Terror attacks in France not result of ‘lone wolf initiatives’: Harsh Shringla

The recent terror attacks in France are not the result of “lone wolf initiatives” and have the backing of an “infrastructure of radicalism”, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla said during an interaction with French academia and media on Friday.

France is the first stop of Shringla’s three-nation tour that will also take him to Germany and the UK and his interactions in all three countries are aimed at boosting relations in a wide range of areas. India has already condemned the terror attacks in Paris and Nice and backed President Emmanuel Macron for his stance against radical Islam.

During his interaction with a cross-section of leading members of the academia, media and think-tanks, Shringla said India stands by France following the attacks of the past week in Paris and Nice.

The two countries cannot pretend such actions “come from lone wolf initiatives and misguided individuals”, as there is “an infrastructure of radicalism, including its online manifestations, that comes into play”, he said. These forces also have the backing of states and organised institutions and the two countries cannot and should not postpone a coordinated and definitive response, he added.

As Shringla began his two-day visit to France, a knife-wielding man killed three people during a terror attack at a church in the city of Nice. Samuel Paty, a professor who used controversial caricatures of Prophet Mohammed from the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in a class on freedom of expression, was beheaded in an attack in Paris on October 16.

During Friday’s interaction, Shringla described France as India’s oldest strategic partner and a steadfast friend in several domains, ranging from terrorism to global warming, maritime security to sustainable development, and norms-based international institutions to technology and innovation.

Following the stressed on the international system due to the Covid-19 pandemic, multilateralism needs to be reformed, he said. As instinctive multilateralists, India and France have to take on responsibilities together, especially at the UN Security Council, he added.

India and France also recognise the dangers of climate change with clarity and consistency, and their work on the International Solar Alliance and the Paris agreement are testimony to this, Shringla said.

The same globalist philosophy should be taken to new areas such as cyberspace or the Indo-Pacific, since India and France are forces of stability working for the greater common good, he added.

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