France today said it stands by India in the fight against cross-border terrorism and asked Islamabad to act against terror groups operating from its soil, hours after Indian Air Force jets destroyed a terrorist camp in Pakistan's Balakot, 80 km from the Line of Control.
"France recognises India's legitimacy to ensure its security against cross-border terrorism and asks Pakistan to put an end to the operations of terrorist groups established on its territory," the French government said in a statement today.
France also asked both India and Pakistan to "exercise restraint so as to avert any risk of military escalation and preserve strategic stability in the region."
The air strikes come over 10 days after 40 CRPF soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama; the attack was claimed by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, whose chief Masood Azhar is roaming freely in Pakistan.
Last week, France said it will move a proposal at the United Nations in a "couple of days" to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. This will be the second time France - a permanent member of the UN Security Council - will be party to such a proposal at the UN.
The French decision was discussed between Philippe Etienne, Diplomatic Advisor to the French President and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, news agency PTI had reported quoting French sources.
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.
Since March 2016, China has been the only member in the United Nations Security Council to put a hold on India's application with all other 14 members of the UNSC supporting New Delhi's bid to place Masood Azhar on the 1267 sanctions list, which would subject him to an assets freeze and travel ban.