Sharm-el-Sheikh - the great Indian sell-out


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May 6, 2009
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CJ: Arun Bajpai , Tue, Jul 28, 2009

IF PAKISTANI Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Geelani is walking tall in Pakistan, thanks to India agreeing to de-link Pakistani anti-terror efforts from the Indo–Pak composite dialogue and inclusion of the Balochistan clause in the joint statement of talks between Geelani and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he deserves all the kudos. The laugh that the Pakistani establishment is having at Indian political knavery, seems to deserved.

On July 16, 2009, when the Indian Prime Minister met Yusuf Geelani on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in the Egyptian sea resort town of Sharm-el-Sheiek, the people of India hoped that this time at least, India would take a tough stand against Pakistan on the Pakistan-sponsored jehad against India. This hope was strengthened by the outcome of the June 16, 2009 meeting of Manmohan Singh with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in Russia. There, the Indian Prime Minister surprised Zardari by telling him bluntly in public that his only mandate was to apprise him that Pakistan would not allow its territory to be used for launching terror attacks against India.

Strangely, in the recently-concluded meeting between Manmohan Singh and the Pakistani Prime Minister Geelani, India's climb-down was so pronounced that the use of Pakistani territory for terror is not even mentioned in the joint statement. On 11 December 2008, speaking in parliament, the Indian prime minister had said that Pakistan would have to agree to India’s demand that it will not allow its territory to be used against India for terror and that it would destroy all jehadi infrastructure that existed on its soil. Pakistan has done nothing of the kind. The recent Indian intelligence review has revealed that 42 jehadi camps are still running in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK). In addition, on June 2, 2009, Pakistan released the Mumbai attack mastermind and the head honcho of Lashkar- e -Toiba, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed. After his release, he immediately got busy and had a meeting with Salahuddin, chairman of the United Jehad Council, a conglomerate of 13 Pakistan-based Jehadi organisations operating terrorist activities.

We may continue feigning innocence, but the whole world knows that L-e-T is an unofficial extension of the Pakistani Army without uniform. The Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) funds the L-e-T and the Pakistani Army trains them. The Mumbai attack was the brainchild of the Pakistani Army and the ISI, as were the 25 other terror attacks in India before it. So, if the L-e-T is planning another Mumbait-type attack on India as has been warned by intelligence agencies, then it is actually the Pakistani Army and the ISI planning it. The reason is, their failed operation in Swat Valley which they had tom tomed so much about. Despite their three months of bombings in Swat and adjoining areas, they have been only been able to liberate the satellite towns of this area. Mingora, the main town and other adjoining areas are still under the Taliban. The Pakistani Army is now realising that getting into Northern and Southern Waziristan will cost them very heavily. So, the answer is to strain relations with India and tell the United States that they can not spare troops from their Eastern borders. This is where the second Mumbai type of attack comes handy.

The need of the hour is to stand firm and not to give in. By de-linking action against terror from the composite dialogue, India has bailed out the Pakistani state actors, the real culprits in the Pakistani-sponsored Jehad. Now in all future attacks against India, ISI and Pakistani Army will feign innocence. Besides, India will not be in a position to opt for a military option or even threaten Pakistan with it. This delinking gives Pakistan the initiative to calibrate the progress on composite talks with their Jehadi activity thereby always keeping guns pointed at us. Our other big blunder was to allow Pakistan to include the Baluchistan issue in the joint declaration. This points a finger at India as if we are responsible for what is happening in Baluchistan. Further this idea of Pakistan sharing real time intelligence with India on any forthcoming terror attack is outright childish. Surely the Pakistani Army and ISI will not tell us in advance where they are planning to strike next in India.There is no doubt that the intentions of Manmohan Singh were laudable in these talks. He wanted to buy lasting peace with Pakistan. The big question however is, whether Pakistan also wants to have peace with India. The answer is a big no. It is very unfortunate that even after 60 years of independence, the Indian political establishment lacks strategic thought. They also do not want to take lessons from history.In 1965, Lal Bahadur Shastri thought that a little bargaining will let them purchase peace from Pakistan for India in Tashkent. But, Pakistan proved him wrong. The same thing happened to Indira Gandhi when in good faith she agreed to Bhutto’s request that the Line of Control in Kashmir should not be declared the international boundary, in the Simla Agreement of 1972. Atal Bihari Bajpai’s Lahore bus trip was rewarded by Pakistan with the Kargil episode.

True to their colours, after the inclusion of Balochistan in the joint statement, Pakistan has already started blaming India for the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore and also for the attack on their Police Academy in Manawan. The answer lies in interpreting this joint statement as we want things to happen. We will have to take a strong stand. There is no hurry for the composite dialogue to resume till our conditions are met. If Pakistan insists on foisting Baluchistan on us then so be it. Let us get involved there. This will be the best way to checkmate Pakistan. If we want Pakistan and other countries to take us seriously then we will have to be tough.

Sharm-el-Sheikh - the great Indian sell-out

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