France knows India’s solidarity comes from heart: Envoy

New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) France knows India’s messages of solidarity following Thursday night’s Bastille Day attack in the city of Nice that claimed 84 lives come from the heart, French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler said on Friday.

“I would like to say how deeply touched I have been – how we all have been – at the embassy and in France, by the many messages of solidarity and friendship that have come from all over India this morning, from all parts of the civil society and from the government of India,” Ziegler told the media here.

“I am especially grateful for the warm messages of the honourable President (Pranab Mukherjee) and honourable Prime Minister of India (Narendra Modi),” he said.

A terrorist ploughed his truck through a crowd of thousands enjoying Bastille Day celebrations in the French Riviera city of Nice on Thursday night, mowing down at least 84 people, and injuring some 150, a third of them critically.

Ziegler said that over the last few years, India, like France, was badly hit by such barbaric attacks.

“I still recall how shocked we were, all over my country, by the bloody attack in Mumbai in 2008,” he stated.

“And I know how much your solidarity comes from the heart.”

He said India and France shared the same values, the same principles, and in a way the same challenges because both countries were open and tolerant societies.

“I know that more than ever, France and India stand together against this global threat.

“More than ever, we shall enhance our cooperation against those who would like to spread all over the world their message of death, of hate and fanaticism,” said the Ambassador, adding that: “India, like France, knows only too well that there is no possible compromise with terrorists.”

Ziegler said the attack took place on France’s National Day, a day that was celebrated, all over France, the values and the messages inherited from the French Revolution: the values of democracy, freedom, tolerance and human rights.

“What is obvious is that this attack was aimed not only at killing innocent people but also against these very values and principles that are also so deeply cherished right here in India, and all over the world,” he asserted.

But, he said, France would resist and cited French President Francois Hollande’s announcement of reinforcement of the security measures all over France.

“He (Hollande) also had some words of utmost importance: we are horrified, but we must stand up and resist, as we did last year after the terrible attacks in Paris; our people will keep on defending France’s core values and way of life,” Ziegler said.

“We will not give them up. We are strong and will always be stronger than the fanatics who attack us.”



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