Manmohan Singh’s ‘no war’ statement hailed in Pakistani media

December 25th, 2008 - 2:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghIslamabad, Dec 25 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s declaration that there was “no question of war” post-26/11 has been hailed in two Pakistani editorials, even as a noted analyst has termed as “headstrong” New Delhi’s “attitude” in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement on Tuesday that there is ‘no question of war’ between the two neighbours will have allayed some of the fears that the tension on our eastern border may spiral out of control,” Dawn said in an editorial headlined “The right response”.

According to Daily Times, Manmohan Singh had “trimmed the sails” of India’s response “probably after being put off” by the line adopted by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who had threatened unilateral action if Pakistan did not hand over the terrorists New Delhi had demanded.

Noting that “Delhi’s headstrong attitude is unwise”, security analyst Nasim Zehra, in an article in The News, said: “India mistakenly believed that it could take the US post-9/11 route for dealing with the problem of terrorism; a browbeating approach, with the threat of force and international support behind it.”

The Dawn editorial held that “with chest-thumping bravado still evident in some quarters on both sides of the border, statements designed to reduce the tension are a welcome sign of responsible statesmanship”.

“The first responsibility of a leader of a nation is to protect his people from harm - a responsibility that entails pursuing with vigour every avenue for conflict resolution short of war,” the editorial added.

Holding that the Mumbai attacks were an “escalation in tactics” to put pressure on the Pakistan-India peace process, Dawn said: “With the composite dialogue put on hold by India, the terrorists have already partially achieved their goal.”

It then sounded a note of caution, saying the Mumbai attacks “represented a frightening new capacity” for militants to perhaps coordinate their actions across borders in South Asia.

“In Mumbai, the militants went for India’s economic jugular; what’s to stop them from upping the ante in Pakistani cities next? The Marriott bombing and attacks in cities across the country indicate that militants are pursuing an agenda beyond seeing the Indian state cower before the Pakistani state.

“Unfortunately, Indian pressure makes Pakistanis forget the real problem,” Dawn said, pointing to what The Economist had written on the subject: “If Pakistan’s leaders had ever united against Islamist militancy as they have against India over the past three weeks, their country would not be the violent mess that it is.”

“Tough words for us to swallow perhaps, but nevertheless true,” Dawn said.

Noting that “there are signs India is cooling its rage a bit, which is to be welcomed”, Daly Times wondered whether this meant India would adopt a policy of cooperating with Pakistan on countering terrorism.

“At least that is what the world wants. And the world doesn’t necessarily favour Pakistan when it asks India to cool down and start a process of bilateral inquiry,” it said in an editorial headlined “Cooperate, give proof!”

Holding that the threat of war “unleashes forces that do not lend themselves to any discipline”, Daily Times said: “Neither the threatening state nor the one that is threatened ultimately knows how to put the genie back in the bottle once it is let out.”

“This is the moment for India and Pakistan to cooperate and sincerely investigate the Mumbai attack and follow up with steps that put an end to a dark chapter of hostility that has undermined all efforts at normalisation of relations for a decade,” the editorial added.

According to Zehra, India “needs to adopt a more constructive attitude in dealing with the post-Mumbai crisis. There is no international ‘browbeating’ route that will yield any results for India.”

“Delhi must understand that Pakistan and its government and people do want peace, equally the state, the government and the people want to deal with terrorism.

“However, Pakistan will do this within the parameters of international and national law,” Zehra wrote in the article headlined “Delhi’s flawed strategy”.

She also noted that the post-2007 Pakistan, “with a strong commitment to the rule of law and citizens’ rights, the commitment to democracy and the rejection of militancy and terrorism, will ‘play by rules’.”

“Delhi needs to go beyond ‘browbeating’,” Zehra added.

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