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France will not act alone against Syria, prime minister says
RELATED NEW DELHI: As part of the strategic partnership between India and France, soldiers from the two countries will hold a joint high-altitude combat exercise from next week. The exercise “Shakti” will be held from September 9 to 20 in the French Alps at Grenoble. “This is the second joint military exercise between the two countries which have a history of extensive cooperation in the defence arena,” said an officer. The participating troops have been drawn from 5th Battalion of the Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army’s South Western Command based at Jaipur, while the Alpine troops of 27th Mountain Infantry Brigade will participate from the Frence army. “The theme of the exercise is to conduct platoon-level joint counter insurgency operations in mountainous terrain under the UN Charter, thus emphasizing the shared concerns of both countries on the growing menace of global terrorism,” he said. “An added aim of the exercise is to qualitatively enhance knowledge of each others’ military procedures, thus increasing the scope for interoperability and better responsiveness to a common threat,” he added. The Indian troops have undergone extensive training on rock craft, ice craft, advanced mountaineering techniques at the High Altitude Warfare School at Sonamarg in Kashmir, in addition to tactical drills of close cordon and house intervention drills in order to fulfill the mandate of the joint exercise. The exercise is scheduled to be conducted in multiple modules in order to achieve complete integration between the two contingents at every stage. “The vast experience and expertise gained by the Indian troops in high altitude areas like Siachen Glacier and in counter insurgency operations hold special importance to the French army ,” he said. ALSO ON TOI
India, France to kick off high-altitude combat exercise in the Alps from Monday
POLITICAL LIABILITY, DIPLOMATIC ASSET Kerry, who learned French as a boy, found his fluency a liability during his 2004 U.S. presidential campaign, feeding an image of the Democrat as a wealthy elitist that his Republican opponent, then-President George W. Bush, exploited. As a diplomat, however, it is an asset, allowing him to speak directly to the French about their unhappy history with chemical warfare during World War One as one reason why the French government is sensitive to its alleged use in Syria. “Some of the very first lethal chemical weapons attacks happened here, on French soil, during the First World War and a large number of these victims of these deadly, indiscriminate weapons were young French soldiers, just 19 or 20 years old,” he said. Fabius, an experienced politician best known for having been France’s youngest prime minister, showed a rare moment of intensity and outrage about an August 21 attack in Syria in which the Syrian government is accused of using sarin gas. Syria, embroiled in a 2-1/2-year-old civil war in which more than 100,000 are believed to have died, denies that. “You have to look at the images of these children in rows with the shrouds over them, not an injury, not a drop of blood? And they are there and they are sleeping forever,” Fabius said, visibly shaken. “There’s a dictator who did it and is ready to start again,” he said gesticulating with his fists. “This concerns us, too. You can’t say that globalization is everywhere except for terrorism and chemical weapons.” As if to underscore their countries’ ties, Kerry and Fabius went for a walk outside the Foreign Ministry on a pleasant Paris evening, where, later, the sky to the west was lit with gold and to the east by a rainbow.
Ukrainian port eyed as analysts seek Syrias arms source Joby Warrick As civil war rages, traffic picks up between Syria and a little-known Ukrainian port linked to arms trade. E.U.: Strong response to Syria should await U.N. report Karen DeYoung The bloc agrees that Assad likely carried out an alleged gas attack but not on what action to take. But opposition leaders said France would be in contravention of international law if it acted against Syria without U.N. authorization an unlikely development in any case because of Russias veto power in the Security Council and its implacable opposition to any move against its longtime Syrian ally. We are certain that Syria has at its disposal the most important stockpile of chemical weapons in the world, Ayrault told Frances lower house of Parliament. Not to respond to an alleged Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack, he said, would be to send a terrible message to Bashar al-Assad and to the Syrian people: that you can use chemical weapons tomorrow. But many opinion polls in recent days show a lack of public support here for a strike against Syria. Under the French constitution, Hollande has broad powers to order military action without consulting Parliament or submitting to a vote. Still, many opposition leaders said Wednesday that they want, at a minimum, to vote on such a decision, a course of action that had 74percent support in a CSA opinion poll released Tuesday. Leaders of the main center-right opposition Union for a Popular Movement party (UMP) went further during Wednesdays debate, saying that France would be breaking its long-held commitment to acting in accordance with the United Nations if it proceeded without a Security Council vote and that it was humiliating for France to stand alone as it waited for allies to assemble around it. France should not be in the position of waiting with its arms crossed for a vote of the U.S. Congress, said Christian Jacob, president of the UMP faction in the lower house. The United States is used to going alone and not going along with the U.N., he said, but he noted that France is different.