The threat to French president Francois Hollande’s three-day visit to India during Republic Day was today deemed as ‘not specific’ and ‘not serious’ by the French ambassador to India, Francois Richier.
On 11th January, the French consulate here had received a single-page letter which contained three lines of English language with an Indian map in the background. The letter, which ended with the word ‘Al Qaeda’, issued a warning to the French president not to participate in the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on 26th January.
The French president’s visit to India follows, after almost nine months, that of the first bilateral talk between India and France when PM Modi visited Europe. On top of the celebrations, a conclusive deal on Rafale fighters is also expected on the cards. Elucidating on the negotiation, the French ambassador said, “The discussions are taking place at present, so I cannot say what will be the outcome of this. It is a complex negotiation; I don’t know what is going to happen, and of course I will share with you, that I’m hopeful. But hopeful doesn’t mean that we have certitude and work is being conducted with a lot of energy, but I can’t tell you anything.”
The French president will be on a three-day visit to India as he is the Chief Guest for the country’s Republic Day celebrations this year. Though there were ‘no specifics’ in the letter, security around the French consulate has been increased and Indian authorities are working closely with French security forces to attend to terror-related exigencies.