Partners against crime
Thank you to Mr G. Parthasarathy for his informative article on Indo-French relations in Asian Affairs’ April edition (‘The French Connection’). As he comments, France plays a key role in cooperating with India in the realms of defence, space, offshore exploration of gas and nuclear energy, as well as the burgeoning field of solar technology.(Mr Modi and Mr Macron co-chaired the International Solar Alliance and, on March 12, inaugurated a solar power plant at Dadar Kala village in Uttar Pradesh). Also, France has for a long time been a valuable partner in bolstering up a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
However, with all respect to Mr Parthasarathy, he did not address one other very important area of cooperation between the two countries: counter-terrorism. India and France have both suffered badly from terrorist atrocities in recent times and, since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, they have very much reinforced their collaboration in this sphere. The spate of 2015/2016 attacks in France served to act as a further spur. France and India have by now established an intensive network of operational exchanges and joint actions between their respective intelligence and security forces. They also have a bilateral working group that unites all the various players concerned with counter-terrorism; this includes cooperation over investigations and their respective special forces units, the GIGN (France) and the NSG (India).
Vasu Mehta (student)
La Chapelle, Paris
A timely debate
I attended the March 19 seminar held in London by The Democracy Forum (as reported in ‘Imbalance of Power’, Asian Affairs, April issue,) and was impressed by the breadth, depth and largely dispassionate nature of the debate. Thesignificance of the issues discussed can’t be overstated in this day and age, especially questions surrounding the accountability of those in power, the value of even flawed democracies and the worrying trend, worldwide, for democracy to go ‘out of fashion’.Since we can’t take political or social progress for granted, discussions of this kind are increasingly essential. I hope the Forum keeps up its good work.
Building bricks of trust
What an interesting analysis on Pakistan’s March Senate elections (‘A Ship on the Rocks’, Asian Affairs, April 2018), especially in light on the conference report (published in the same issue) on the economic and political power of the military, in Pakistan, among other countries. Rahimullah Yusufzai has a deep understanding of Pakistan: the civil-military disparity, the military’s dominant position and the schizophrenic nature of Nawaz Sharif, who has very real qualities to offset his obvious shortcomings, though it remains to be seen if he can rebuild trust with and within the country. Let us only hope that Mr Yusufzai does not prove prescient in his thoughts about Imran Khan’s shot at the premiership in Pakistan’s July general election. Khan has too-strong links with the military and Islamists, and his constant sniping is wearisome: see how he called for the Supreme Court and Election Commission to conduct an inquiry into allegations of PTI members ‘selling’ their votes to rival parties, but without ever naming the specific legislators he believed had sold their votes.