Crossfire War – TEHRAN WATCH – South Asia Theatre: Paris – Delhi – Berlin/Islamabad – Tehran – Dhaka; India DM Arrives in Paris – Mission to Increase Defence Cooperation – Leaves for Berlin Sept. 5 – Tehran in View
Night Watch: PARIS – India Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee has just arrived in Paris at the head of a large delegation of senior officials representing India’s military establishment and external affairs. His purpose in embarking on this six day tour to France-Germany is to enhance India’s military cooperation with both countries. On September 5 he is to leave for Berlin to sign a defence cooperation agreement establishing closer ties to their respective countries defence industries in their technological exchanges and to approve joint naval exercises between Germany-India. [WEBINDIA]
Such exercises have been taking place between France-India. The Defence Minister’s visit is an extension of the Indo-French High Committee formed in 1998 as part of India-France defence cooperation. Mukherjee will meet France Defense Minister Michele Aliotte Marie and visit the Center for Planning and Operations Management (CPCO) and the Command of Air Defence and Air Operations (CDAOA) at Taverny. CPCO is the Joint Staff Operations Center of the French Defence Forces and controls their international operations.
This military cooperation is obviously being done under the realization that conflict in South Asia is no longer between Islamabad/Delhi. India’s investigation into the July 11 bombings in Mumbai revealed a prominent Bangladesh connection as well as Pakistan. The Islamic group that carried out the bombings has long been based in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir and now seems to have extended its network into Bangladesh and has probably done so with Tehran’s help. Iran has security agreements with Pakistan which they intend to activate during the next war between Islamabad/Delhi. And that could erupt this month with the end of the monsoon season.
Though these defence agreements between Paris-Delhi-Berlin may have no impact on the ground they could guarantee that international shipping lanes around the subcontinent remain open to the outside world and prevent Tehran from controlling the region’s economy. Warring nations always attack the maritime commerce of their enemy as did Iran/Iraq in the Persian Gulf during their war from 1980-88.