France supports India's bid for permanent UNSC seat

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New Delhi, Oct 18(ANI): India's bid to get a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) got another boost on Monday after a top French military official assured of full support.

Addressing the media in the national capital, French Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Edouard Guillaud said: "We have always stated that unilateral use of force is shortest way to fail. Obtaining United Nations resolution is a rule and this why we have pleaded, and we plead and we go on pleading for the reform of the United Nations Security Council."

"In order to strengthen this legitimacy and for the very same reason, we strongly support the admission of India as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council," he added.

Admiral Guillaud's comments came after India made a successful pitch for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC, winning 187 votes, which essentially meant 98 percent of the UN membership.

The French Chief of Defence Staff further said that French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to India in the month of December would strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

"We share the same concerns of a better balanced world. In 1998, our good relationship materialized into a strategic partnership taking India-France defense cooperation further, which has developed ever since," Admiral Guillaud said.

"Next December when French President Nicolas Sarkozy visits India, it will be an opportunity to strengthen our bilateral partnership. I would like to emphasize how much this partnership is essential to us and our common strategic concerns," he added.

Admiral Guillaud is currently on a four-day visit to India (from October 16-19), on an official invitation extended by the Indian authorities.

His visit has come when the two countries are on the cusp of signing a deal expected to be worth over 2.1 billion dollars for upgrading the 50 Mirage-2000 aircraft of the Indian Air Force.

During his visit, Admiral Guillaud is scheduled to hold meetings with the top brass of the Indian military, including Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, Air Chief Marshal P. V. Naik, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma and Army Chief General V. K. Singh.

He will also hold high-level discussions with National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon. He is also scheduled meet Western Naval Commander Vice-Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin in Mumbai.

He will also visit the Mazagon shipyard, where India is building its six conventional submarines with French shipbuilding company DCNS (Direction des Constructions Navales).

France, which won the over-18-billion-rupee deal for building six Scorpene submarines in 2005, is also one of the contenders for the Rs 30 billion contract for building another six submarines.

French aircraft manufacturer Dassault is also in the race for supplying 126 multi-role combat aircraft to the Indian Air Force, and has offered its Rafale fighters. By Vishnu Sukumaran (ANI)

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