India-Pakistan shadow boxing (Part-I)

July 29th, 2010 - 12:09 pm ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh By B.I. Saini

New Delhi, July 29 (ANI): India and Pakistan have gone through another round of shadow boxing, which they call steps towards a dialogue, to sort out differences between the two countries on a host of issues.

Though the talks ended in a stalemate, with the two countries blaming each other for the deadlock, they are set to pick up the threads again by the end of the year, or even earlier in September, when their Foreign Ministers would be in New York for the UN General Assembly session.

Reasons for the failure of the Islamabad talks are not difficult to fathom. Both sides went into the talks with different expectations and agendas which had no convergence.

India wanted action on terrorism, while Pakistan ostensibly wanted progress at least on the drawing up of a road map to tackle the issues of Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek.

Both countries have domestic compulsions. After 26/11, terrorism has become a big issue for the Indian people, even though they are exercised over major problems facing the country - burgeoning corruption, an excruciatingly slow justice delivery system, an inequitable economic regime, where the rich are becoming super rich while the poor are dying of malnutrition and starvation.

Food grains valued at tens of thousands of crores of rupees rot in the godowns and in the open. The parties in the opposition have also been complicit in many of the woes from which the country is suffering.

But terrorism is one issue on which the government is sensitive, as it has the potential to unite the divided opposition, and may just be the spark which the BJP, the principal opposition party, has been waiting for to light up its offensive against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

Also, the Manmohan Singh government can no longer afford to be seen as being soft on terrorism, especially that emanating from the country’s western neighbour, which is widely perceived to involve elements in the establishment there.

The picture on the Pakistan side is also not clear. It has been apparent to security analysts as well as the global community that not only “non-state actors” as claimed by Islamabad but also an important part of the Pakistan establishment is responsible for the acts of terrorism targeting India.

In fact, Pakistan has been using terrorism as an instrument of state policy for decades. And, recent events have shown that there is no change in this scenario. Pakistan has steadfastly refused to take any credible action to dismantle the terror infrastructure on its territory and the part of Kashmir under its illegal occupation.

Terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir continue to produce fresh groups of young people, motivated and equipped to undertake terror strikes in India and other parts of the world.

Pakistan has failed to rein in its Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

The agency continues to mount terror strikes against India and in Afghanistan in cahoots with forces like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Taliban created by Pakistan itself to further its agenda. Of course, Pakistan has also had to pay a price for it, with some of the terrorist cadres turning against their creators.

Pakistan origin American Lashkar terrorist David Coleman Headley’s testimony during interrogation by the American FBI and India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA), has once again blown the lid off the role played by Pakistan’s ISI and Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed in the 26/11 terror strikes.

As Indian Home Secretary G. K. Pillai put it tersely, the ISI and Hafiz Saeed were involved in the Mumbai outrage from the beginning till the end.

Pillai’s remarks may have been ill-timed, coming as they did on the eve of External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna’s talks with his Pakistan counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad, but there is no denying that it was spot on.

Qureshi used the remarks of G.K. Pillai to shift the blame for the lack of progress at the Islamabad talks on India.

Very conveniently, Pakistan is targeting Pillai instead of taking action to plug the fountains on its soil from which terrorism is springing up and threatening not only India, but also other countries including the United States.

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