External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Sunday began his three-day visit to France during which he will attend EU Ministerial Forum for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific amid Chinese assertiveness in the region. During his visit, Jaishankar will hold a bilateral meeting with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian. Jaishankar will attend the EU Ministerial Forum for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific on February 22, an initiative of the French Presidency of the European Council.
EAM will also hold bilateral meetings with counterparts from EU and other Indo-Pacific countries on the sidelines of the Forum. He will also give an address at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI). “EAM Jaishankar begins his 3-day visit to France, a key strategic partner; he will attend the EU Ministerial forum for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, hold bilateral meetings with @JY_LeDrian and @florence_parly, interact with think tanks and chair India Heads of Missions in EU Conference,” India in France wrote in a tweet.
S Jaishankar held wide-ranging and productive talks here with France Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and both sides discussed cooperation, Ukraine situation and Indo-Pacific. Taking to Twitter, Jaishankar said, “Arrived in Paris. Held wide-ranging and productive talks with FM Jean-Yves Le Drian. Discussions on bilateral cooperation, Ukraine situation, Indo-Pacific and JCPOA reflected our deep trust & global partnership. Look forward to participating in EU Ministerial Forum on Indo- Pacific.”
Meanwhile, China has formed 3,200 acres of artificial land in the South China Sea, raised an airstrip with the capacity to land fighter jets and large commercial planes, built 72 fighter-jet hangers, and commissioned 10-12 large aircraft on Fiery Cross, Subi, and Mischief Reefs in the Spratly Islands. It has made military installations in the Woody Island of the Paracel Islands.
The construction of these artificial islands is in clear violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982, of which China is also a signatory. This visit comes after Jaishankar participated in Munich Security Conference (MSC) 2022 in Germany and held a series of meeting with ministers from Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world.