Steps have been taken at the highest level for the eventual merger of Pondicherry with Tamil Nadu. Evidently, the Union Cabinet has not yet been taken into confidence about the future of the former French enclave, but the process has obviously been set into motion because the French government has been sounded about the government’s intentions. In the past, the Centre has considered merging Pondicherry and Karaikal with Tamil Nadu, Mahe with Kerala and Yanam with Andhra Pradesh. But one of the obstacles in the way of merger has been certain clauses in the treaty signed with France at the time of transfer of power. A clause in the treaty lays down that Pondicherry’s separate identity will be preserved and any change in its status will not be effected without prior consultation with the French government.
Iran’s Army Chief
On the eve of Iran’s transition to civilian rule, one of the country’s most senior army commanders has resigned. He is General Gholam Ali Oveissi, military governor of Teheran and a man widely regarded as a political hardliner opposed to the new government of Shahpour Bakhtiar, according to BBC. General Oveissi is said to have left on leave on medical reasons. There are reports that two more of the Shah’s top generals have resigned. Sources said the Shah has appointed a politically moderate soldier, General Najimi-Naini, to replace as the chief of staff.
US Pledges Support
The US administration offered to “co-operate fully” with the government being formed in Iran by Shapour Bakhtiar.The State Department spokesman, Hodding Carter, said the administration also ‘‘hopes and expects” Bakhtiar will succeed in his efforts to form a government and put an end to the strife which has torn apart the country over the past few months.