India's foreign policy failure wrt pakistan from position of strength.

ajtr

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Hello people,
One thing always wonders me that why indian leaders/pms were always a letdown in foreign policy wrt to pakistan.From nehru to Manmohan singh all pm offered olive branch to pakistan only to be backstabbed later.But then why dont indian pms/leaders/political class/media etc cant see through this vice double game of pakistan and keep on starting aman ki asha every time.Now that MMs and shiv shankar menon combo team of Sharm-e-sheikh fiasco are back with their olive branch again to pakisstan under usa pressure as it was last year in july at Sharm-e-sheikh,i thought its necessary to start a thread to keep an eye on this olive branch too as another fiasco by MMS team waiting to happen through various news article just to give perceptive as wats happening.

India willing to normalise ties with Pakistan: Krishna

India has indicated its willingness to normalise ties with Pakistan following indications that Islamabad is serious about prosecuting the masterminds of the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008. The first step in this direction would be the Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s end of the month visit to Rawalpindi to attend a meeting of SAARC Ministers where he could “get a chance to have useful exchanges” with Pakistani leaders in addition to the planned multilateral meetings, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told newspersons accompanying him for a visit to Kuwait.

Taking note of Pakistan’s readiness to accept the lone surviving gunman’s confessional statement as evidence to prosecute the planners of the Mumbai attacks and other evidence with respect to boats used to ferry the attackers from Karachi, Mr. Krishna said India interpreted these as constructive signals. “Any step forward in the direction of Pakistan also investigating the Mumbai attacks will certainly make it easier for India to carry out normalisation of business with Pakistan,” observed Mr. Krishna.

Asked whether India would move in the direction of reviving the composite dialogue if Pakistan continued to show resolve to bring to book its nationals involved in the Mumbai attacks, the Minister felt “India should be quite satisfied with Pakistan taking a few steps to investigate the Mumbai attacks”. He hoped Pakistan would continue to focus its attention on rooting out elements plotting violence in India and termed such an attitude as “extra helpful” to Indo-Pak bilateral relations and dialogue.

The External Affairs Minister had given indications of the possibility of a change in India’s position a day earlier when he said the “doors were not closed” to talks with Pakistan but it should continue to demonstrate its steadfastness to combating anti-India formations.

India had broken off all talks with Pakistan immediately after the Mumbai terror attacks but unlike the rift in bilateral ties after the Parliament House attacks in December 2001, it had not sundered people-to-people and trade links in the hope that the Pakistani leadership would also take the fight against terrorism to its eastern borders with India

‘India’s security problems are graver than America’s in relation to jehadi terrorism’



Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Coll, author of books such as Ghost Wars and The Bin Ladens, was South Asia bureau chief for The Washington Post between 1989 and 1992, during which he did some incisive reporting and writing about Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In an interview with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta on NDTV 24x7’s Walk the Talk, Coll speaks about terror in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Obama’s response to terror.

Steve, from the time when you were in India, 1989 on, there was trouble in Afghanistan. We travelled for some of those stories together, during the first jehad, the ‘good jehad’. Those look like such innocent times now.

Yeah, they do. It was an accident of professional assignment to be travelling in that first jehad and understand how complicated it was and what the structures were that were feeding this pattern of radicalisation during that war, particularly in Pakistan. And because US policy was so heavily involved in the first jehad, in the anti-Soviet jehad, and I was out there for The Washington Post, my colleagues thought I was a little obsessed with subjects like ISI, and how the pipeline worked and what the political choices were. A whole generation of journalists that grew up in that time understood after 9/11 the sort of deep structures that had created that.

Choose how protected you want to be, easily
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So we all became terror junkies or intrigue junkies or ISI junkies?

ISI junkies, yeah. But for many journalists who travelled there, Afghanistan itself sort of gets under your skin. It’s a place apart. I have travelled just about everywhere and there is really no place quite like it. Its independence, the way geography has sort of encapsulated the culture, the fact that it is a fairly young modern state but also a very old culture. And there is something about it, in war time also, that shaped the experiences of at least my generation of foreign correspondents. Lot of colleagues lost their lives, you saw a lot of suffering among Afghan civilians…this was a country that had been broken by outsiders but it was also very powerful.

Also, it is a very strange country where every tribe is like a sovereign republic. And yet, every tribe has more tribesmen in the neighbouring country than in Afghanistan. There are more Pashtuns in Pakistan than Afghanistan. More Tajiks in Tajikistan than Afghanistan... It is a peculiar place.

But the other thing that happened during that time--especially the period in the early 90s, after the Soviet left but before the Mujahideen triumphed in 1992--was that under Najeebullah, there was a state, however weak, however limited in Kabul. But there was a state that was shared by Afghans of all sorts of tribes and language groups and ethnic traditions. And so, that idea that there really was an Afghanistan worth fighting for did somehow survive, at least that phase of the war. After 9/11, it was common in the United States to see Afghanistan just as an ungovernable space dominated by tribes that would submit to no one. And I think a lot of journalists who had been around in that period when we were there, recognised that while tribal identity is important in Afghanistan, there is also a state.

And there is an Afghan nationalism. Very powerful.

Why is Afghanistan resilient under the pressure that it has faced and despite policy failures? It is because Afghans themselves are still trying to reclaim their own state.

Is that understood in Washington?

I think, partially. The one thing that has happened in the United States since 9/11 is that in the military, there are a lot of Americans who have now spent a lot of time on the ground in Afghanistan. They have now started to understand the place at the level of depth that was not available inside the system before 9/11. But, there is still an argument in Washington about what we were discussing, which is, is there really an Afghanistan that is worth investing in?

Like Iraq. If they pull out, can they leave behind a country that is still a hole, a sovereign hole?

Well, at least it can defend itself from the coercive revolutionary movements like the Taliban.

Or the ISI.

Or the ISI. Well, those two have been partners.

We started by saying we are a generation of ISI obsessed reporters. No city in the world is more obsessed with the ISI than New Delhi.

The ISI is a state within the state in Pakistan. It is a deep structure that has affected the Pakistani history and constrained the space in which Pakistani elites make very important decisions about their own national security doctrine. (But) the more you scrutinise ISI, the more you realise that like the Pakistani state itself, it is constrained by its own blind spots. It has internal diversity, there are arguments, there is corruption, there are multiple motivations going on at the same time. So, it is not as powerful as I think it sometimes gets represented as being, but its place today, within a very important debate in Pakistan about what kind of country Pakistan wants to be and what kind of defence and national security doctrine it wants to pursue, is still as powerful today as it was in the 80s.

On which side of that debate do you think the ISI belongs to now?

My impression from recent travel in Pakistan--that is over the last five-six years--is that since the Red Mosque incident (the July 2007 siege of Lal Masjid in Islamabad) and the emergence of domestic insurgency in Pakistan, ISI, like the Army, has no one view. There is an argument about where Pakistan’s interests lie exactly, with which group? What should we do with these groups tomorrow? What are the costs and benefits of pursuing the use of jehadi groups as an instrument of regional policy? Should we pursue it with some groups and not the other groups? And you see this playing out in the actions they are taking. So they will go after the Tehreek-e-Taliban, because those groups have explicitly made war against the ISI and the Pakistani states. But they are undecided, I would say, about the other groups, like Lashkar.

Some of us here think we are eternal skeptics on ISI and Pakistan. I, for example, have been writing that the Pakistanis, and the ISI in particular, are now indulging in a game of double nuancing. So they have got three sets of groups. They have got the Pakistani Taliban, who they will fight, because they threaten the Pakistani state and the Pakistani Army. There is the Afghan Taliban, who they will help the Americans fight a little bit but it does not suit them to have the Americans winning it. They would rather have a situation where both sides get tired and they can broker some kind of peace and install a friendly government. And then there is an entirely different third set, the Lashkar and the Jaish, who are still seen by many as a tactical and strategic asset or a force multiplier against India.

Do you think that is still reasonable?

That’s too reasonable. I think that I would add a couple of layers to that observation. One is that if you look at ISI’s own history, it is obvious that a pattern of failure is that they cannot control or categorise these groups as successfully as they would like to. And I think they become aware of the limits of their own “client management skills”. So, they have lost control of the lines of categories in this movement and they are aware of that to some extent because people they used to trust have walked into their cantonments and detonated themselves and taken the lives of their colleagues.

So, if I may use a metaphor that is relevant to the weather today, the ISI is getting caught or getting lost in the fog of the war it has created.

I think to some extent that is true. And it is certainly true in reference to the western groups. I mean to relationship between the Pakistani Taliban and the Afghan Taliban, remnants of the Al Qaeda group, group from Punjab that have migrated up to the border and now fused themselves with Tehreek-e-Taliban. That’s a mess. Unfortunately, they have not made a fundamental break with the idea of using these groups against India.

I am sorry to use the sort of Clausewitzian concept of ‘fog of war’ because a war that ISI is fighting is not a war that strategic theorist Carl Philipp Gottlieb von Clausewitz would have imagined.

Yeah, there was a suicide attack in Muzaffarabad the other day, first time in years. It shows that the old structure is in turmoil and the ISI is not in control in the command booth the way it used to be. I am hopeful, though not optimistic, but I think you have to keep your mind open to the possibility that there is a debate going on among Pakistani elites, including the Army, about where their self-interest lies as individuals, where their corporate-interest lies as an Army, as an institution and where the national interest lies.

That is the question. What will drive them? Their own interest, corporate interest or national interest or a trinity of these or a hatred for India.

Well, I think if you look around the world, there is no conflict like this one. There is no state like India and Pakistan.

There is no state like Afghanistan. God never made one.

But there are lots of examples of very large countries that were debilitated by conflict, by internal conflict and by Frankenstein’s monsters that they created themselves that found their way out of that box through economic integration. So, I think the only answer that will create this tri-effective motivations--individual self-interest; corporate self-interest, that is the Army’s self-interest in access to enough GDP growth to be able to modernise, and national self-interest, the sense of how Pakistan can possibly survive and succeed--depends on normalisation within there. The end. That is where Pakistan’s national self-interests lie.

When you talk to people from that side--ISI, Pakistani Army, people who call the shots in Pakistan--do you think some of these changes are coming?

There was a minority of very senior officers around Musharraf who started pushing this argument forward. Musharraf himself, obviously for his own flawed reasons--ego, legacy project, all of that--was interested in this idea. The trouble is that the institutional arrangements in Pakistan have collapsed.

The only functioning institution is the Army.

…and it has got its hands full. The experience of Pakistan that is felt by the Army today is not only dominated by the very active insurgency that is targetting them, assassination attempts against brigadiers, suicide bombers penetrating cantonment perimeters. They are under siege. But they are also politically under siege. After Musharraf’s collapse, you meet young officers and they would talk very openly about the hostility that they met on the street in that period. The Army was discredited. Now, they have started rebuilding their position but they are back-footed in significant ways.

But will it be tempting to rebuild their position by reviving the fears of India, contempt for India or hatred for India?

I think they are doing that now to some extent. I think it is a combination of a mindset that is sincerely held, however misguided. It is deeply embedded in the culture of the officer, it’s the ethos that these very talented, well-educated young men are drilled in from the moment they go to the military academy.

But do you see a change? What happens when they look at India? Is there envy, is there admiration or is there still insecurity and hatred?

Let’s talk about the Pakistani elites more broadly than the Army. So, let’s include the globalised political parties and the rising middle class, media culture and let’s think about Karachi and Lahore, not just the core command. In that Pakistan, there is a profound understanding of where India is and where it is going. And a combination of envy, desire to be a part of that sub-continental transformation… So I think something important is changing in the broader mindset of the Pakistani elites and Pakistan. But the Army, as a corporate institution, still feels that it is engaged in internal competition, and still wonders about its place, if it accepts a different narrative about India.

For the Army, it is a market.

Well, it’s how they have made themselves indispensable. I was in Indonesia this summer, and you know again, let’s admit that there is not a lot of value in some of these comparisons. Indonesia (is) a very large, very troubled, post-colonial state with irrational borders, internal separatist movements and a long history of troubled civil-military relations, (but) it is a success story of jaw-dropping proportions. Why? Fundamentally because they are integrated into South-East Asia’s economy and integrated into China and India’s rise and nobody, no force, no civilian politician, no young talented son of a general who has just gotten his MBA and come home, wants to go back to the old way.

And you think that could happen with Pakistan?

I do. I absolutely do.

And what could India do to help that process? Because that is really what we want. We don’t want a military victory over Pakistan.

Of course, it is in India’s interest to have Pakistan succeed in this way. So I think that all the evidence of the history of the Indo-Pakistan conflict and comparable conflicts elsewhere is that progress comes not government-to-government but business-to-business, people-to-people, travel, opening up of borders, forcing this sense of debate into the Pakistani system by enabling it through cross-border interactions. It is very difficult, as Musharraf and Manmohan Singh discovered, to do this top-down, as a big, grand bargain between two relatively isolated cabinets. It is hard to do it that way. That leadership is important but I think Manmohan’s leadership is important.

Interesting that you say this because that is why the decision of the IPL franchises of not buying Pakistani cricketers is such a shocker and so terrible. It will play so badly in Pakistan. I almost feel like saying nationalise the IPL, shut this tournament because this is damage.

People’s expectations have changed on both the sides. People in both the countries want to live in societies where it is possible for Pakistani cricketers to play in the IPL and not be bothered about visas and travel and the rest of it.

Steve, go back to some of the work you have done and you are doing. Ghost Wars, your masterpiece. You got obsessed with the Bin Laden family more than anybody does, except may be Osama himself.

Well, he has been out of the family’s good graces for some while. Like a lot of journalists who spent time in Saudi Arabia, I always felt frustrated that it is a very difficult place to work in as an outsider. It is a very closed society, it has no press, it has no points of access and yet the more you travel there and get to know the sort of modern, globalised elites, not just the royal family but the next two or three layers down, you realise there is a fascinating story that is not really told. So, I thought the family was a way to just talk right in specific details about what it was like to come of the age in Saudi Arabia during the royal boom. Because it was a crazy time to be not just a member of the Bin Laden family but any comparable business family in Saudi Arabia.

Give us a sense of how different Obama’s understanding of the problem is? Is there a feeling that he is not quite sure he wants to go all guns blazing because that was what Bush was doing? Is he being seen as soft?

I don’t think that is his political problem. His problem in the United States is very specific, which is, that the Independents that sent him to the White House expected two things. That he would concentrate on their economic insecurity and that he would change the way of Washington, attack the culture of corruption, attack the role of money in politics. And he has done many of the things he said he would do. He said that he would responsibly draw down on Iraq and concentrate on Afghanistan, he said he would deliver health care reforms, that he would deliver new energy policy. He has done all the things he said he would do, except that he has not been able to fix the job picture very rapidly. It may not be in the power of any President to do so.

But is he seen as soft on terrorism?

He is not, not yet. He weathered the criticism that was delivered against him by the Republican Party during his Afghan policy review and after the Christmas Flight 253 incident.

The underwear bomb…

Yeah, the underwear bomb. His communication wasn’t always perfect but he recovered from some initial hesitation and I think was able to demonstrate that America has learnt something about terrorism and is not inclined to overreact or to think about an attack like Flight 253 in 2010 the same way we thought about it as a country in 2001. And India is a model for this. A lot of other democracies have dealt with the problem of persistent terrorism without surrendering their values.

That is the most fascinating thing about your latest article in the New Yorker, where you said that America is now changing as a democracy. It is becoming better at dealing with terrorism and Al Qaeda is declining. You also use India’s example--the way Manmohan Singh dealt with 26/11, keeping restraint and his re-election. How are democracies getting better at dealing with this?

I think India’s security problems are graver than America’s, in relation to jehadi terrorism. But the larger point that I was trying to draw was, I think anyone who has lived in democracies where terrorism has been persistently present over a long period of time--Great Britain, Israel, India, even places like Spain, Indonesia--you can see a pattern in which a democracy goes through stages of learning about how to deal with the persistence of terrorism…and an idea of how to balance security and openness. And the United States essentially began that learning process on 9/11.

Having said that, the United States is quite fortunate, because the jehadi terrorist threat is quite small in comparison to what India continues to face. So, in that sense, we can afford to be resilient because we are not challenged the same way. But I do think that Obama is speaking for a majority, when he says--as Blair said after 7/7--we are not going to let them define us every time they attack. We are going to be vigilant, we are going to be aggressive in our forward defence, but we are not going to play their game and I think Americans support that general idea of how to respond to that threat.

In India, the general feeling is that Obama is a bit fuzzy-headed. Maybe that comes with having dealt with Bush, who had no clutter because he had no detail. Also, his fixing a time-limit for withdrawal of forces has not worked very well.

A lot of young presidents, without previous experience of executive leadership on the international stage, learn in the first year that the world does not conform to the plans they had during the campaign. So, if you look at Obama’s first year, his strengths abroad have been the things that he planned to do, speeches he had already written in his head, the Cairo speech, the Nobel speech. Those kinds of things he is brilliant at and he has represented the United States abroad in the ways that he had promised to do and certainly changed the equation between United States and Europe in a very constructive way. So those things, he has done well. A lot of first year presidents--George W Bush was one of them, Clinton was another--discover that the world has its own shocks and its own surprises. And at this point in Bush’s presidency, 9/11 had happened and he was thinking that Saddam Hussein was responsible. So, you know, you learn on the job unfortunately, when the world comes at you in these surprising ways.

The Afghan decision was an example of how he had a plan that he thought Afghanistan was going to conform to the plans they had formed during the campaign and during the transition.

Last year, at a conference in Brussels, Ahmed Rashid, who has done some of the most significant work in Central Asia and Afghanistan, predicted that the next big attack will come in Europe and that the next Mohamed Atta could be blonde and blue-eyed. Scary, given that the US just caught David Coleman Headley and he would have carried out an attack in Europe. Has that been worrying you? Al Qaeda being able to attract or recruit more and more non-conventional ethnicities.

Well, that pattern, that threat has really been present since 2002 and I think the US government has been aware of it all that time and has been trying to think about how to defend against it. The difficulty in Europe is that the barriers to movement and formation of talented cells are smaller than they are in the US. The thing that worries me about Al Qaeda is its pattern of being able to put together talent, really talented people, who are determined to die in an attack. So that was the 9/11 group. Those guys were not nuclear physicists but they were well-educated, smart, determined, careful and willing to learn. So you ask, where is the talent that al Qaeda can recruit?

Or Lashkar from my point of view.

To me, the Lashkar’s style of talent is more worrying in terms of the kind of spectacular game-changing attack that it might be able to produce. I am more worried about India frankly, than I am about Europe or the United States because there is a lot of talent in these Lashkar groups, in the Karachi base. Some of those proselytising networks have been able to recruit and radicalise scientists, doctors and other talented people, and they have a fairly permissive environment. They are not under pressure. So, if they can get from here to there and from there to here, then as we saw on 26/11, they can wreak a lot of havoc. And that was not a representation of the highest level of talent that those groups can put together. That was a sort of medium talented group I would say.

Look at David Coleman. Who would suspect that a man with American passport, American name, American looks would be doing this?

And you know the Nigerian bombers and other examples. They know what passports attract the most scrutiny. They know what nationalities, regardless of their passports, are going to be stopped and scrutinised at borders. So, they are looking for ways to evade that.

Could the Lashkar do it, not only without any help from the ISI but with ISI trying to prevent them?

I think if the ISI is actively trying to prevent them, then it is difficult for them to move too much beyond the fidayeen-suicide bombing model. We saw in 26/11 that could be a very damaging model if you are not lucky and defenders are not fully prepared.

All I can say is, the story is not dying out.

Thank you so much. Glad to see you again.

Transcribed by Shivani Kala
 

ajtr

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Talks will serve little purpose

G Parthasarathy

New Delhi’s India International Centre has a reputation of being a location for quiet dialogue and discussions. Yet, in a widely publicised conference on India-Pakistan relations at the IIC from January 10 to 12, raw emotions got the better of reasoned dialogue. The police had to be called in as people who had been forced to flee their homes in the Kashmir Valley by terrorist organisations, which were allegedly led by some of those participating in the programme, gave vent to their emotions and disrupted proceedings. Sentimentalism in sections of our media about ‘Aman ki Asha’, disregards prevailing realities about public anguish and anger at Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.

India’s Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor recently revealed that some 700 militants from Pakistan were waiting to infiltrate across the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir. General Kapoor added: “The terror infrastructure across the LoC is very much intact and all-out efforts are being made to push inside as many infiltrators as possible.” On January 12, India’s otherwise soft spoken Foreign Secretary, Nirupama Rao, told an audience of American and Indian academics in Delhi: “We have to face hostile forces across our borders with Pakistan.” She added that groups which directed attacks against India, continued to receive the “patronage of powerful forces and institutions in Pakistan.” She asserted, “It is vital this support must stop at once. Any viable process of dialogue with Pakistan is essentially dependent on this requirement, since it is unrealistic to think otherwise.”

While the Foreign Secretary was spelling out the prerequisites for a “viable dialogue process”, talks have continued between the two countries at the highest levels. Over the past two years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has met Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari twice, at New York and Yekaterinburg, and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani on three occasions. The Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan met in Islamabad, New Delhi and New York. While India has continued to engage and talk to Pakistan, a resumption of the composite dialogue process will be counter-productive. Pakistan has used the composite dialogue process to divert attention from its promotion of terrorism within India, by expressing dissatisfaction with India’s approach to issues ranging from Jammu & Kashmir to Siachen, and differences over demarcation of the international boundary in the Sir Creek area.

The composite dialogue process resumed in January 2004, only after then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf assured then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that territory under Pakistan’s control would not be allowed to be used for terrorism against India. Despite this clear linkage between an end to terrorism and the resumption of the composite dialogue process, Pakistan was emboldened to promote terror activities against India by the ill-advised statement of Prime Minister Singh that the composite dialogue process was “irreversible” and would not be affected by acts of terrorism sponsored by Pakistan. At the Havana Non-Aligned Summit in 2006, some others even acted as apologists for Pakistan by suggesting that cross-border terrorism was really the work of ‘non-state actors’.

While our policies should seek to build constituencies for peace within Pakistan, the reality is that policies on India are decided in Pakistan not by the democratically elected rulers in Islamabad but by the military establishment led by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Rawalpindi. The longest meeting that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had in Pakistan during her latest visit to that country was with General Kayani and ISI Chief Shuja Pasha and not with the country’s elected leaders. General Kayani has long-standing links with terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba from his days as the Commander of the 12th Infantry Division in Murree over a decade ago. He is recorded to have described Afghan Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, who masterminded two terrorist attacks on our Embassy in Kabul, as a “strategic asset”.

Thus, little purpose will be served by talking to Pakistan’s civilian leadership on issues of cross-border terrorism, over which they have no control. What is needed is unpublicised backchannel dialogue with Pakistan’s real rulers — its military establishment including the ISI — who should be left in doubt about the consequences of continuing on the path they have chosen.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram is scheduled to visit Pakistan for a SAARC conference. His visit comes just after an astonishing statement by Mr Gilani, a long time protégé of and apologist for his country’s military establishment, that his Government cannot guarantee that there will not be further terrorist attacks on India, emanating from Pakistani territory. As this would be a violation of the assurances given by General Musharraf on January 6, 2004, which led to the resumption of the composite dialogue process, Mr Chidambaram could remind his hosts of the assurances which constituted the basis for talks.

India has also demanded that Pakistan would have to dismantle its infrastructure of terrorism before the dialogue process can be resumed. What precisely we should tell Pakistan is the minimum we expect Pakistan to do — establish its sincerity. The first step would be for Pakistan to stop living in denial and agree to extradite Dawood Ibrahim, the mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai bombings. As American author Gretchen Peters has noted, Ibrahim has the dubious distinction of being the only person Washington has designated both as a ‘Global Terrorist Supporter’ and a ‘Foreign Narcotics Kingpin’.

Second, Pakistan’s former Railways Minister and former Director-General of ISI, Lt Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi, stated in Pakistan’s Senate on March 10, 2004: “We must not be afraid of admitting that the Jaish-e-Mohammed was involved in the deaths of thousands of Kashmiris, the bombing of the Indian Parliament, in Daniel Pearl’s murder and in attempts on President Pervez Musharraf’s life.” In these circumstances, one can surely demand that Pakistan extradite Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, or try him for abetment of murder and terrorism.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the LeT chief, publicly acknowledged in January 2001 that he had organised the attack on the Red Fort in New Delhi. Articles in journals published by him give details of LeT members who have been ‘martyred’ in encounters in Jammu & Kashmir. If, as Pakistan claims, it does not have evidence to nail Hafiz Saeed for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, he could surely be incarcerated and tried for all that he has admitted publicly over the past decade.


Make the Call to Islamabad, Mr. Singh

When it comes to India-Pakistan relations, there seems to be one certainty for 2010: If nothing changes, they will only get worse.


Paul Beckett

We have been told time and again that another attack on India from Pakistan is inevitable. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates reiterated the warning on his recent visit to India and Pakistan, saying that al Qaeda and its affiliated groups – read Lashkar-e-Taiba – were determined to spark another Indo-Pak war.

Even as the dire warnings pour in – "You WILL be attacked!" – the governments of both countries have so far chosen to take the path of least courage. That is, they have maintained the same frozen state of sour relations that has existed since India pushed the international community to push Pakistan to acknowledge that the Mumbai attackers sailed from Karachi and to round up some suspects.

The subsequent trial in Pakistan of some of those allegedly involved has been insufficient to satisfy India that the matter is being treated with adequate seriousness to warrant any thaw. Pakistan, meanwhile, insists it is ready to restart stalled talks with India on a wide range of issues but that India should recognize that Pakistan is doing what it can to stop the menace of terrorism.

In other times, this might all be delicate diplomatic posturing (at best) or (more likely) the predictable utterances of two distrustful nations not quite at war but not really at peace. People would yawn and get on with their lives.

But what neither government appears to be dealing with is the fact that they face a stark deadline: the next, apparently imminent, attack on India.

Once that happens, the political paralysis of repetitive rhetoric that persists today will quickly turn to something much more sinister.

Indian officials already have made it known that limiting their response to diplomacy isn't on the table the next time. They also complained after the Mumbai attacks that when it came to calling Pakistan to vent their anger, they didn't even know whom to call.

Because of the current stalemate in relations, they won't be any better prepared the next time, which will only increase the likelihood that the first meaningful correspondence will be a missile fired into a Kashmiri militant camp.

From there, who knows…But whatever happens, the last several months of posturing will prove an ineffective coolant for the fiery tempers that will ignite. In that scenario, it will likely be U.S. officials who are left desperately trying to apply the balm.

There is still time. Time for what the Obama administration calls a reset. Time for politicians on both sides to show that they can put up some meaningful resistance to the inevitability of deteriorating relations, or worse, when the next strikes comes.

Given all that Pakistan is dealing with now, including the weakness of its own administration's position, the greater potential for such political bravery lies with India.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is said to consider peace with Pakistan one of his top two priorities, along with – and related to – sustained economic growth of close to 10%. And he has the stable position, in the absence of any meaningful opposition, to take a risk as long as his own party lines up to back him. (This time, Mr. Prime Minister, perhaps don't mention Baluchistan.)

Certainly, there are those in the government who will resist any overtures to Pakistan because they feel Pakistan can't yet – or ever – be trusted to deal straight. But he likely would have little quarrel from his public.

"The peace constituency in both countries has actually grown despite our problems," said M.J. Akbar, author and journalist, at a discussion last week. Returning relations to the relative openness that existed before the 1965 war "is a realistic objective, a doable project – part of a process that can be foreseeable in real time, in real space."

Kashmir, he added, won't be solved by 2065, let alone 2011. "But what are we going to do in the meantime?"

At the same discussion, Zahid Hussain, Pakistani author and journalist (he is the WSJ's correspondent in Islamabad) added that in Pakistan, too, "there is a growing consensus among liberal and other political parties that they need to have better relations with India – it's still vague but there is a desire for that."

He added, "The general public there also desires peace. There is no room for us to continue in a state of conflict for long."

Recently there have been rumblings in Delhi that the Indian government might be interested in restarting the stalled "composite dialogue" in the next few months.

Here's where Pakistan can play its part: the Indian government wants something – a real trial, a conviction, a series of convictions, senior Lashkar leaders behind bars for a meaningful period of time – that will give it the opening to make the call.

That is something Islamabad's government, however weak, should strive mightily to deliver so that Delhi's call doesn't come too late.

—Paul Beckett is the WSJ's South Asia bureau chief, based in New Delhi.
 
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Time for talks as PC heads to Pindi

In the first clear sign of its inclination to resume the stalled dialogue with Pakistan, the UPA government on Wednesday formally announced the visit of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram to Pakistan later this month to attend a SAARC meeting.

Ending the uncertainty over Chidambaram’s visit, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna even indicated here that the home minister might hold a separate bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik. The three-day SAARC home ministers’ meet will begin on February 26.

“He (Chidambaram) will get a chance to have very useful exchanges with his counterparts and other leaders in Pakistan,” said the external affairs minister. Krishna on Tuesday said that New Delhi had never shut the door for talks with Islamabad.

Chidambaram will be the first Indian minister to visit Pakistan since May 2008. The UPA government had suspended substantive bilateral dialogue in the wake of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, almost 15 months ago.

Though Krishna maintained that the visit may not push forward the process of resuming the Indo-Pak composite dialogue on eight important identified issues, all indications emanating from the government suggested to the contrary.

“We can consider moving ahead (towards resumption of composite dialogue) only if he (Chidambaram) comes back satisfied that the Pakistani government is really addressing our concerns,” said a highly placed source. But these sources also gave very strong indications that he will return “satisfied.”

For, the sources said that Chidambaram’s visit to Rawalpindi might be followed by a meeting between Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir. The two foreign secretaries are the key officials put in charge of conducting and overseeing the composite dialogue. The sources though added that a meeting between the two foreign secretaries would not be for setting in motion the composite dialogue process all over again.

Islamabad has been pressing New Delhi for early resumption of the dialogue process. But India has been maintaining that the dialogue could be resumed only on evidence of Islamabad taking credible steps to book all Pakistani nationals involved in the 26/11 attacks.

Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani recently pushed hard for restarting the talks. He said India and Pakistan could not afford a war and the only way forward for them was to hold talks.

India and Pakistan had started the composite dialogue in February 2004 on eight identified issues such as Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek and terrorism. Some breakthroughs on a couple of these issues were expected almost four years ago and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had contemplated his first official visit to Pakistan in mid-2006 to announce the breakthrough.

However, neither a prime ministerial visit nor a breakthrough has materialised till date. India is apparently not against some “measured contacts” with Pakistan and the sources even indicated New Delhi’s willingness to discuss with Islamabad issues like release of Indian and Pakistani fishermen detained in each other’s country as well as people-to-people contacts.

The Prime Minister had made an aborted bid last July to restart the dialogue process during his meeting with Gilani at the Egyptian city of Sharm-el-Sheikh. But the controversial Indo-Pak joint statement that was issued after Singh-Gilani meeting had drawn flak from the opposition as it allegedly de-linked the Composite Dialogue between the two countries and Islamabad’s actions against terrorists based in Pakistan.

According to sources, if the Congress leadership gives its go-ahead to the Government and Pakistan makes a few moves – even if symbolic – to curb anti-India terrorist outfits; Singh may go in for a high-profile meeting with Gilani on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Bhutanese capital Thimphu from April 28 to 29. Such a meeting might signal full resumption of the bilateral dialogue process.

Obama must encourage Kashmir-talks: US services chief

NEW DELHI: A top US military commander has spoken in favour of American intervention on Kashmir saying improved relationship between India and

Pakistan is important to the success of the US war in the Af-Pak region. US military commander Admiral Mike Mullen said the Obama administration should encourage back channel talks between India and Pakistan on Kashmir. ``As part of our long-term regional approach, we should welcome all steps these important nations (India and Pakistan) take to regenerate their ‘back channel’ process on Kashmir,’’ Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

India has not taken kindly to suggestions of an intervention on the Kashmir issue and considers the matter a bilateral issue between New Delhi and Islamabad. Even the US in public statements has always endorsed the Indian line. However, Admiral Mullen told US Senators that US efforts in the region were complicated by the “animosity and mistrust” between Pakistan and India. “Yet India and Pakistan must both be our partners for the long term. Bilateral military relationships are an essential component in a wide array of cooperative activities,” he said.

``We must recognise this and address it as part of our policy. While we acknowledge the sovereign right of India and Pakistan to pursue their own foreign policies, we must demonstrate our desire for continued and long-term partnership with each, and offer our help to improve confidence and understanding between them in a manner that builds long-term stability across the wider region of South Asia,” Admiral Mullen said.

These remarks come amid reports that Lashkar-e-Toiba might be planning a major attack in India. CIA director Leon Panetta told US lawmakers that another strike would undermine US efforts in Pakistan as it would lead to an increase in tension between India and Pakistan

“A particular concern is Lashkar-e-Toiba which, if it should conduct an attack against India, could very well undermine our efforts in Pakistan,” Mr Panetta said in remarks that support Admiral Mullen’s conclusions on Indo-Pak ties and US efforts in the Af-Pak region.

Mr Panetta was appearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence where he also flagged the concern of al-Qaeda attacks on the United States. The US intelligence agencies say that another attempted terrorist attack on the US in the coming months is certain with al-Qaeda remaining the top security threat.

Mr Panetta maintained terrorists were pursuing an effort to try to strike at the US in three ways. The first effort included deploying individuals like Zazi and LeT operative David Coleman Headley in the country and the second by using terrorists who had “clean credentials” like Abdulmutallab.

“And the third is the loner, an individual like Hasan (Texas military base shooter) who, out of self-radicalisation, decides that the moment has come to engage in an attack by himself,” Mr Panetta said.

Admiral Mullen also said threats to US national security from al-Qaeda and affiliated movements in the Af-Pak region remained real. ``We require a stable and reasonably secure Afghanistan and Pakistan — inhospitable to al-Qaeda’s senior leadership, capable of self defence against internal extremist threats and contributors to regional stability,” he said.


‘A few steps’ on 26/11 is all India wants from Pak

NEW DELHI: As international pressure mounts on India to resume dialogue with Pakistan, external affairs minister S M Krishna on Wednesday dropped

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ample hints that New Delhi might finally be lowering the bar a notch or two to allow Pakistan a seat at the negotiating table. The minister said that just ``a few steps'' from Pakistan on the 26/11 investigations could ensure resumption of the composite dialogue process between the two countries.

On his way to Kuwait for an official visit, Krishna said India would be ``quite satisfied'' with ``a few steps'' by Pakistan in the course of 26/11 investigations. The minister said it would make it ``easier for India to carry on normal business with Pakistan''.

Krishna also confirmed that home minister P Chidambaram would be representing India at the SAARC meeting of home ministers in Rawalpindi on February 26 and 27. This is the first official announcement of Chidambaram's scheduled visit to Pakistan.

But while all these mark a recasting of India's stance, the government still seems to suggest that the onus for re-engagement rests with Pakistan. For, while Krishna's remarks seem to reflect PMO's desire for a thaw in tensions, his emphasis that Pakistan needed to take "a few steps" is seen as underlining Congress leadership's insistence that meaningful and sustained dialogue will have to wait till Islamabad takes some demonstrable steps to bring the 26/11 masterminds to book.

"We are trying to focus their attention also on terrorism. It would be extremely helpful for our bilateral relationship and dialogue (if they take these measures)," Krishna said.

Krishna, however, did not rule out a bilateral meeting between Chidambaram and his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik. "Chidambaram will get a chance to have very useful exchanges with his counterparts and other leaders in Pakistan," he added.

Chidambaram's visit will be the first by an Indian minister to Pakistan since May 2008 when then foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee had gone there for the composite dialogue process.

"Any step forward in the direction of Pakistan also investigating the Mumbai attacks will certainly make it easier for India to carry out normalization of business with Pakistan," Krishna said.

Krishna's statement came on a day top US military commander Admiral Mike Mullen asserted that the Obama administration should encourage ``all steps these important nations (India and Pakistan) take to regenerate their `back channel' process on Kashmir''.

Pakistan has been strongly pushing for resumption of the Indo-Pak composite dialogue stalled after the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008. India however has till now maintained that for the dialogue to resume, Pakistan has to not just punish the Mumbai attacks accused but also dismantle the terror infrastructure in the country.

Krishna's statement comes a day after he said in Delhi that the doors were not closed for talks with Pakistan. Sources said that the Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries could also meet after the SAARC meeting later this month. This, however, has not been confirmed till now by the MEA. ``Even if the talks do take place, the focus would be on terror and related issues and not on the peace process,'' said an official.
The prime ministers of the two countrie
 

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LeT reverts to Kashmir cause at anti-India rally

MUZAFFARABAD/NEW DELHI: The Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) jehadi outfit through its banned frontal organisation the Jama'at-ud-Dawaah (JuD) Thursday vowed to revert to the "Kashmir freedom cause" and continue supporting a separatist campaign in the insurgency-riven state of India.
It was announced at an anti-India jehadi rally organised to express "solidarity with Kashmir" in Pakistan-administered Kashmir by the JuD, where United Jehad Council chief Syed Salahuddin said they would settle for "nothing less than complete freedom of Kashmir from India".
Leaders of radical jehadi groups and terror outfits based in Pakistan-administered Kashmir participated in the rally, which was attended by thousands of people, including men and women, eye witnesses told IANS over phone.
Among those who attended the rally were top jehadi leaders, including JuD leader Abdul Rehman Makki and other militants commanders.
The rally in Pakistani Kashmir's capital Muzaffarabad came amid reports that India has sent a formal proposal to Pakistan for talks between the foreign secretaries of the two countries, stressing that it will carry on these discussions with "an open and positive mind".
But New Delhi was also keeping a close watch on the meeting 'Yakjehti-e-Kashmir' (Solidarity with Kashmir) the JuD held after lying low for over a year following the Mumbai terror attacks. The 26/11 attacks that India blamed on LeT left 166 people dead.
The Thursday gathering comes a day before Pakistan is to observe the annual Kashmir Solidarity Day Feb 5. Pakistan has announced Friday as a public holiday for "continued support to the Kashmir struggle".
Salahuddin said India was "leaving no choice except for jehad in Kashmir as previous experiment of dialogue had proved to be a complete failure".
He said that "jehad will change the entire geo-political structure of the sub continent, as it will also free much-oppressed Indian Muslims", according to Online news agency of Pakistan.
He however said he was ready for "serious and conducive dialogue, with real-time results".
JuD's chief of Pakistan-administered Kashmir chapter Abdul Aziz Alvi addressed the gathering and vowed to continue supporting "the freedom movement in Kashmir".
"Alvi in his emotional speech said that JuD will support at every cost the Kashmir cause to achieve Kashmiris' birth right of self-determination according to the United Nations resolutions," Jahanzeb Khan, one of the participants in the rally, told IANS over phone.
The meeting is seen as the LeT's stepped up approach to shift its focus back on Jammu and Kashmir.
LeT chief Haafiz Saeed, blamed by India as one of the main conspirators of the 26/11 attacks, is expected to address a similar rally in Islamabad Friday.
Many outfits have announced demonstrations and rallies in several cities and towns of Pakistan, according to official Associated Press of Pakistan news agency.
"As a mark of respect to the struggle of Kashmiris, one-minute silence would be observed, bringing all rail and road traffic across the country to a standstill," APP reported.
Former chief of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) Hamid Gul, who was also an invitee to the Muzaffarabad conference, said the Pakistan government was aware about the jehadi rally.
Gul rejected New Delhi's apprehensions about the rally.
"If India is feeling unhappy, let them (be)," Gul told news channel Times Now. He said the meeting was "an important human cause" and India should "face the bitter truth in Kashmir".
Denying that the JuD, banned by the UN, was a terror outfit, Gul said: "India and Pakistan should make clear the distinction between terrorists and freedom fighters."
The meeting also comes as foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan are likely to meet after Home Minister P. Chidambaram's expected visit to Islamabad later this month, brightening the chances of resumption of the composite dialogue that stalled after the 26/11 terror attacks.

Pak not to accept any talks short of composite dialogue

Seeking “result-oriented and sustained” talks with India, Pakistan has said it will accept no format of engagement other than the composite dialogue, which has been stalled since the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan will not be interested in “talks for the sake of talks,” Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told the Dawn newspaper.

“We want result-oriented and sustained dialogue and no format of engagement other than composite dialogue will be acceptable to us,” he said.

Mr. Basit was responding to statements made by External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and other indications that India may take some steps to normalise bilateral ties, which have been under considerable strain since the Mumbai attacks.

However, the spokesman said the Pakistan Foreign Office will assess any Indian proposal and see if it can help revive the composite dialogue, four rounds of which since 2004 had led to practical steps by both countries to enhance cooperation on several issues and address outstanding matters.

Reports that India wanted “measured contacts” instead of the full-fledged resumption of the composite dialogue were not well received by the Foreign Office, sources told PTI.

India has linked the resumption of the peace process to Pakistan taking action against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

Mr. Krishna said on Wednesday that Home Minister P. Chidambaram will attend a conference of SAARC Interior Ministers in Pakistan during February 26-27.

Mr. Chidambaram will have a chance to have “very useful exchanges” with his counterparts and other leaders in Pakistan during the visit, Mr. Krishna said.

The Dawn reported that the Pakistan Foreign Office appeared “to be unclear about what sort of engagement India desired.”

Mr. Chidambaram’s upcoming visit to Islamabad to attend the SAARC meeting is expected to be the “first step towards normalisation of ties,” it said.

The delegation expected to be led by Mr. Chidambaram will be the highest official Indian team to visit Pakistan since the Mumbai attacks.

Since then, leaders of the two sides have only met on the sidelines of several multilateral fora like the U.N. General Assembly.

Keywords: Composite dialogue, India-Pakistan talks, Pakistan Foreign Office, Abdula Basit, S.M. Krishna, Shah Mahmood Qureshi


India must prop up Pakistan


Mohammed Yahya Ansari

It is unfortunate that things have come to such a pass that the possibility of peace between India and Pakistan is in serious jeopardy. I write this in the hope that cordial relations between the two countries will not elude future generations. For, there can be no prosperity in South Asia unless and until India and Pakistan sort out all outstanding issues between them. If things continue the way they are, Pakistan will deteriorate into a failed state which in turn will become a constant irritant to the development and progress of India. Thus, peace and mutual understanding is the only way forward.

It is true that there are forces that do not want friendly relations between the two countries. This is why the political leaders of both India and Pakistan need to go the extra mile to steer relations towards normalisation. They should explore the seminal points of co-existence and eschew the present realpolitik approach to bilateral ties.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a man with a vision and can follow in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to give India-Pakistan relations a fresh lease of life. India can emerge as a regional superpower only if it is able to find amicable solutions to the problems it shares with Pakistan. Nonetheless, at the same time, let it be known that cordial relations between the two neighbours cannot be achieved through India’s unilateral efforts alone. Pakistan too needs to reciprocate in kind.

The Kashmir imbroglio and other festering issues can be resolved through statesmanship. The low-hanging fruits accruing from the Manmohan-Musharraf backchannel diplomacy can easily be plucked and further built upon. The issue of terrorism can also be jointly tackled. True, 26/11 is still fresh in public memory. But the question is: How does one move ahead? We can ignore Pakistan for the time being, but we can’t continue to ignore forever. Happenings in Pakistan are bound to affect us.

India and Pakistan are standing on the cusp of history. All that is required is a nudge towards peace for unprecedented economic well-being to befall the people of the two countries.
 

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India to have Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pak

India on Thursday proposed Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan to discuss terrorism and any other issue that could lead to peace between the two neighbours.

Sources said that the talks offer has been made to Pakistan and a reply is awaited.

At the talks, the sources said, India intends to raise the issue of terrorism and any other matter that could “contribute to creating an atmosphere of peace and security” between the two countries.

India will “enter into the discussions with an open and positive mind” and will raise all “relevant issues,” they said.

India had suspended composite dialogue with Pakistan after the Mumbai terror attacks and refused to restart the process before it sees concrete action taken by Pakistan in punishing those behind the carnage.

The softening of India’s stand came apparently after Pakistan produced evidence against arrested Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists, including its commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi in a court in connection with the Mumbai attacks.

The evidence was based on a series of dossiers provided to Pakistan by India in connection with the incident.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna had indicated two days ago about resumption of the talks when he had said, “doors for talks were never shut.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Krishna said India would be satisfied if Pakistan takes “a few steps” with regard to investigations into the 26/11 carnage.

The offer for Foreign Secretary-level talks comes as Home Minister P. Chidambaram prepares to travel to Pakistan on February 26 to attend the SAARC Interior Ministers’ Conference, which will mark the first high-level visit from India since the November 2008 attacks.

During his visit, Mr. Chidambaram is likely to have a bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik and some other leaders.
Kashmir jihad back in open

Even as India offered to resume dialogue with Pakistan, a meeting of radical and militant groups organised by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) on Thursday vowed to press holy war for “independence” of Kashmir.
They also called for moral support from Pakistan.
A declaration unanimously adopted at Kashmir Solidarity conference organised by the JuD in PoK capital Muzaffarabad said the region’s status as a “base camp” for militant groups should be restored and the ban on Kashmiri jehadi groups should be lifted.
“If the rulers cannot help the Kashmiris, they should open the field for Kashmiri mujahideen instead of creating hurdles. They (mujahideen) will deal with India,” said the declaration issued in Urdu.
The meeting was the first major public event organised by the JuD since the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
“The rulers (of Pakistan) must desist from becoming part of international conspiracies to project the American agenda on Kashmir. The Kashmiri nation will continue its freedom movement with full force despite all conspiracies,” it said.
The radical groups also pledged to foil any effort aimed at forging a “friendship treaty and trade with India”.
The meet was addressed by Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, Al-Badr leader Bakht Zamin, United Jehad Council general secretary Sheikh Jamilur Rehman, senior JuD leaders Abdul Aziz Alvi and Abdur Rehman Makki and former Inter-Services Intelligence agency chief Hamid Gul, JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid said.

We want ‘all-encompassing’ talks: Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday said it wants “all-encompassing” talks with India with the issues of Kashmir and river-water sharing topping the agenda, and wants to be seen as firm that the engagement must take place in the framework of the composite dialogue process.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a television channel that Pakistan would welcome India’s readiness to hold talks with Pakistan after a 14-month hiatus if the engagement would lead to the resumption of the composite dialogue process.

“India is sending signals that they are willing to talk bilaterally. We welcome this if it leads to resumption of the composite dialogue,” he said.

Earlier, speaking at a weekly briefing before India’s proposal for Foreign Secretary-level talks was made public in New Delhi, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said “some proposals” for talks were being discussed, but did not give details.

He said, however, that Pakistan “would welcome first of all the resumption of the composite dialogue because we are for a meaningful engagement with India.”

Mr. Basit disagreed with a questioner over the usefulness of the composite dialogue process in the four years that it provided the framework for India-Pakistan talks before running aground on the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

“I think the process of composite dialogue has been successful in the context of Jammu and Kashmir in generating the possible or the required momentum, and the two countries agreed on a number of confidence-building measures in the context of J&K, so I would not agree with you that the composite dialogue has not been achieved anything concrete,” he said.

Mr. Basit said there were proposals from India for talks and “some discussion” had taken place over this, but declined to make the details public. However, he repeatedly talked about the composite dialogue process as the way forward.

“Pakistan has always believed that it is through genuine and meaningful talks that Pakistan and India can resolve their bilateral disputes, including the long-simmering Jammu and Kashmir and water issues. From our perspective, talks should be all-encompassing and result-oriented,” Mr. Basit said, repeating that Pakistan would “therefore, welcome resumption of the composite dialogue.”

The Dawn newspaper also reported on Thursday that Pakistan would accept no format short of the composite dialogue process.

February 5 is annually observed in Pakistan as Kashmir Solidarity Day, and speaking a day ahead, Mr. Basit said Pakistan would take up the Kashmir issue with India “whenever the composite dialogue was resumed.”

There was no need to be “pessimistic” on Kashmir, the spokesman assured his Pakistani questioner, adding that Pakistan would stand by the people of Kashmir and continue lobbying the international community over the issue until it was resolved in accordance with their aspirations.

Mr. Basit also said Pakistan was weighing all options on what he described as a “breach” of the Indus Water Treaty by India. “We will at the end of the day proceed in accordance with our national interests,” he said.
 

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PM casts peace dice again

New Delhi, Feb. 4: In a swift move tailed on Shiv Shankar Menon’s appointment as national security adviser (NSA), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reactivated the controversial Sharm el-Sheikh resolve today and pushed afresh for dialogue with Pakistan even in the absence of “concrete and demonstrable” action against terror outfits.

The Pakistani foreign secretary has been invited to Delhi for talks on “all relevant issues, including counter-terrorism”. Consultations over the dates are on and sources in the ministry of external affairs (MEA) indicated that talks could well open before home minister P. Chidambaram’s visit to Pakistan towards the month-end for a Saarc meeting.

There isn’t any clarity yet on whether this means the run-up to a resumption of comprehensive dialogue; sources were keener it be seen as “opening a crack in the door to see if and how far we can progress”.

Islamabad welcomed the move with alacrity but notably mentioned Kashmir and water-sharing disputes as issues it would like to flag along with counter-terrorism.

Kashmir is currently in the grip of renewed street ferment; and in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), secessionist and terrorist elements led by Syed Salahuddin of Hizb-ul Mujahideen and Jamaat-ud-Dawa boss Hafiz Saeed have planned a rally to intensify efforts for “Kashmiri liberation”.

A significant aspect of today’s official announcement was that it was not attributable even to unnamed sources in the MEA, the nodal agency for foreign policy pronouncements. “The initiative has come from the very top,” a senior MEA official told The Telegraph. “This is the Sharm el-Sheikh team at work, and it is very clear that they, rather than the MEA, will set the agenda and atmospherics for the dialogue. We will be the instruments.”

External affairs minister S.M. Krishna was flying home from Kuwait at the time the government made its invitation known. By the time Krishna landed in Delhi mid-afternoon, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao had already been on the phone to her Pakistani counterpart, Salman Bashir, and conveyed New Delhi’s wish to resume talks.

But it may not be that Krishna was entirely unaware of what was afoot in his absence; he had struck a newly conciliatory tone on Pakistan while in Kuwait and possibly had more than a hint that a major move was in the works. But government sources confirmed that the decision itself was entirely formulated by the PMO.

Prime Minister Singh and Menon, then foreign secretary, remain chiefly credited with the authorship of the Sharm el-Sheikh statement which delinked composite dialogue with terror-related issues and, in a first, brought up Balochistan as a Pakistani concern.

The agreement was ripped by the Opposition as a sellout and created misgivings within the UPA over whether India had ceded too much to Pakistan in its bid for a breakthrough.

Defending his government following a charged debate in Parliament, Singh had repeated his promise to meet Pakistan “more than half way” if it acted against terror outfits and said, “…the only way forward is to begin to trust each other despite all that has happened in the past…”.

But it has been known for a while that the Prime Minister faced opposition from sections within his own establishment over unlocking the door for dialogue without “concrete progress” on India’s terror grudge, particularly in relation to the Mumbai attack.

The Sharm el-Sheikh agreement was cold-plated. Talks remained a letter of intent, withheld on the grounds that outraged public opinion in India wasn’t prepared to back such a move.

All this time, though, there was a section in Singh’s PMO that advocated his talks-are-the-only-way line, arguing that public opinion was more likely to endorse initiatives for peace rather than continued freeze and tension.

The replacement of M.K. Narayanan by Menon as NSA last fortnight hugely strengthened the stymied peaceniks in the PMO, and the will of the Prime Minister himself to extend a hand despite Islamabad’s failure to deliver on promises.

“Both the PM and the NSA believe very deeply that talking is more helpful than not talking,” said a former diplomat who has interacted with both on Pakistan-related issues. “And together they now make a very heavy policy team.”

It is not entirely insignificant that today’s announcement carries a sharp note of caution on where the initiative might lead, clearly laying the ground for possible failure in terms of Indian objectives. “Let us not prejudge the outcome of the meeting,” it says, keeping expectations low and tempered.

The chief objective at the moment appears to be to break the deadlock and showcase the initiative as New Delhi’s rather than Pakistan’s. “We can only begin to figure where we can go and what we can achieve once we have opened dialogue,” said an advocate of the move in the MEA.

Even so, the decision has, quite like the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement, sparked immediate, and bitter, debate. The BJP questioned the wisdom of opening talks when Pakistan had “done nothing” to address India’s concerns.

“Terrorism is still a big wall between India and Pakistan and Pakistan has shown no will to do anything about something that disturbs the whole nation,” said BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad. “We would like to know what has happened suddenly that the government has decided this, what has changed?”

Former diplomat and commentator G. Parthasarathy sounder a harsher note. “I have no quarrel with talks,” he said, “but what is the government’s great hurry to open dialogue? It will only help Pakistan turn the attention to bilateral issues other than terror, because they will do nothing about it. And the timing is particularly idiotic because it amounts to prejudging Chidambaram’s forthcoming visit. It seems to me the government is not serious about tackling terror.”

But Salman Haider, a former foreign secretary, unreservedly backed the decision saying: “I have no sympathy for those who seek to thwart dialogue, we should look for ways of talking rather than find reasons not to talk. There was a time when conditions were poor and public opinion was stirred but positive developments have taken place and it suggests our larger status as a nation that we have taken the lead in going for talks.”

Haider said he was recently in Pakistan and sensed a “deep and genuine will that our two countries should begin to re-engage”

War against India inevitable if Kashmir dispute not solved soon: Speakers

LAHORE û The long-standing Kashmir dispute should be resolved at the earliest otherwise the war against India would be inevitable. India has practically conducted atomic bombing against Pakistan by building numerous dams in Kashmir. The reduced Pakistani water share would turn the land barren. But thanks to the media, which has brought this critical issue to limelight.
These views were expressed by the speakers at a Forum entitled ‘Kashmir Freedom Movement and Pakistan’ organised by TheNation, Nawa-i-Waqt and Waqt News at the Hamid Nizami Hall here on Wednesday. The speakers included Member Islamic Ideology Council-Azad Kashmir and former Member Kashmir Legislative Assembly Maulana Mohammad Shafi Josh, Member AJK Legislative Assembly and Secretary General People’s Muslim League AJK Chapter Dewan Ghulam Mohyuddin, Director Kashmir Centre Lahore Mirza Mohammad Sadiq Jarral and Central Leader Jamaat-ud-Daawa Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki. Earlier, the speakers also met Editor-in Chief TheNation and Nazria Pakistan Trust (NPT) Chairman Majid Nizami.
Speaking on the occasion, Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki said that the Kashmir issue was put aside during the regime of former President Musharraf that gave India liberty to construct the dams on Pakistani water share. He opined that the Pakistani media should reply in a befitting manner to the Indian channels trying to malign Pakistan in the international community. ôPakistan is in danger. We need to formulate an effective strategy to salvage our sovereignty, and to plead the case of our Kashmiri brethren,ö he remarked. He was of the view that the government should lift the ban from all the genuine religious outfits, and patronise them for Jehad. ôThe war on terror is not ours, but the US has imposed it on Pakistan,ö he clarified. Makki appealed to Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudrhy and Lahore High Court Chief Justice Kh Muhammad Sharif to take suo moto action of the grave situation of water crisis.


India, Pakistan foreign secys to talk about talks

NEW DELHI: The growing pressure on New Delhi from the international community, particularly the US, to re-engage with Islamabad has prompted the

Manmohan Singh government to propose foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan. Although the government indicated that it will not insist on a "terror only" format, the talks will be on how to take the talks forward.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had conveyed the decision to resume dialogue, suspended after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, to her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir on Tuesday. Home minister P Chidambaram’s visit to Pakistan later this month for the Saarc ministerial meeting is expected to lay the groundwork for dialogue.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that he has instructed the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi to discuss the date and venue of the meeting with the Indian side.

At the talks, sources here said, India would raise the issue of terrorism and any other matter that could "contribute to creating atmosphere of peace and security" between the two countries. The willingness to discuss "all relevant issues" would meet the Pakistan’s demand for talks beyond the terror issue. It can also claim to its domestic audience that India is now willing to discuss all controversial issues, including Kashmir.

The apprehensions about adverse political fallout seem to be prompting the government to avoid any mention of the composite dialogue process. "India will enter into the discussions with an open and positive mind and will raise all relevant issues," sources said.

India, which suspended the composite dialogue process after the Mumbai terror attacks, made an attempt to re-start the peace process at Sharm el Sheikh. But the Prime Minister was forced to step back when the decision to delink terror from the composite dialogue process failed to gain support of even his party.


For India and Pakistan, nomenclature triggers more unease than dialogue news analysis


Siddharth Varadarajan
New Delhi: What’s in a name? A lot, apparently, as India and Pakistan agonise over whether the dialogue they would both officially like to start should be called ‘composite’, ‘limited’, ‘measured’ or ‘open-ended.’

When India offered foreign secretary level talks to Pakistan, it decided not to publicise the initiative until Islamabad had responded. But after a fortnight of secrecy, officials here went semi-public on Thursday despite the absence of a Pakistani answer. The reason: to tamp down a potentially damaging controversy over nomenclature.

Mindful of the terminological minefield that sub-continental diplomacy can be, the Indian offer was purposely vague and open-ended.

Pakistani hawks want nothing less than the immediate resumption of the composite dialogue — the multi-track process involving sequential meetings between different sets of officials on a full range of issues from Kashmir and Siachen to trade.

Indian hawks want no dialogue or at best, limited dialogue on one topic — terrorism.

Under the circumstances, the foreign secretary’s invitation was crafted to satisfy Islamabad’s demand for meaningful discussions that went beyond simply reviewing what progress had been made on the 26/11 case, while sidestepping the right-wing charge at home that India’s concerns about terrorism were somehow being diluted.

The problem, however, is that the foreign policy and security establishments in both countries are deeply divided. And that for every official batting for the resumption of engagement on either side, there are many who remain unconvinced and some who feel they should bat for the opposite goal.

On Wednesday, unidentified officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad told the Aaj channel in Pakistan that India had offered the resumption of the composite dialogue. The leak was untrue, but was perhaps intended to tempt the Indian side to issue a denial, thereby killing the process before it had a chance to begin.

A few days earlier, in fact, the waters had already been muddied in Delhi by fleeting Indian wire service reports of “highly placed sources” saying India favoured only “measured” contact with Pakistan and not the resumption of composite dialogue.

The identity of these “sources” was never revealed and the comments themselves never got much play in the Indian press after the MEA realised the damage they might cause.

But in Pakistan, where officials were mulling over how to respond to the Indian offer of “open-ended” talks on all outstanding issues affecting peace and security, this apparently categorical rejection of the composite dialogue by a “highly placed” official did not go down well. That may have been the reason for the ‘leak’ to Aaj.

As with all damage limitation exercises, however, Thursday’s controlled release of information could have unpredictable consequences. Reporters under pressure to cover the story but with no access to additional information get tempted to embellish the barebones narrative with either their own opinion or the views of ‘sources’. Stories can thus emerge which end up destroying the carefully crafted ambiguity that officials worked so hard to introduce in the first place.

As long as the rose is not named, each side can live in hope that it will prevail. But if the two sides start fighting over names at the first sight of a bud, chances are the rose will never bloom.

Given the difficulty with which the latest proposal has emerged out of a divided Indian establishment and the reluctance of a divided Pakistani establishment to do what it takes to build confidence, the battle over what to call the dialogue adds a new and unhelpful layer of complexity.

If the amount of skill and energy being expended on talks about talks about talks were saved up for when the talks really begin, who knows, the two sides might well end up making progress on issues that actually matter.

‘Aman Ki Asha’ bears fruit as India ready for talks

ISLAMABAD: India has formally proposed foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan, an Indian TV reported Thursday.

Pakistan foreign secretary Salman Bashir will fly to New Delhi on Feb 7 for resumption of bilateral talks with India.

Responding to India's proposal, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Thursday said that Pakistan would welcome if the talks lead to the resumption of full dialogue.

The foreign minister said: “There are now signals emanating from India that they are willing to talk bilaterally. We welcome this if it leads to resumption of the composite dialogue”.
 

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Govt urged not to create hurdles for Kashmir jihad

MUZAFFARABAD: Speakers at a conference on Kashmir held here on Thursday called for continuing the jihad in occupied Kashmir till attaining freedom from India and asked the government of Pakistan not to create hurdles for Kashmiri fighters who wanted to achieve this goal on their own.

“As long as Jammu and Kashmir is under Indian subjugation, jihad must continue… Pakistan should continue political, diplomatic and moral support for the Kashmiris seeking freedom.

If Pakistani rulers cannot help Kashmiris, they should let the field open for the Kashmiri militants, instead of creating any obstacles in their way,” said a declaration adopted at the “Solidarity with Kashmir” conference.

The conference was addressed by United Jihad Council chairman Syed Salahuddin, former ISI chief Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Gul, AJK assembly Speaker Shah Ghulam Qadir and Jamaatud Dawa leader Abdur Rehman Makki.

Although the event was organised by the little known Tehrik Azadi-i-Jammu Kashmir, it was in effect a show of Jamaatud Dawa which has been maintaining a low profile in the region since the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The declaration stressed that practical steps were needed to bring an end to Indian repression in Kashmir, instead of observing one-minute silence on the Kashmir Solidarity Day on Feb 5. It said that the ban on all Kashmiri militant groups should be lifted and the role of Azad Jammu Kashmir as the base camp of freedom struggle should be revived.

It said that proposals like “self-governance and demilitarisation” were not a substitute for the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir and Pakistan should not budge from its principled demand of implementation of these resolutions.

Mr Salahuddin said that sacrifices rendered by Kashmiris were not meant for internal autonomy, division or trans-LoC trade, but for freedom of the occupied state.

He asserted that Kashmiris were not opposed to dialogue with India, but 131 rounds of talks held over the past six decades had produced nothing.

“Instead of begging the UN and world powers for Kashmir settlement, we should flex our muscles and revive the spirit of jihad which is bound to get the issue resolved,” he said.

Mr Salahuddin claimed that the armed struggle in Kashmir was nearing success in 2001 when Pervez Musharraf “stabbed the freedom movement in the back”.

The UJC chief rejected Indian allegations about involvement of Jamaatud Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiba in the Mumbai attacks and urged the Pakistan government to end the ban on JuD and release its leader Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.

“He (Lakhvi) is our aide and an active member of the UJC. He has been behind bars for long, although no charges have been established against him,” he said.

Hamid Gul warned India that the jihad would not stop till it granted freedom to Kashmiris.

The AJK assembly speaker assured the gathering that the AJK government would neither accept nor become part of any “sell-out of Kashmir”

India-Pakistan conflict a dilemma for US

WASHINGTON: A major dilemma for the United States in Afghanistan is to reconcile the conflicting security interests of countries like India and Pakistan, says a senior US official.

“The Indians have a legitimate series of security interests in that region, as do a number of other countries including, of course, Pakistan, China, and all the other countries that neighbour on Afghanistan,” said Richard Holbrooke, US special representative for the Pak-Afghan region, when asked to comment on the traditional jostling between Pakistan and India for greater influence in Afghanistan.

“And any search for a resolution of the war in Afghanistan requires that the legitimate security interests of every country be understood and taken into account,” he said.

“The dilemma arises when those security interests tend to be in conflict. Afghanistan has suffered throughout history by the fact that it has sometimes become the terrain for surrogate struggles for power. We do not want to see that happen. I hope that that will be something we can continue to work on.”

Asked to comment on a recent suggestion by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen that India and Pakistan needed to resume back-channel diplomacy on the Kashmir issue, Mr Holbrooke said the United States would “applaud and encourage” any step the two countries took to reduce tensions.

“But we are not going to act as intermediaries between Islamabad and New Delhi. That is not what we are here to do,” he added.

“On the specific you talked about, we are not going to negotiate or mediate on that issue and I’m going to try to keep my record and not even mention it by name,” said the US envoy without using the word ‘Kashmir’ in his response.

Mr Holbrooke also made it clear that he was not talking about himself but setting out the US position. “That is not what we are here to do,” he said adding: “I’m not just talking about myself.”

How did he see the evolving role of India in Afghanistan?

Noting that though his brief did not include US-India relations, Mr Holbrooke said he often visited New Delhi because of that country’s great importance in these issues (concerning Afghanistan).

Recalling that he was in New Delhi two weeks ago, the American envoy said he looked forward to seeing Indian officials at the Munich Security Conference on Friday.

He also referred to his interaction with Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, who was seated in the second row of world leaders at the January 28 London conference on Afghanistan.

Mullah Omar
Asked to comment on a request by some Pakhtun tribal organisations that the names of Mullah Omar and Gulbuddin Hikmatyar should be removed from the UN terrorist list, Mr Holbrooke said: “I don’t think that the people you mentioned qualify for that kind of treatment. I cannot see that under the current circumstances anyone could realistically remove those names.”

Mr Holbrooke also insisted that there was a difference between the reintegration of some Taliban supporters with the Afghan mainstream and a proposed reconciliation with the Taliban leadership.

“Reintegration is a programme to give people fighting with the Taliban a chance to lay down their arms, renounce Al Qaeda, renounce violence, and participate in the political process of Afghanistan,” he said.

“It is a much needed programme. It is a gap in the existing programmes. And it is something that the ISAF Command considers of the highest importance, as does Secretary Clinton.”

The reconciliation, he said, a referred to the possibility of discussions with the leadership of the Taliban about bringing a peaceful end to the war.

He noted that President Karzai was in Saudi Arabia this week and had publicly called on the Saudis to assist in that effort.



Talks with India must include Kashmir, water disputes'

Pakistan on Thursday said it would welcome any move to resume the composite dialogue process with India [ Images ] stalled since the 26/11 Mumbai [ Images ] attacks, but insisted that the talks should be 'result-oriented' and cover all outstanding issues, including Kashmir and sharing of river waters.

"Pakistan will welcome the resumption of the composite dialogue because we are for a meaningful engagement with India," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told a weekly news briefing, responding to a question on whether the two countries are on the verge of reviving their peace process.

"From our perspective, talks should be all-encompassing and result-oriented. We will, therefore, welcome the resumption of the composite dialogue," he said.

Basit noted that the prime ministers of the two countries had agreed during their meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh last year that dialogue is the only way forward.

"Pakistan has always believed that it is only through genuine and meaningful talks that Pakistan and India can resolve their bilateral disputes, including the long-simmering Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] dispute and water issues," he said in response to another question.

Basit said 'some proposals' for the revival of the peace process were being considered but refused to give details. He also did not say which country had mooted these proposals.

The spokesman's comments came in the wake of reports that India was considering some form of 'measured contacts' with Pakistan.

The reports have not been favourably received by Pakistan's Foreign Office, which is for full resumption of the composite dialogue.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram [ Images ] is expected to travel to Pakistan for a SAARC meeting during February 26-27, the highest official Indian visit to the neighbouring country after the Mumbai attacks of November 2008.

Since the 26/11 strikes, leaders of the two sides have only met on the sidelines of several multilateral forums and India has linked the resumption of the peace process to Pakistan taking action against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

In response to a question on the Kashmir issue, Basit stated the Foreign Office's position that Pakistan will continue to support the people of Jammu and Kashmir and their 'legitimate struggle to get the right to self-determination.'

Pakistan also believes that 'if India dispenses with its traditional inflexibility on (the Kashmir issue), there is a possibility of moving ahead and resolving this issue in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people,' Basit said.

In response to another question on whether the four rounds of the composite dialogue were a failure, Basit said the process had 'been successful in generating required momentum' and the two countries had agreed on several confidence-building measures on Kashmir.

He did not agree with the contention that the composite dialogue had 'not been able to achieve anything concrete' though both sides were 'still far off from the final resolution' of the Kashmir issue.

Whenever the dialogue process is resumed, Pakistan will start discussing the Kashmir problem and differences over the sharing of river waters, which Basit described as a 'serious issue.'

Pakistan is considering the 'implications of the breach of the Indus Waters Treaty by India' and authorities were weighing all options before Islamabad [ Images ] proceeds in accordance with national interests, he said.

Asked if India has shared any information with Pakistan on the involvement of Indian nationals in the Mumbai attacks, Basit said: "No

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad




'Pak may accept Indian offer but may skip talk on terror'


Terming it as a breakthrough in Indo-Pak relationship, a US-based strategic think tank has said that New Delhi's [ Images ] offer to have foreign secretary-level talks with Islamabad [ Images ] is driven by India's [ Images ] concerns over Taliban [ Images ] appeasement in Afghanistan.

"Though little progress has been made in India's efforts to get Islamabad to crack down on India-focused militants operating on Pakistani soil, India's concerns over Taliban appeasement in Afghanistan are driving New Delhi toward engagement with Islamabad," said Stratfor, which provides strategic intelligence on security and geopolitical affairs.

"India knows the only way it can edge into the Afghanistan dialogue and hope to influence the Taliban negotiations is to first reopen a diplomatic channel with Pakistan," it said in its news analysis on India's offer of talks with Islamabad.

Stratfor said India demonstrated its openness to cooperate on the issue when Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna [ Images ] said January 30 that India is willing to give negotiations with the Taliban a try.

Krishna even went so far as to say that India could be "quite satisfied" even if Pakistan took a "few steps" in cooperation with the Mumbai [ Images ] attacks investigation, it said.

"Pakistan will likely accept the Indian offer to talk, but problems will arise when it comes time to set the agenda. India will want to talk about Pakistani-sponsored militancy and Taliban negotiations. Pakistan will want to talk about everything else. It will be up to the United States to attempt to bridge this difficult gap," it said.

Stratfor said United States and Pakistan are showing signs of realigning their views on how to negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The US needs results in this war on a short timeline, and is finding that it must work with Pakistan if it wants to see progress in negotiations with the Taliban.

As a result, the United States also must face the unpalatable political prospect of opening a dialogue with high-level militant commanders like Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar [ Images ], it noted.

"These developments are causing concern to New Delhi," Stratfor said adding that India remembers well the security problems it faced while the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan from 1994 to 2001, including a 1999 hijacking of an Indian airliner by Pakistani militants who forced the aircraft to land in Kandahar with the cooperation of the Taliban regime.

"India is fearful of any US-Pakistani designs for Taliban appeasement in Afghanistan that would allow the militant group substantial political space to operate.

For this reason, India also is increasing diplomatic contacts with Iran, which shares New Delhi's fears of a political comeback for the Taliban in Afghanistan," it said.

Stratfor noted that Pakistan in recent months has voiced increasing concerns over Indian involvement in Afghanistan.

Though India has primarily focused its efforts in Afghanistan on political and economic reconstruction, Islamabad has a deep-seated fear that New Delhi is creating a foothold in Afghanistan to the west to encircle Pakistan.

Fuelling these fears in Islamabad are the United States' moves to deepen its relationship with India.

"Rumours have been circulating since US Defense Secretary Robert Gates visit to India on January 20 that the United States is discussing with New Delhi the prospect of Indian security forces helping the Afghan national police and army," it said.

"Though there have been no concrete moves on this front, the prospect of India playing a direct security role in Afghanistan represents a redline for Pakistan.

And Islamabad has made this clear to Washington in routinely opposing any Indian role in Afghanistan," it said.

While US officials have long been pushing both sides to resume dialogue, India has resisted, claiming that little has been done by Islamabad to crack down on India-focused militant groups, most notably Lashkar-e-Tayiba [ Images ], that are operating on Pakistani soil under the nose of the Pakistan's security apparatus, Stratfor said.

"However, India recently has decided to shift to a new approach with Pakistan -- one in which New Delhi will insist that this renewed engagement first centre on the issue of terrorism.

Pakistan can be expected to continue skirting around this issue, as it already is struggling to rein in former militant proxies, while neutralising those that have turned against the state, it said.

"Judging from the Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman's February 4 remarks calling for a wide-ranging dialogue, rather than the focused approach India is advocating, these talks appear to be headed for a shaky start," Stratfor said.

India asks, Pak agrees to secy-level talks

NEW DELHI: A day after foreign minister S M Krishna said that only a few steps by Pakistan could lead to normalization of ties between the two

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countries, New Delhi on Thursday confirmed that it has proposed foreign secretary-level talks with Islamabad.

Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao called her counterpart Salman Basheer a couple of days ago to propose the talks, which would cover all aspects of "peace and stability" in South Asia and can potentially lead to the resumption of the composite dialogue stalled in the aftermath of 26/11 attack on Mumbai.

The talks are likely to be held in Delhi and within weeks. Dates are yet to be confirmed, though Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the high commissioner, Shahid Malik, had been asked to work out dates with the MEA. The talks between foreign secretaries are expected to be devoted to sorting out the scope of dialogue.

While the agenda is yet to be formalized, sources said India would focus on counter-terrorism, while Pakistan, expectedly would focus on Kashmir.

It's not yet clear whether the resumption would be of the old composite dialogue or a brand new vision of engagement. NSA Shiv Shankar Menon had been in favour of a new move, arguing that the old dialogue had exhausted its usefulness.

Islamabad, which was anxious to get India to return to the negotiaing table, was understandably happy. Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said on Wednesday that a new thinking was developing there (India) and ``if they have expressed a desire to resume dialogue, we welcome it".

The move, taken at the Indian initiative, was waiting to happen. The prime minister has been keen to move forward with Pakistan, but the Sharm el-Sheikh joint statement made it difficult for him to proceed. Besides, it was well known that former NSA M K Narayanan was not in favour of talking to Pakistan without any give from them on Mumbai.

The PM and Menon are known to be thinking along similar lines, especially since Pakistan managed to keep a check on its jihadis all through 2009, which many in the security establishment here say is testimony of Pakistan's complicity.

Sources said that the government would not just approach the talks with an open mind but also be ready to discuss any issue.

The proposed talks are definitely a thaw, but within the government no one holds out any hope that these talks could stop another jihadi attack or, for that matter, soften Pakistan's approach to India in Afghanistan.

Last week, Pakistan successfully kept India and its concerns out of the Afghanistan strategy, which went down badly here, but the government did not make an issue of it.

While some might see it as a case of giving in to international pressure, the government was coming to the conclusion in recent months that the silence did not get them anywhere. It led to issues like the IPL decision becoming bigger than normal.

The government had dropped enough hints in the recent past to suggest that talks with Pakistan could be resumed shortly. Krishna's statement on Wednesday, in fact, was a complete giveaway.

``We have proposed foreign secretary-level dialogue with Pakistan. We will enter into discussions with an open and positive mind. All relevant issues would be discussed,'' said a top source on condition of anonymity.

``The issue of counter-terrorism will be raised and also any other issue that could contribute to creating an atmosphere of peace in the region. Let us not prejudge the outcome of the talks,'' he added.

Meanwhile, Pakistan foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit confirmed having received India's proposal, but said that the agenda is not clear so far. He told the media in Islamabad, "We have sought clarification from the Indian government about the agenda and substance of the proposed talks. We will respond to the proposal after we receive the reply from New Delhi."

According to sources in New Delhi, the dates for talks would be finalized once Islamabad responds to the move made by India. They, however, said that the talks could take place as early as this month. There were reports on Wednesday that the foreign secretaries could meet soon after home minister P Chidambaram's visit to Pakistan for a Saarc meet in the last week of this month but the official described these as mere speculation.

Sources also said that the Indian side led by foreign secretary Nirupama Rao would try and keep the focus on the counter-terrorism measures Pakistan needs to take to ensure peace in the region. India had suspended the composite dialogue process with Pakistan after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai and maintained all this while that talks could resume only if Pakistan brought the accused to justice and dismantled the terror infrastructure operating from its territory.

Of late, there has been tremendous pressure on New Delhi from world over to engage Pakistan in some sort of dialogue. Sources acknowledged that India could no longer afford to look unduly churlish in dealing with the neighbour.

``By proposing dialogue we will also deny Pakistan the right to preach that dialogue was essential for establishing peace in the region,'' said an official.

The softening of India's stand also came after Pakistan produced evidence against arrested Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists, including its commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, in a court in connection with the Mumbai attacks. The evidence was based on a series of dossiers provided to Pakistan by India in connection with the incident.

QnA: How has Chidambaram performed as the home minister so far?
 

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The USA role and pakistani Gloating after talks offer


US welcomes Indian offer of talks with Pakistan

The Obama Administration on Friday welcomed the Indian proposal to hold talks with Pakistan at the level of Foreign Secretary.

"This is a welcome move," the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, P.J. Crowley, told reporters at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.

"We are supportive of dialogue among India, Pakistan and Afghanistan as a key component of moving ahead and achieving a stable region," Mr. Crowley said in response to a question.

"We certainly have been encouraging steps that both Pakistan and India could take to address mutual concerns and to take appropriate steps so that tensions can be reduced, cooperation can be increased, and, as a result you have a more stable region that is focused on threats, both interests that they share and threats that they share, Mr. Crowley said.

Pak will accept Indian offer but problem on agenda: Stratfor

Terming it as a breakthrough in Indo-Pak relationship, a US-based strategic think tank has said that New Delhi's offer to have Foreign Secretary-level talks with Islamabad is driven by India's concerns over Taliban appeasement in Afghanistan.

"Though little progress has been made in India's efforts to get Islamabad to crack down on India-focused militants operating on Pakistani soil, India's concerns over Taliban appeasement in Afghanistan are driving New Delhi toward engagement with Islamabad," said Stratfor, which provides strategic intelligence on security and geopolitical affairs.

"India knows the only way it can edge into the Afghanistan dialogue and hope to influence the Taliban negotiations is to first reopen a diplomatic channel with Pakistan," it said in its news analysis on India’s offer of talks with Islamabad.

Mr. Stratfor said India demonstrated its openness to cooperate on the issue when Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said January 30 that India is willing to give negotiations with the Taliban a try.

Mr. Krishna even went so far as to say that India could be "quite satisfied" even if Pakistan took a "few steps" in cooperation with the Mumbai attacks investigation, it said.

"Pakistan will likely accept the Indian offer to talk, but problems will arise when it comes time to set the agenda. India will want to talk about Pakistani-sponsored militancy and Taliban negotiations. Pakistan will want to talk about everything else. It will be up to the United States to attempt to bridge this difficult gap," it said.

Stratfor said United States and Pakistan are showing signs of realigning their views on how to negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The US needs results in this war on a short timeline, and is finding that it must work with Pakistan if it wants to see progress in negotiations with the Taliban.

As a result, the United States also must face the unpalatable political prospect of opening a dialogue with high-level militant commanders like Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar, it noted.

"These developments are causing concern to New Delhi," Stratfor said adding that India remembers well the security problems it faced while the Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1994 to 2001, including a 1999 hijacking of an Indian airliner by Pakistani militants who forced the aircraft to land in Kandahar with the cooperation of the Taliban regime.

"India is fearful of any US-Pakistani designs for Taliban appeasement in Afghanistan that would allow the militant group substantial political space to operate.

For this reason, India also is increasing diplomatic contacts with Iran, which shares New Delhi’s fears of a political comeback for the Taliban in Afghanistan," it said.

Stratfor noted that Pakistan in recent months has voiced increasing concerns over Indian involvement in Afghanistan.

Though India has primarily focused its efforts in Afghanistan on political and economic reconstruction, Islamabad has a deep-seated fear that New Delhi is creating a foothold in Afghanistan to the west to encircle Pakistan.

Fuelling these fears in Islamabad are the United States’ moves to deepen its relationship with India.

Keywords: India, Pakistan, Indo-Pak talks, U.S., Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, P.J. Crowley, welcome move, Stratfor


PM says world pressure brought India to talks table


ISLAMABAD : Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said India was brought round to talk to Pakistan under pressure from the world community, Geo News reported Friday.

Addressing a ceremony held at Kashmir House here, he said Pakistan will keep up its moral and diplomatic support for the just and principled cause of Kashmir in accordance with the United Nations resolutions.

On this occasion, the premier along with Kashmiri leadership including Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Hyder made a chain of human hands to express solidarity with the Kashmiris.

Various projects in Azad Kashmir were inaugurated on Kashmir Solidarity Day. The projects include Benazir Bhutto Tractor Scheme, 5 primary schools, 5 middle schools in Hatian Bala and 5 bridges in valleys of Jhelum and Nelum.

Also zonal office of Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited was opened for agricultural loans in Azad Kashmir.

JuD chief Saeed wants to meet Chidambaram


Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who is accused of masterminding the Mumbai terror attacks [ Images ], on Friday said the only solution to resolving problems between India and Pakistan is the 'liberation of Jammu and Kashmir' [ Images ], failing which radical groups will resort to the 'option of Jihad'.

Addressing a gathering of about 10,000 people at the Mall Road in Lahore [ Images ] to mark 'Kashmir Solidarity Day', Saeed said this is the message he would convey to Home Minister P Chidambaram [ Images ], if he came to Lahore during his upcoming visit to Pakistan.

"We are not against composite dialogues. I ask Chidambaram to first come to Lahore before going to Islamabad [ Images ] and hold talks with me. I will tell him a solid solution to the problems between India and Pakistan," said Saeed.

"There is only one solution to all the problems -- liberate Indian-held Kashmir. Otherwise the option of Jihad (holy war) is open for us," Saeed said.

He also warned India that the liberation of the erstwhile state of Hyderabad was also on the JuD's agenda. Saeed, also the founder of the banned Lashker-e-Tayiba, warned the Pakistan government not to fool the people in the name of the composite dialogue with India.

"Our rulers get happy whenever India expresses its wish for talks with Pakistan. I want to tell them that India will never talk about liberating Srinagar [ Images ] and Jammu and Pakistan must understand this," he said.

The JuD chief said his group "had already tested the Indian Army [ Images ]". He also spoke of the Indian role in the creation of Bangladesh by 'dividing Pakistan' and the demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya. He claimed that after blaming the JuD for the Mumbai attacks, Indian leaders had now started finding the culprits responsible for the assault within their country.

Saeed also said it was the 'religious' duty of every Muslim to help members of the religion who are in trouble in any part of the world. "Now the time has come to free all occupied areas. We are on the right side," he said as his supporters cheered.

The JuD organised the gathering on the Mall Road, the main thoroughfare in Lahore, as part of a series of rallies and meetings across Pakistan on the occasion of 'Kashmir Solidarity Day', which is observed to protest the 'occupation' of Jammu and Kashmir.

These are the first major public events organised by the JuD, which had kept a low profile in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks due to the scrutiny of its leaders.

Authorities put in place strict security measures to avert any untoward incidents during the JuD meeting. Leaders and activists of other hard-line groups also participated in the meeting. Among them were Farid Ahmed Paracha of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Hurriyat leader Ashraf Sawaf and United Jehad Council leader General Abdullah.

Saeed was detained after the United Nations Security Council declared the JuD a front for the LeT in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

However, he was freed on the orders of the Lahore high court after six months. Seven men, including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, are currently being tried by an anti-terror court for allegedly planning and executing the Mumbai terror attacks.

M Zulqernain In Lahore
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JuD vows to take Kashmir by force




A day after Islamabad said it was seeking a clarification from New Delhi on the agenda for the proposed Foreign Secretary-level talks, the Jamat-ud-Dawah, front organisation of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group blamed for the Mumbai attacks, held a public meeting here vowing to seize Kashmir by force and threatening “rivers of blood” in India.

In Lahore too, the JuD organised a public rally, led by Hafiz Saeed, alleged by India to have masterminded the Mumbai attacks.

The rally went from the JuD headquarters in Chauburji to the University Grounds, where Mr. Saeed led the participants in Friday prayers.

It proceeded to the famous Masjid-e-Shohada on Mall road, where the second tier leadership of the group made anti-India speeches. However, Mr. Saeed did not speak at the public meeting.

The meetings were held alongside other country-wide events to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day, annually observed in Pakistan on February 5. The JuD rally in the capital was held at Aabpara chowk in the heart of the city, a short walk from the barricaded headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence.

The JuD is on the United Nations terror list as a front of the LeT, but Pakistan has not banned the group. This is the first time after the Mumbai attacks that the group has come out openly, dropping last year’s cover of “Falah-i-Insaniyat”.

The government, which took some steps against the JuD and placed Hafiz Saeed under house arrest days after the Mumbai attacks, seems to have given it a long rope now.

Friday’s meetings in Islamabad and Lahore followed the one on Wednesday in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

In the capital, it was not a crowded meeting, the cold and steady drizzle dampening enthusiasm for the event, but the speakers more than made up for this. Banners and posters with the JuD ensignia were found everywhere.

“Whenever our jihad in Kashmir nears success, India becomes ready for talks,” Abdur Rehman Makki, deputy to JuD leader Hafiz Saeed, told his audience, mostly traders from the local market, students from madrasas and JuD activists bussed in from Rawalpindi.

“But what is this dialogue all about? [Former President Pervez]Musharraf tried dialogue for eight years. What did he get? What did Pakistan get? A ban on Lashkar-e-Toiba, while Shiv Sena is allowed to go free,” he said.

India and the U.S. were trying to make the Kashmir cause a part of the “war on terror,” he said, but if India did not pull out its troops from there, “each one of the 17 crore Pakistanis would struggle step-for-step with the Kashmiris in the massacre of Indian soldiers until the last soldier is dead.”

The JuD, he said, “is a reality of Pakistan, and anyone who tries to finish it will not succeed.”

Mr. Makki also railed against the United Nations and the U.S. “Ban us all you like. It is meaningless. It is no more one Hafiz Saeed, every citizen of Pakistan will fight for Kashmir until the last drop of his blood,” he said.

He warned that jihadis were ready to fill the Ravi river with “blood on the water” to avenge what he alleged was India’s denial of river waters to Pakistan.

“Kashmir had become a cold issue. But by denying Pakistan water, India has ensured that every farmer in Punjab is lining up with his tractor and plough, ready to overrun India.”

At one time, jihadis were interested only in the liberation of Kashmir, but the water issue had ensured that “Delhi, Pune and Kanpur” were all fair targets, he said.

A string of other JuD speakers praised jihad, and urged Pakistanis to take to it in “Kashmir, Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine.” The Pakistan People’s Party came in for its share of criticism for straying from Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s promise of a “100-year war” for Kashmir.

The Pakistan Muslim League (N) spokesman Siddique-ul-Farooq, and Sardar Khalid Ibrahim of the “Azad Jammu and Kashmir” Pakistan People’s Party also spoke at the meeting.

US ties India-Pak talks to Afghanistan

WASHINGTON: The persuasive hand behind the India-Pakistan thaw has welcomed New Delhi’s decision to talk to Islamabad while underscoring the

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dialogue’s importance to the situation in Afghanistan rather than to Pakistan’s peeves about Kashmir.

Two senior US officials who gave thumbs up to India’s move explicitly linked the decision to the complex situation in Afghanistan where New Delhi and Islamabad are locked in shadow boxing that could prove detrimental to Washington’s goals of enforcing peace and exiting from there. Neither of them mentioned Pakistan’s obsession with the unresolved Kashmir issue or India’s focus on terrorism.

''We are supportive of dialogue among India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan as a key component of moving ahead and achieving a stable region,'' P.J.Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State who is also the state department spokesman said on Thursday when asked about the Indian offer, adding, ''We certainly have been encouraging steps that both Pakistan and India could take to address mutual concerns and to take appropriate steps so that tensions can be reduced, cooperation can be increased, and as a result, you have a more stable region that is focused on threats – both interests that they share and threats that they share.''

The US concern about Afghanistan at the expense of Pakistan’s Kashmir agenda was made even more explicit by Washington’s special Representative to Af-Pak Richard Holbrooke, who made an important pronouncement – that will be music to New Delhi’s ears – by endorsing India’s stake in the war-torn country where Pakistan is questioning its locus standi.

''The Indians have a legitimate series of security interests in that region, as do a number of other countries, including, of course, Pakistan, China and all the other countries that neighbor on Afghanistan,'' Holbrooke said at a briefing for the international media. ''And any search for a resolution of the war in Afghanistan requires that the legitimate security interests of every country be understood and taken into account.''

''The dilemma arises when those security interests tend to be in conflict,'' Holbrooke continued in his exposition of the India-Pakistan face-off. ''And Afghanistan has suffered throughout history by the fact that it has sometimes become the terrain for surrogate struggles for power. We do not want to see that happen.''

While some US analysts have suggested resolving the Kashmir issue is central to US success in Afghanistan, Holbrooke declined to endorse the line of thinking, in keeping with the counter-view that Kashmir was just a symptom of Pakistan dysfunction, not the cause. Asked how important Kashmir is for reducing tension between
India and Pakistan, Holbrooke dismissed the issue from the US agenda while declining to even mention the K-word at a time when Pakistan is poised to put it back on the front-burner.

''On the specific you talked about, we are not going to negotiate or mediate on that issue. And I'm going to try to keep my record and not even mention it by name, Holbrooke said, adding, “But I want to be clear that anything that the two countries do to reduce tensions or improve relations will be something we would applaud and encourage.”

“But we are not going to act as intermediaries between Islamabad and New Delhi. That is not what we are here to do. I'm not just talking about myself,” Holbrooke maintained, suggesting that it was broadly the policy of the Obama administration and a continuation of the Bush White House’s policy of not highlighting the Kashmir issue.

Statements from the two officials on a day Pakistan pushed the envelope on Kashmir (with Kashmir Day rallies across the country) in response to India’s offer on talks indicated that US did not share Islamabad’s agenda on key issues, including downsizing New Delhi’s role in Afghanistan. The global think tank Stratfor has already forecast a deadlock without American help.

"India will want to talk about Pakistani-sponsored militancy and Taliban negotiations. Pakistan will want to talk about everything else. It will be up to the United States to attempt to bridge this difficult gap," Stratfor said in an analysis on Thursday.

Though little progress has been made in India's efforts to get Islamabad to crack down on India-focused militants operating on Pakistani soil, India's concerns over Taliban appeasement in Afghanistan are driving New Delhi toward engagement with Islamabad, the think tank said.

US officials were clearly in the loop on the Indian olive branch, with various administration mandarins having made known for weeks that Washington prefers engagement to India’s posture of no-talks till Pakistan acts on 26/11. The reasoning in Washington was that India’s ''obdurate'' position was allowing Pakistan’s militaristic constituency to up the ante and build up a hostile atmosphere at the expense of its peace-seeking civil society, undermining US goals in Afghanistan.
 

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If uyou look back a little how all this aman ki asha campaign was startes as trial baloon from govt of india with times group and jung group and other main stream mdia were playing their part as always they do to mold indian public views wrt to talks with pakistan under usa pressure so that uncle sam cut and run from afghanistan.with theindia offering talks and jehadi goup meeting in pok ultimately resulting in usa linking afghan and kashmir issues which pakistan has long sought.Now mind it pak is under obligation to ban JUD under un sanctions.But with nothing to offer from pak on mumbai attacks.morover they left Hafiz saeed.If u look some 5-6 yrs back or in last decade how pakistan was able to project itself as victim of terror from being perpetrator of terror right from mms surrender at havana when he said pak is equally victim of terror.then at sharrm-e-sheik last year agrreeing to add bloachistan and making talks free of terrorism.wat im seeing is all surrender again and again by india without any take from pakistan.Now learned membersviews.....
 

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if they again go for an bomb blast the talks will cut off, So why waste of money ???
 

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Well it serves them good this way.they are able to do blast thus are able to implement their 100 cuts proxy war at the same time project themselves as victim of terror hence nullifying india being victim.but they then project themselves of victim of india's undiplomatic attitude. at last india comes to table for talks as loser by conceding to their points.like they doing now and like they always did.and this the cycle india is unable to break off last 62 yrs.even indira ghandhi and shastri left them even they were negotiating with them from position of strength.What it is it that in indian PMO and leaders that india keep on churning leaders like these who never learn from history.
 

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Asad durrani writing in dawwn who controls pakistans foreign policy:

A-matter-of-policy

Expert opinion on foreign policy formulation in Pakistan does not differ in holding that the foreign
office has been denied the central role it should have played in its primary function.

In a paper he contributed to a workshop on the subject Lt. General (retd) Asad Durrani bluntly asserts that our foreign office ‘does not make the policy. It, however, is responsible for its management.’
Discussing the role of intelligence agencies in policy formulation, he admits the foreign office’s primacy, but that is only in principle. In practice, the defining inputs are provided by the military, since Pakistan is a ‘security state’.
The foreign office where our career diplomats sit has simply a secondary managerial role, at the stage of implementation or presentation only, which amounts to saying that our embassies in world capitals are retail sale counters for a product it has had no or little share in manufacturing.

None of the participants of the workshop organised by Karachi University’s department of international relations comprising former ambassadors, foreign policy experts and analysts differed with the general on this conclusion.
Their papers published in a collection edited by Moonis Ahmar, the department’s chairman, more or less corroborate this opinion, sometimes more strongly.

Shahid Amin, career diplomat and former ambassador says the foreign office has never had a free hand in the making of foreign policy and ‘in an autocratic environment rulers have tended to take policy decisions without any kind of meaningful advance consultation with the foreign office, which has distorted the very concept of policy planning.’

Shamshad Ahmad, senior diplomat and former ambassador,who has discussed the conduct of foreign policy in the backdrop of the present ‘war on terror’ crisis also admits that ‘in many cases, non-institutional processes bypassing elected leaders and bodies were instrumental in laying down policies that did not stand the test of time, and had to be readjusted or reversed altogether. History alone will judge why and how we adopted those policies.’

Former ambassador Tariq Fatemi, while discussing the packing of the foreign ministry with military officers both serving and retired notes with amusement a favourite joke of the Zia days.

Foreign diplomats in Islamabad gloated in repeating they ‘come cross more military officers in the foreign office than in the defence ministry!’ Fatemi speaks of ‘two separate and parallel policies’ that ‘were pursued, one by the foreign office and the other by the intelligence agencies’ in relation to Afghanistan and India.

He also holds that ‘while both prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif were desirous of normalising relations with India and favouring gradual disengagement from Afghanistan’s domestic politics, they were prevented from undertaking these tasks by the intelligence agencies.’
Tanvir Ahmad Khan whose essay focuses on the Indo-Pakistan composite dialogue process has this small bit about the role the forces had assumed early in the country’s foreign policy: ‘In 1948, a group of senior officers in Rawalpindi had successfully soft-pedalled Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan’s plans to visit the Soviet Union.’

He calls this group the precursor of what has come to be known as the establisment in common day parlance.
Moonis Ahmar in his introduction to the compilation also notes how the preeminence of military and intelligence agencies in giving directions on foreign policy matters has been undermining the role of the external affairs ministry, the parliament, public opinion as well as civil society groups whose input could have enriched and given credibility to our relations with the outside world.

He also cites the absence of any proper interaction between the academia and the foreign office as an important factor which has ‘created a void in foreign affairs’ that depict a ‘highly negative image of foreign policy’.
Apart from some theoretical aspects of foreign policy that people in the research business love to delve in, and which in fact is their bread and butter, like the concept of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ power which Moonis Ahmar has described in some detail, the book examines the etherial factor of ethics in foreign relations in an essay by Munizeh Zuberi; the historical and conceptual basis that Shahid Amin pores over, the role of public opinion, media and civil society that Zafar N. Jaspal discusses; and how India and Afghanistan continue to affect the shaping of the
national policy.

Rasul Bakhsh Rais examines this last and much discussed story. The external influences which in lay thinking actually matter in foreign policy have been discussed only here and there though a whole section could have been devoted to negate or prove where Pakistan’s foreign policy is made in reality.

Whatever its limitations that it cannot do much about, the foreign office can still look into some of its shortcomings that have been pointed out. Lack of specialisation and absence of a meaningful research cell in its organisation blunts its approaches. It needs association with academia and the country’s think-tanks whose input can deter resort to ad hoc decisions. Pakistan is often seen reacting to situations rather than enacting its scripted part.
 

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enjoy some gloatings through shah mehmood qureshi,pakistan's foreign minister:

India, Pakistan ready to re-launch peace talks

KARACHI: In an ice-breaking session, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Pakistani High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik met to discuss the possibility of foreign secretary-level talks, indicating that New Delhi is ready to discuss all bilateral issues concerning the two countries. However, the dates for the talks between the two foreign secretaries have not yet been finalised.

During the meeting on Sunday, India underlined that the proposed talks would not mean resumption of composite dialogue even though it is ready to discuss whatever issue Pakistan raises, including Balochistan.

From the Indian side, cross-border terrorism and infiltration will be the "centre-piece" of the meeting.

Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram stated that New Delhi is keeping a close eye on alleged terrorist activities in Pakistan, while the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed concern over an alleged increase in incursion of terrorists in Indian-administered Kashmir from across the border.

He further alleged that hostile groups are operating from across the border in Pakistan.

However, he observed that overall there's been a “marked decline” in terror incidents in the state.

'Pakistan's stance brought India to the table'

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that it was Islamabad's stance that pushed India to the negotiating table.

"Pakistan did not bow down before India. In fact, it was Islamabad's stance that brought India to the negotiating table," stated Qureshi on Sunday.

Earlier, in an interview to a private television channel, Qureshi had said that India wanted to isolate Pakistan diplomatically, but they failed due to effective diplomatic efforts by Islamabad.

Qureshi further said that neither he nor the people of Pakistan have any knowledge about the proposal of Kashmir solution evolved by the previous government.

In the interview, the minister said that the proposal was never debated in the country thus "it is unknown to anyone."

The foreign minister of the previous government had claimed that India and Pakistan had almost reached a solution, however the official announcement was never made.

He said that the proposal was a 'secret' between selected individuals and there is no record of the same in foreign office.

To a question, Qureshi said that the importance of back-channel diplomacy notwithstanding, the disputes have finally been settled through formal efforts.

He said that four rounds of composite dialogue were completed during the tenure of the previous government, while one round was held during the tenure of the present government.

As domestic pressure increases on the Indian government for the resumption of composite dialogue, authorities are finding it hard to change their position, he said.

To another question, Qureshi said that Indian involvement in insurgency in certain areas of Pakistan had been raised by the prime minister before his Indian counterpart as mentioned in the Sharm-el-Sheikh document.

He said that Pakistan has certain outstanding issues with India which are being recognised by the world, however, it does not mean that the two countries cannot move forward.

"There may be progress on the solution of Kashmir dispute, but it cannot be said that it would be resolved during the tenure of present government," he said.

The FM said that it is in the interest of Pakistan to have good relations with its neighbours because the country has a number of economic challenges that require the attention of the government. "To have friendly relations with its neighbours is a key in this direction," he added.

Responding yet to another question the minister said that "engaging with the US is in Pakistan’s interest", adding that Pakistan’s relationship with the US is neither of compliance nor of confrontation.

Pakistan has raised the issue of drone attacks with the US forcefully and they are now seriously thinking of transferring the technology to our country, he said.

"The Americans wanted Pakistan to expand the circle of military operation, but the country did not comply with their demand," he said adding, “We will keep our domestic conditions in mind before taking such decisions.”
some more

Pak didn't kneel, India offered talks: Qureshi

Pakistan has taken a tough stand as foreign officials of the two countries meet to finalise the schedule of the peace talks. Pakistani foreign minister says it's Pakistan's tough posturing that has brought India to the table for discussion.

"India, which talked about breaking their relationship with us, which talked about turning their back on us, two days ago has approached us and said that we want to sit and talk to you, we want to resume our relationship with you. Pakistan did not kneel. Pakistan held its ground. And I will also say this, God willing, we will talk to them and present our case because our case is strong, it is not weak. Whether it be Kashmir or water or any other issue," said Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
and.......


It is India which blinked on talks: Pak/B]ISLAMABAD: Hours after India proposed dates for foreign secretary-level talks, Pakistan has claimed that it was New Delhi which had blinked not

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Islamabad. ( Watch Video )

Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that it was India which had talked about breaking their "relationship" with us and their turning their back on us.

"But two days ago, India has approached and said they want to sit and talk to us and want to resume their relationship with us," Qureshi told a public meeting in Multan in Punjab on Sunday.

"Pakistan hasn't knelt... It didn't kneel. Pakistan held its ground," the Pakistan foreign minister indulging in rhetorics as a build up to the talks has started.

Qureshi said that Pakistan would present its case before India claiming "our case is strong. It's not week, whether it be Kashmir or water or any other issue."

"Pakistan has a clear stance regarding every issue be it Kashmir or the water issue and we would not step back from their stance," he said.

Under the composite dialogue eight issues including Jammu and Kashmir and terrorism were discussed in four rounds of talks before it was "paused" in November 2008 in the wake of Mumbai attacks.
 

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Pakistan: vindication on Afghanistan, assertive with India

Nirupama Subramanian
There is confidence in Islamabad that its new importance to international interests in the region can be leveraged to secure its own interests vis-a-vis India.
As New Delhi prepares to put the Mumbai attacks behind for a re-engagement with Pakistan, there is confidence in Islamabad that its new importance to international interests in the region can be leveraged to secure its own interests vis-a-vis India.

After years of being seen as part of the problem in Afghanistan, Pakistan is savouring what it calls a vindication of its position on how to end the conflict in that country, and is confident it holds the key to the proposed new plan of “reconciliation” with the Taliban.

As evident from two sets of remarks by the Pakistan Army chief last week about what it seeks in Afghanistan and how its perceives India, New Delhi will need to factor in a resurgent Pakistani military, assertive about its concerns and self-assured of the resonance these carry in the halls of power in the U.S. and Europe.

From Pakistan’s point of view, the flurry of recent diplomatic moves on the Afghan conflict, culminating in the London Conference, was definitely the game-changer. Certainly, the new international mood seems to have played some role in drawing India back to the negotiating table.

London Conference
The details of the new approach in Afghanistan formalised at the 60-nation conference are still hazy. A cash-for-peace plan aimed at weaning away non-ideological and “moderate” Taliban fighters is one part of it, but the broad consensus emerging from the conference was that there is no way forward in Afghanistan without engaging the Taliban in dialogue, perhaps towards its eventual participation in the governance of that country.

“The outcome of the London Conference has been overall positive. It is a vindication of Pakistan’s position that we need to focus on all aspects of the strategy of the three D’s [dialogue, development and deterrence],” Abdul Basit, spokesman of Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told The Hindu. “The international community now realises that without moving forward on the reconciliation aspect, it is not possible to achieve peace in Afghanistan.”

The decisions at the London Conference were not a total surprise. There were plenty of signals that the U.S. and its NATO allies in Europe no longer believed in the possibility a military victory over the Taliban, and were looking for a dignified exit. Except that the military operations in Afghanistan will now be aimed at persuading the Taliban to negotiation, the next steps in the new roadmap for “reconciliation” and “reintegration” of the Taliban are still hazy. The main actors themselves seem unclear about many things.

Is dialogue to take place with only “moderate” sections of the Taliban? How far have talks, already reported to have begun, progressed? What will be offered to the Taliban? Will there be other parties on the table?

The U.S. remains apprehensive about the idea of talking to the top Taliban leadership. In any case, the big question for any such effort is whether the Taliban can cut off their links with Al Qaeda, give up their extremist views and reconcile with the political and social values of a democratic set-up.

Still, it is hoped that by mid-2011, when U.S. troops will begin withdrawing, enough reconciliation would have taken place for Afghans to run their country themselves.

Two countries are thought to have sufficient influence on the Taliban to be able to deliver on the London Conference decisions. Saudi Arabia, one of only three countries that recognised the Taliban-run Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from 1996 until 9/11 — the other two were Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates — has already been asked by President Karzai to act as a mediator. The kingdom, which has no love lost for Osama bin Laden, has set the pre-condition that the Taliban must renounce Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda.

Pakistan still carries considerable clout with sections of the Afghan Taliban, some of whom were given safe haven on Pakistani soil when the U.S. started the war in Afghanistan after 9/11, and continue to remain in sanctuaries in the north-western frontier regions.

“Gatekeepers” to the Taliban
Described as the “gatekeepers” to the Taliban, Pakistan would have a crucial role in delivering the Taliban to the table, either through coercion or persuasion. But it is being careful not to be seen as muscling in to impose its own agenda in Afghanistan. The mantra in Islamabad is that the process should be “Afghan-led”.

“Pakistan is perhaps better placed than any other country in the world to support Afghan reintegration and reconciliation. Why? We speak the same language, we have common tribes, a common religion, we have a commonality of history, culture and tradition” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told the Guardian. “But it [Pakistani mediation] depends on whether we are asked to do so. If asked, the government of Pakistan would be happy to facilitate.”

But suspicious of its intentions, President Karzai has not been keen to involve Pakistan as a mediator, while the rest of the international community too is aware that while Islamabad could play a positive role, it could also use its influence over the Taliban to play “spoiler.” But, most observers say, no country except Pakistan can guarantee an end to the conflict in Afghanistan.

“If any country other than Afghanistan has any role, it is Pakistan. It may not be explicit right now, but it is implicit and goes without stating. Whether it is maintaining peace, security and stability of Afghanistan,” said Mushahid Hussain Sayed, secretary-general of the Pakistan Muslim League (Q), “or providing a face-saving exit for American forces, it has to be Pakistan.”

A constructive role by Pakistan is likely to come attached with the demand that the international community address its “legitimate” concerns and issues in the region.

Some of those concerns were articulated by the Pakistan Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani when, in two meetings with journalists this week, he said India remains the primary threat to Pakistan and the focus of the Pakistani military. He spoke of the peace, security and stability of Afghanistan as the main element of Pakistan’s “strategic depth”, and said Pakistan had a more “legitimate” expectation in the matter of training the Afghan security forces than India.

A Foreign Ministry official, who wished not to be identified, was blunter: “We do not really see India playing any role in Afghanistan. Any role for India in Afghanistan can only be problematic”. On the other hand, he said, Pakistan could not be wished away from Afghanistan, and had “a more natural role” in Afghanistan, given the shared border and other links.

Also, U.S. demands to “do more” against the Afghan Taliban holed up in Pakistani territory no more hold any logic, said Imitiaz Gul, author of a book on Al Qaeda and head of the Islamabad-based Centre for Research: “These demands have to a back seat. If we have to talk to them, why antagonise them?”

The Pakistan military said last month it would not launch new offensives against militants for six months to a year as it was overstretched. The declaration was evidently meant to pre-empt any demand during the recent visit by the U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates for military operations in North Waziristan. Now, said Mr. Gul, the Pakistan Army would want to wait to see how the situation unfolds in Afghanistan.

As Pakistani observers see it, their country has never been better positioned in recent times. At a recent seminar in Lahore’s Punjab University, Mr. Sayed spoke of how the Obama Administration is dependent on Pakistan for its Afghanistan strategy, and on China, a close ally of Pakistan, to maintain regional stability, while India has been downgraded a couple of notches by the Obama Administration from its status during the Bush years..

“The regional situation is moving towards Pakistan’s advantage. We have a strategic opening and we should use it to our advantage,” Mr. Sayed told The Hindu. This, he said, should include reining in India from using Afghanistan for what he alleged were its covert activities in Pakistan, and pushing for a solution on the Kashmir issue.

So is Afghanistan going to turn into a battleground for the competing interests of India and Pakistan? Not necessarily, said Mr. Sayed.

“In my view, Pakistan and India do not have to compete in Afghanistan,” he said, suggesting that the two countries hold bilateral talks on Afghanistan, and “see how we can co-operate instead of compete” in that country.

At the moment, as India and Pakistan do a tug-of-war over what their renewed engagement should be called, that seems easier said than done.
 

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India proposes two dates this month for talks

Having “made its point” by not engaging with Pakistan for over 14 months, India has offered two dates this month — February 18 and 25 — for Foreign Secretary-level talks here.

India is open to discussing all issues, including Balochistan, but its sole focus will be on flagging its concerns on terror acts planned and executed from Pakistan, said senior Government sources.

Seeking to set the record straight following various interpretations on India’s offer for talks, the sources said the reopening of dialogue should not be seen as resumption of the composite dialogue. “We do not want to get into semantics…Pakistan has taken some steps and we have made our point which has been accepted by the international community. To indefinitely prolong tension is not good and neither does not talking contribute to decreasing tension,” they said.

“Dialogue is the bottom line. Composite dialogue had a certain format. There was involvement of many arms of the Government. The coming talks are not part of that. This dialogue is to revive the bilateral relationship and the centrepiece of the talks from our side will be terror,” they added.

The sources underlined the continuing need to flag concerns regarding the existence of the large infrastructure of terror.

Pakistan should also “expeditiously conclude” investigations in a transparent manner and unveil the larger conspiracy behind the Mumbai attacks.

“No relationship can remain static. We haven’t shut the door to dialogue but for it to be meaningful, talks will have to address our concerns. We are also prepared to discuss all issues of concern,” said the sources, while describing the Indian offer as a “very reasonable approach.”

Keywords: Foreign Secretary-level talks, composite dialogue, Pakistani Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Nirupama Rao, Salman Bashir, Balochistan

Pak response being formulated

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday said it is in the process of framing a response to India’s offer to resume talks but indicated that it would prefer to stick to the established composite dialogue process that was stalled in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

“We are still in the process of holding internal consultations (on the Indian offer) and have not really formulated a response. It is important to know what we are getting into the trajectory of the (proposed) talks,” Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told PTI.

Referring to the stalled composite dialogue process, Basit said: “We already have an established framework and it would not be desirable to reinvent the wheel.”The spokesman made it clear that Pakistan was not against engagement with India but said talks for the sake of talks would have no meaning. “All parleys would have to be constructive and meaningful,” he said.
 

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Will launch jihad to liberate Hyderabad from India: Pak militants

Lahore, Feb 6:
Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, accused of masterminding the Mumbai attacks, said the only solution to problems between India and Pakistan is the "liberation of Jammu and Kashmir, failing which radical groups would resort to the "option of jihad".

He also warned India that the liberation of the erstwhile state of Hyderabad was also on the JuD's agenda.

Addressing a gathering of about 10,000 people at the Mall Road here to mark 'Kashmir Solidarity Day', Saeed said this is the message he would convey to Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram if he came to Lahore during his upcoming visit to Pakistan.

"We are not against composite dialogues. I ask Chidambaram to first come to Lahore before going to Islamabad and hold talks with me. I will tell him a solid solution to the problems between India and Pakistan," said Saeed, accused by India of masterminding the Mumbai attacks.
 

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India caves in, ready to talk Balochistan

Proposes dates for Foreign Secy-level talks with Pak

India has proposed February 18 and 25 to Pakistan for Foreign Secretary-level talks as part of a “practical and pragmatic” approach to seek redressal of its core concern of cross-border terrorism but warns that there will be a huge setback if 26/11 is repeated.

India underlines that the proposed Foreign Secretary-level talks would not mean resumption of composite dialogue even though it is ready to discuss whatever issue Pakistan raises, including Balochistan, as it wants to deal with the situation in a “mature” and “confident” manner.

From the Indian side, cross-border terrorism and infiltration, which witnessed a marked increase last year, will be the “centre-piece” of the proposed meeting. Under the composite dialogue eight issues, including Jammu & Kashmir and terrorism were discussed in four rounds of talks before it was “paused” in November 2008 in the wake of Mumbai attacks.

The Foreign Secretary-level talks are “not composite dialogue but just dialogue” to “unlock” the channels of communication frozen since 26/11 attacks, sources said on Sunday.

The offer of talks is a “practical and pragmatic approach” to seek redressal of India’s concerns with regard to cross-border terrorism, the sources said, adding the intention is to convey its point of view directly to the Pakistani establishment rather than “firing salvos”.

In the ice-breaking decision, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has invited her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir here for talks and proposed February 18 and 25 for the same.

While offering Foreign Secretary-level talks as an “incremental step”, India has made it clear that there cannot be any “meaningful dialogue” or “normalisation” of relations until its prime concern of cross-border terrorism is addressed by Pakistan.

Rejecting Pakistan’s contention that it would not be able to prevent a repeat of 26/11, the sources said that if such an incident takes place again, there will be a “huge setback” to the efforts to normalise relations.

Sources here underlined that meaningful dialogue cannot take place in an environment of terror or even the threat of terror and put the onus on Pakistan Government to address these issues.

“Pakistan must take all necessary steps to prevent any incident like Mumbai attacks,” the sources said.

In this regard, India highlights its concern over the February 4 joint public meeting in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir of various terror groups, which was addressed by Hafiz Saeed, chief of banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah and talked about jihad against India.

India’s disappointment over Pakistan’s inaction over the public provocative speeches will be put across the Foreign Secretary talks.

India emphasises that the Pakistan Government cannot throw its hands up on this and those “in-charge” or “taking decisions” in Pakistan will have to think about these aspects. “But we need to talk to each other, rather than at each other,” the sources said.

However, for any meaningful talks, Pakistan “will have to be conscious and sensitive” to India’s concerns and crack down on terror groups and individuals.

In response to India’s proposal for talks, Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik met Nirupama Rao on Thursday to know what would be the agenda and was told that “difficulties” like terrorism would be the issue to be discussed.

There was “nothing contentious” during the 45-minute meeting between Rao and Malik, the sources said, adding Pakistan is expected to respond to India’s offer in a couple of days.

Rejecting the contention that timing for the talks was premature, the sources noted that Pakistan had taken “some steps” to prosecute seven of those involved in 26/11 attacks but underlines that the process has to be taken to logical conclusion in terms of punishing them and unveiling the entire conspiracy.

India also expects Pakistan to arrest Hafiz Saeed and 13 others, who were also involved in the Mumbai attacks. There is need to build “trust and confidence” in the “complex relations,” they said.

Insisting that the proposal to hold talks after 14-month gap was “dictated” by India itself without anybody else suggesting it, they said it reflects the country’s “maturity” and “confidence” to deal with issues that concern it. “We have to give peace a chance,” the sources said, while noting India was not entering talks with any “illusions”.

On whether the talks between the Foreign Secretaries could lead to comprehensive dialogue on identified outstanding issues or India would like to wait till prosecution in 26/11 is taken to logical end, the Government here is not willing to pre-judge such aspects.

With regard to 26/11, India continues to believe that some elements in Pakistani establishment were “aware” or “privy” to plans of attack, particularly since Lashkar-e Tayyeba has been used as an instrument of state policy, which is now recoiling on Pakistan itself.

Justifying the decision to have talks, the sources said India had never shut the door for dialogue while always maintaining that any meaningful dialogue cannot take place till its concerns on terrorism are addressed by Pakistan.

The sources revealed that the Foreign Secretary had been in touch with her Pakistani counterpart, talking over phone, even before she invited him to Delhi for talks about a week back, discussing “how to unlock” the process of engagement.

“Relations between countries never remain “static” but these are dynamic... We can’t completely erase what makes relations exist between neighbours,” they said.

“Clearly the infrastructure of terror continues to exist in Pakistan but we can’t ignore the steps Pakistan has taken although it has not taken all steps,” they sources said.

“Dialogue is the only way forward to seek redressal to our concerns... Engaging Pakistan is the only way forward,” they said, adding the FS-level talks were intended to deal with various aspects of the relationship like people-to-people contacts, confidence building, trade and consular access.

Refusing to accept that India had changed stance and mellowed down, the sources said absence of communication had not helped Pakistan and the neighbour needed to introspect.

Expressing India’s readiness to “listen” if Pakistan has “any concerns” on Balochistan, the sources said India need not be scared of it as it has done “nothing untoward” anywhere in Pakistan.
 

ajtr

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Talk to Pakistan, but not just now

The Indian government’s offer to hold talks with Pakistan is not likely to go down well with the aam aadmi in this country. The general feeling is that Pakistan is the perpetrator of terrorism on our soil and until all terror structures are dismantled in that country, there should be no dialogue at the top level. In fact, no sooner did the announcement come there was an anti-India rally in Lahore. On the same day, anti-India forces called for a war against us in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. What is most significant is that the ‘Yakjaiti-e-Kashmir’ (Kashmir solidarity conference) was attended there by players who are said to be masterminds of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008. The meeting was convened by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a front of the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and addressed by Abdul Rehman Makki, Syed Salahuddin, the commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen and former ISI chief Hamid Gul.
In this context, the timing of the talks offer was wrong particularly when the scars of various strikes by these outfits are yet to heal in India. It is obvious that New Delhi has not read the situation in Pakistan correctly and has probably agreed to this ‘proximity dialogue’’ with Islamabad due to pressure from the United States.
There are many strategic experts and diplomats who are of the view that a foreign secretary-level engagement should happen only after some sort of satisfactory response on terror comes from across the border. The situation in Pakistan is such that even its own government does not appear to have control over certain events. On top of that, their Army Chief, General Ashfaq Kiyani, has been quoted by the media as saying that the Pakistani Army was India-centric.
Thus, in face of such hostile reactions, should India go in for this dialogue? It is common knowledge that the army and the ISI are dominant players in the affairs of their country and the civilian government does not have any real influence on policies. In addition, the civilian government has limited control over its own territory and its own people. So even if a serious attempt to engage Islamabad is made, its success will depend on how the army and the ISI react to the outcome.
Intelligence agencies here are rightly very nervous about this initiative and believe that the line between State-sponsored terrorism and non-State sponsored terrorism in Pakistan has blurred over the years. In addition there are groups getting all kinds of support from the ISI, which choose to strike in India and South Asia while there are others who target only westerners and Americans. It has been correctly stated that Pakistan is the epicentre of global terrorism and also terrorism in India. Its identity depends on its anti-India posturing.
It serves America’s interests that there is no conflict between New Delhi and Islamabad since in event of a confrontation, Pakistan may get an excuse to disengage itself from its war against groups in Waziristan and other parts of their country and Afghanistan. The US has already set a deadline for the withdrawal of its troops and wants to go about this business with the help of Pakistan.
But unlike India’s initiative where the proposed talks will be held between civilian entities, the US and also Afghanistan deal directly with the army in Islamabad. Obviously, the Americans know only too well that it is the army that calls the
shots there.
The doors for negotiations should always be open between the two countries but the agenda should be determined keeping in mind our own foreign policy, security and strategic interests. For this, the ability to read the situation in Pakistan correctly is necessary. Unless we want to get into a Sharm-el-Sheikh type controversy. Between us.
 

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