normalcy in the Valley. On October 25, the United States asked India to provide a road map for the restoration of normalcy in the region, including the immediate release of all political detainees.
Last Friday, the Supreme Court ordered the Jammu and Kashmir administration to immediately review all restrictive orders imposed in the Union Territory. The bench of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai said suspending internet indefinitely was a violation of telecom rules.