In a significant development, France will move a proposal at the United Nations in a "couple of days" to designate Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, as a global terrorist, French sources told news agency PTI on Tuesday.
Masood Azhar's Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility for the suicide car bombing that killed over 40 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama last week.
This will be the second time France will be party to such a proposal at the UN. In 2017, the US, supported by the UK and France, had moved a proposal at the UN's 'Sanctions Committee 1267' to ban the chief of the Pakistan-based terror group. The proposal was blocked by China.
"At the UN, France will lead a proposal to put Masood Azhar on the terrorist list... It will happen in a couple of days," a senior French source told PTI.
The French decision was discussed between Philippe Etienne, Diplomatic Advisor to the French President and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval this morning, French sources said.
While expressing his condolences, the French leader, who called Mr Doval, also emphasised that the two countries should coordinate their diplomatic efforts to fight against terror.
Since March 2016, China has been the only member in the 15-nation United Nations organ to put a hold on India's application with all other 14 members of the UN Security Council supporting New Delhi's bid to place Masood Azhar on the 1267 sanctions list that would subject him to an assets freeze and travel ban. It has since then repeatedly extended its technical hold on the US, France and the UK-backed proposal.
India today also strongly criticised Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's insinuation that India's attacks on Pakistan were linked to the election ahead.
"It is regrettable that the Pakistani Prime Minister has insinuated that India's response to the terrorist attack is determined by the forthcoming General Election. India rejects this false allegation. India's democracy is a model for the world which Pakistan would never understand," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
With inputs from PTI