New Round of Indo-Pakistan Talks – February 2010
LET IT NOT BE JUST A PUBLIC DISPLAY
No leader in either India or Pakistan would oppose continuity of peace process between India and Pakistan. Ironically, off the record, the masses of both the countries feel proud over the instigating statements by their leaders against each other. The leaders are well aware from psyche of the masses that elect them and therefore unwittingly issue insulting and instigating statements. All those who generally behave immature by leveling senseless allegation on their so called traditional enemy are considered patriotic. Often hectic efforts by certain quarters to prepare grounds for talks are neutralized by instigating statements and unnecessary display of muscles. The western as well as local media sponsored by the west make best use such statements through exclusive coverage to further fuel traditional enmity between India and Pakistan. Often western leaders and their media personnel also publicize propaganda statements, stories and reports so that each country other than their own partners and allies keep considering each other as worst enemies.
In the same context, the role of US in creating gulf between India and Pakistan can be judged from the recent statement of US Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair who told the Senate Intelligence Committee giving the Annual Threat Assessment, on February 3, 2010, “Pakistan’s conviction that militant groups are strategically useful to counter India are not only hampering the fight against terrorism but also helping Al-Qaida sustain its safe haven ….Islamabad’s strategic approach risks helping Al-Qaida sustain its safe haven because some groups supported by Pakistan provide assistance to Al-Qaida…. Islamabad’s conviction that militant groups are an important part of its strategic arsenal to counter India’s military and economic advantages will continue to limit Pakistan’s incentive to pursue an across-the-board effort against extremism.” Blair was highlighting assessment which reflected views of 16 intelligence agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Under the prevailing sabotage threats by hidden hands, any peace process between India and Pakistan is going to fail unless the foreign instigating advisors like US and Israel are out of the game. To achieve meaningful dialogue, there is a need for talks and more talks without fixing agenda to overcome mistrust and suspicion. Holding talks on the instigation and intervention of foreign powers can never produce results. The western bloc and their agents, knowing well about the progress at Sharm-el-Sheikh and possible breakthrough during and on the sidelines of SAARC conference, have accelerated their propaganda machinery so that things start with suspicion and ends at doubts. India’s allegations on Pakistan regarding state involvement in terrorism in Mumbai attacks were also the baby of CIA and 16 other intelligence agencies. India should not feel shy in admitting that pre and post Mumbai attacks intelligence as well as the so called evidences were provided by US.
In the prevailing scenario, New Delhi has extended proposal of February 18 and 25, 2010 to Pakistan for Foreign Secretary-level talks but the conditions set forth by India for the proposal cannot be acceptable to any sovereign state. Proposal of talks, rapped with warnings of huge setback if 26/11 is repeated cannot be part of any "practical and pragmatic" approach to seek redressal of core concern of cross-border terrorism. If India is claiming that Mumbai attacks were state sponsored terrorism from Pakistani side, what India would like to say about Rawalpindi attacks on Pakistan’s General Headquarters, Parade Lane attack killing Pakistan Army serving General along with dozens of officers and personnel as well as other terrorist attacks in other parts of the country. Although every second Pakistani is suspecting India Intelligence agencies behind the act of recent terrorism in Pakistan but authorities in Islamabad did not mention the name of India even once. It was not due to any sort of pressure or fear but due to the fact that Pakistan is really interest in resolving outstanding issues with India through dialogue.
As Indian officials claim that the proposed Foreign Secretary-level talks would not mean resumption of composite dialogue, one wonders that what would be the results, when India is already booked with preconceived suspicions. It is true that both the countries are fed up with cross-border terrorism and infiltration, which witnessed a marked increase during last few years but this isn’t the way out. It has been estimated that around 40,000 illegal Indian nationals enter Pakistan annually and usually settle in Karachi. Reportedly, since last three years they have also started purchasing properties and businesses in other major Pakistani cities including suburbs of federal capital, Islamabad. Similarly, India also complains about infiltration of Mujahideen through Line of Control (LoC). No one can deny that these things are happening but are the Indian and Pakistani states are involved in another issue.
The composite dialogue which resulted in four rounds of talks was put on halt after November 2008 Mumbai attacks. However, the understanding reached between two countries during Sharm-el-Sheikh proved to be a breakthrough in resumption of talks. In case India had not wrapped the offer for talks in bucket full of instigating statements, Pakistani Foreign Secretary talks with his India counterpart would have proved productive. Average Indian and Pakistani national not only feel talks encouraging but are also hopeful about understandings. Many analysts consider the recent development as next stage of Sharm-el-Sheikh understanding between India and Pakistan. In the mist of western propaganda, the Indian public reaction and New Delhi’s decision to call off all talks was but natural. But once it has been established that Mumbai attacks were western conspiracy then why are we shy in informing this to public. Had the American intelligence been honest in providing intelligence tip to New Delhi regarding Mumbai attacks and Pakistani connection with David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, they would have not flatly refused handing over these agents to India.
It is sad to observe that Indian offer for talks with Pakistan coincided with a launch of a ballistic missile Agni-III on the coast of Orissa. Although, the launch failed to bag desired results but DRDO claims that the new weapon was designed to carry nuclear warheads weighing 1.5 tons and has range of over 3,500 kilometers. Obviously, Pakistan would also like to return the warm shake hand by India in the same manner for the balance of power in the region. Pakistan may carryout new missile test of one of the three last year’s successes in solid propellants powered missile system or simply by refusing the Indian offer. But is this going to remove the bottle necks between the two countries? If the answer is in negative, then both the countries need to behave mature and should not miss the opportunities of Foreign Secretaries level talks and SAARC conference to shed their differences. This is a high time that all South Asian neigbbours including Afghanistan, Iran and China should come closer to work for peace and harmony in the region.