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Not the best defence

Sir — Zahira Sheikh’s turnaround must have been a rude awakening for many a politician in Gujarat who were convinced that they had shut her up, together with the other witnesses in the Best Bakery case. But by reopening the case, Zahira has made sure that she remains a virtual prisoner in a distant and alien city (“Zahira behind secrecy shroud”, July 9). For neither a different place, nor the comfort of having the support of distinguished people or a non-governmental organization can assure her enough security from the saffron goons. And remember, Mumbai is where the Hindu rightwing rules the roost. Zahira’s turning a hostile witness in court totally reversed the much-awaited Best Bakery judgment. By her own admission, she had been reacting to pressures from saffron politicians. But is there any guarantee that there will not be allegations that she is now acting under the directions of another power group'

Yours faithfully,
Sonali Banerjee, Calcutta


Eastward bound

Sir — Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit to China would have been a real success if India had focussed on the swap proposal. The east-west swap, corresponding to the inner line in Arunachal Pradesh on one side and the Aksai Chin plateau on the other would meet the security needs of both the countries. Moreover, India would benefit from the oil and gas pipelines through Xinjiang from central Asia. It is noteworthy that though India has recognized the Tibet autonomous region as a part of China, it has only managed to get a trading post in Sikkim, for China has not yet recognized Sikkim as a part of India.

Yours faithfully,
Soumyendu Shekhar Roy, Bongaigaon, Assam


Sir — The joint declaration of the Indian and Chinese prime ministers regarding the appointment of special representatives from both countries to usher in a new phase in bilateral and regional relationships is a commendable move. The beginning of a new friendship between the two neighbouring countries could pave the way for new trade agreements and thereby strengthen bilateral ties. Though Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s China visit is being criticized on grounds such as concession of advantage to China on Tibet, his role is laudable when one thinks of the failure of Pervez Musharraf to bag the F-16 fighter planes from George W. Bush at Camp David. It can certainly be hoped that direct trade links between India and China will commence very soon.

Yours faithfully,
Subhasish Mazumdar, Sonarpur


Sir — In successfully carrying forward the relationship between China and India, knowing the language of China can prove to be an added advantage. Introducing Chinese in universities, and providing the opportunity to people to learn the language will help foster bilateral ties. Just as China is regarding the study of English seriously, India too should encourage people to learn the languages of its neighbouring countries.

Yours faithfully,
C.R. Bhattacharjee, Calcutta


Sir — From Ashis Chakrabarti’s analysis in “Red is the colour of reform” (July 2), it appears that he has not gone through the documents of the Communist Party of China carefully. For instance, it is not entirely true that the “Three Represents” concept was enshrined in the CPC constitution at the 16th congress. This idea was definitely elaborated in the 16th congress of the CPC, but was coined much earlier. China’s former president, Jiang Zemin, had introduced this idea in February 2000.

Chakrabarti’s view that the CPC experimented with “more participatory elections earlier” cannot be supported either. Jiang in his speech at the 80th anniversary reiterated that dictatorship of the proletariat would still be one of the fundamentals of the Chinese state management.

Yours faithfully,
Siddhartha Ghosh Dastidar, Calcutta


Sir — Chinese communism has gradually surrendered to the world capitalist order, to the trinity of World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization. The present condition in the United States of America indicate that dissenters find accommodation difficult in the Pentagon-directed democracy. It would have been more pertinent if Ashis Chakrabarti had drawn a parallel with this rather than refer to the organization of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in rural Bengal. While Chakrabarti insists that “economic reforms have created a new affluent class”, the history of the CPC suggests that the affluent class was the least involved in and affected by any political uprising whatsoever.

Yours faithfully,
Tapan Bandyopadhyay, Calcutta


Sir — With world economy expected to grow at 3.2 per cent, world trade will surely gain momentum. China’s reform programme is likely to stimulate the demand for steel and subsidiary products, resulting in a demand for Indian steel. China’s accession to the WTO and the relatively strong Asian economic growth will benefit both the countries, which, between them have 55 per cent of the world’s consumers under the age of 30. The rebuilding of Iraq also holds opportunities for both. The greater the cooperation, the greater the benefits.

Yours faithfully,
B.L. Tekriwal, Mumbai


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