The president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, made a four day visit to India early in December signing various deals which amount to $20 billion. A French company will built two nuclear power plants in west India; Airbus signed lease deals with India’s Jet Airways and Air India, the tyre manufacturer Michelin has agreed to invest $600 million in a factory in the south and there were several defence contracts.
During his visit, Sarkozy made remarks about Pakistan supposedly critical of the country’s war on terror. He apparently spoke of Pakistan providing safe havens in its tribal border areas. On top of this, during a joint press conference in India, Sarkozy was quoted as urging Pakistan to combat extremists on its territory. Pakistan then conveyed its disappointment to the French ambassador over these remarks.
However, it didn’t end there. Chancellor Merkel met with India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday, December 11 in Berlin for discussions of mutual interest. The Chancellor was reported as being critical of Pakistan in supposedly saying that terrorism is not a means to solve problems. Obviously, this was a reference to the Mumbai attacks of 2008. Once again Pakistan expressed its disappointment but this time to the German ambassador.
Pakistan considers Germany and France to be allies if not close friends. These criticisms have stung however were the remarks based on Sarkozy being in India and Merkel meeting with Singh? Pakistan certainly has a number of its own problems to overcome which may very well be part of the perceived problems in its capacity to deal with terrorism. It has been reported that Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani has expressed the need for developing a long term strategy to deal with the challenges of poverty and unemployment, two areas of great concern in this country of 171 million people.
Click HERE to read more from William Belle