Think-Tank: (French intellectual supports France’s civil nuclear cooperation with Pakistan)

ISLAMABAD: Dr Pascal Boniface, eminent French intellectual and Director of the premier French think-tank, Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, has supported France’s civil nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, on the pattern of the U.S.-Indian civil nuclear agreement, saying that ‘Pakistan as a country of 200 million people with nuclear weapons has a pivotal role to play in the most strategic part of the world’.

He made these remarks during a guest lecture on ‘France, Europe and Changing Global Scenario’ at the Pakistan-China Institute, which was chaired by Ambassador Masood Khan, Chairman, Institute of Strategic Studies.

Senator Mushahid Hussain,Chairman of the Senate Defence Committee and who is recently-elected as Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), was also present on the occasion, while the lecture was attended by the Ambassador of France, Mrs. Martine Dorance, and Belgium Ambassador, Verheyden, as well as heads of think-tanks, university professors and scholars of international relations, former Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar and former head of ISI, Lt Gen (r) Asad Durrani.

Dr Boniface also criticised the Iraq War since it was ‘destabilising for the Arab World’, and he welcomed the Iran Nuclear deal terming it as ‘a rare defeat for the powerful pro-Israeli lobby in the United States’.

Senator Mushahid Hussain, while exchanging his views, praised the French role in world affairs, whose architect was the great French statesman, the late President General Charles de Gaulle. He said that countries like France and China, together with Pakistan, would be ‘key players in the emerging multipolar world’.

Lt Gen (r) Asad Durrani said that in today’s world, ‘there are two forces with a truly global outreach, the United States and Al Qaeda’, with a capability to strike anywhere militarily anywhere in the world.

The participants acknowledged that France, the largest country in the EU, and with nuclear energy providing the bulk of its power needs, is leading the world in civil nuclear energy technology for peaceful purposes.

Ms. Nathalie Dupont, Counsellor Political Affairs, Press and Communication, also shared her views with the participants regarding the need for strengthening bilateral relations, especially at the academic, and diplomatic level. The lecture was followed by an interesting and animated discussion among the distinguished audience.

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