INDIA’S NO TO US MEDIATION: PAKISTAN SEES A WEAK INDIA!

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is modified to reflect the dateline continuity.

Pakistan reacted on expected lines on India’s snub to the US on its offer to mediate between India and Pakistan. According to a recent Dunya News report, Pakistan Foreign Office reacted saying that the Indian stand once again proves India’s ‘weak’ position on the Kashmir issue.

According to the report, Nafees Zakaria, spokesperson of the Pakistan Foreign Office said that ‘the behaviour of the neighbourly state was disappointing, adding that the weak position of India compelled it to quit Kashmir talks’. “Whenever the United States or any other global power asked to mediate the talks, India backed away,” the report quoted him saying. He added to his statement the favourite Pakistani rant of India sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan to it.

Nikki Haley, the Indian origin United States Ambassador the United Nations, had created a storm by saying that the Donald Trump administration was concerned about tension between India and Pakistan and would not wait for something to happen to intervene. She said that the US might offer to mediate between India and Pakistan to ‘de-escalate’ tension and that even President Donald Trump might come forward to play an active role.

India readily dismissed Nikki Haley’s offer saying it was India’s official position that the Kashmir issue could only be resolved through bilateral efforts and the ball was in Pakistan’s court to resume the dialogue process. It has been India’s demand, especially after the Pathankot airbase attack by Pakistan based JeM terrorists in January 2016, that terror and talks cannot go together and to resume the dialogue, Pakistan should stop sponsoring terror in India.

India’s official response was brief and specific, “Government’s position for bilateral redressal of all India-Pakistan issues in an environment free of terror and violence hasn’t changed. We of course expect international community and organisations to enforce international mechanisms and mandates concerning terrorism emanating from Pakistan, which continues to be the single biggest threat to peace and stability in our region and beyond.”

Also, experts dismissed Nikki Haley’s offer saying it might not represent the official US position on the issue. Subsequent US administrations have kept the Indian sensitivity in mind and have desisted from offering direct mediation between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.

In fact, during his campaign days, Trump had indicated that he would seek Indian help to keep ‘unstable Pakistan’s nukes’ in check. He had also said that Pakistan had double dealt the US in spite of receiving huge aid from the US. He reiterated his stand on Pakistan even after he won the US polls when he tweeted to slam Pakistan in December, “Get it straight: Pakistan is not our friend.”

Pakistan’s ruling establishment, in fact, survives on anti-India propaganda. Pakistan has no serious standing in the world. For many in the world community, it is just another country. For major global powers of the free world, it is a country with ‘unstable nukes’ as US President Donald Trump says or it is country with countless terror havens, as the world community generally believes.

So, there is immense international pressure, in spite of Pakistan’s big brother China’s backing, an autocratic economic and military giant. To counter this pressure, the Pakistani power elite does what it has been doing – drawing its sanctity back home from anti-India propaganda. The Pakistani power elite has created a fallacy in the country that India is Pakistan’s sworn enemy and they want its populace to remain trapped in that fallacy and this statement by Pakistan’s FS is just among those propaganda moments.

©SantoshChaubey

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NAGROTA: PARTING SHOT BY GEN SHARIF OR INAUGURAL GIFT BY GEN BAJWA?

Though Pakistan’s new army chief Gen Bajwa, after taking the charge yesterday, said the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan would be normal soon, indicating a softer approach than his predecessor, developments say otherwise.

The day, when Lt. Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa took baton from the outgoing Pakistan army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif, a proven India detractor, 7 Indian soldiers including two officials were martyred in a terror attack on an army unit near Jammu.

The attack that began early morning and lasted for some 14 hours saw fierce gunbattle and a hostage like situation with terrorists targeting army officials’ mess and residential units in Nagrota, near Indian Army’s 16 Corps Headquarters.

As expected, ugly politics over the issue has pitched in. Political goalposting has started. Debates and opinions are raging on ‘whys and hows’ of this attack that is clearly an intelligence failure but, at the outset, it is clear that it will be linked with Gen. Raheel Sharif’s parting warning to India and Gen. Bajwa ascendance to the throne.

While transferring power to Gen. Bajwa, Raheel Sharif warned India of its stand on Kashmir, comparing it with ‘increased terrorism and aggression’. He said, “India should know that mistaking our policy of patience for weakness would be dangerous.”

We all know that is an empty rhetoric, especially after the fact that the all powerful army of Pakistan had no other option left but to deny the highly successful surgical strike by India deep inside Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. The Pakistan Army could not have accepted the Indian surgical strike as it would undermine the numero-uno position it enjoys in Pakistan, presenting its weaker character before everyone – whereas Raheel Sharif had curated a ‘hero sort of image’ for himself – riding high on anti-India acts and rhetoric.

Also, doing so, as the Pakistani civilian leadership had done initially, accepting India’s claims till the army told them to toe its line of shameless denial, would have put tremendous pressure on the Pakistani army to reply back to India in a similar manner, something that it was simply not capable of.

But incidents like Nagrota or Uri present reaffirm the clear face of danger due to Pakistan’s proxy war in India. Almost all terror attacks in any part of India are found to have Pakistani links. If Jammu & Kashmir, that was once considered heaven on earth, has now become a living hell, it is because of Pakistan’s proxy war only.

It is this proxy war that Pakistan has adopted as the mainstay of its policy. Raheel Sharif actively extended that tradition. And whatever Pakistan’s military does, its civilian government has to follow that – willingly or unwillingly –  because military is supreme in Pakistan.

So, even if we were yet to hear a word about India from its next army chief, Pakistan’s spin doctors, its politicians, were already on the job. So Sartaj Aziz had said that any dialogue process cannot go ahead with India unless Kashmir is on the table, a prospect that India has officially denied, saying if there has to be India-Pakistan dialogue, it will be on terror only. So Pakistan’s defence minister Khawaja Asif had said there will be no change in Pakistan’s military policy on Indian border under Gen. Bajwa.

Even if Pakistan’s new army chief Gen. Bajwa is yet to speak openly on his thoughts on India!

Whatever little he spoke yesterday didn’t give much – but at least, from that little – we can give him the benefit of doubt – that this cowardly act in Nagrota, targeting residential units of an Indian Army base, was a parting shot by a frustrated Raheel Sharif, who, despite all his tall claims and boastings, would have to live forever with the fact that it was during his tenure only that India conducted a highly successful surgical strike deep inside his territory of influence and owned it before the world and he could not do anything.

©SantoshChaubey

CONTINUING ANTI-INDIA RHETORIC, PAKISTAN’S FS WARNS INDIA OF ITS BELLIGERENT ATTITUDE

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is a bit modified and extended.

Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry has warned India against the ‘harms’ of its hostile ‘tendencies’ against Pakistan, implying it’s a ‘dangerous’ territory.

According to a report published in The News International, Chaudhry, in a TV programme, said ‘India, with its belligerent attitude, was treading a serious path’.

Pakistan’s new army chief, Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa, is assuming office tomorrow. His predecessor, General Raheel Sharif, has had the notoriety of pushing India-Pak ties to a historically low point with war-like situation prevailing along the border between the two neighbours.

Now it is a well-established fact that Pakistan’s army chief is its most powerful person. Gen. Raheel Sharif is leaving the Pakistan’s most powerful office with anti-India designs, something that reflects in the statements of every Pakistani politician, be it its prime minister or defence minister or foreign affairs minister.

If we take a cue from that, India is going to handle the same, belligerent and backstabbing Pakistan as it was during Raheel Sharif’s time.

Continuing the tradition of anti-India rhetoric, Pakistan FS said ‘Pakistan had very sagaciously reminded it (India) of such dangerous tendencies’.

While emphasizing that India and Pakistan needed to talk, he further added that ‘Pakistan’s defences were fully impregnable and it could not be intimidated with volleys of bragging talks’.

Pakistan’s leadership has been more livid ever since India conducted its surgical strike deep inside Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir in September eliminating dozens of terrorists and terror launch-pads. What has been more humiliating for Pakistan and its military leadership is that they cannot accept on any platform any such military exercise by the Indian army inside the territory of its influence.

And so they are resorting to such ‘volleys of bragging talks’ like Pakistan’s FS has just said or like other ruling elite of Pakistan say about India every other day or like the continued shelling across our border areas ever since the surgical strike.

Ever since the surgical strike on September 29, Pakistan has violated ceasefire over 300 times and brags about how many Indian soldiers it has killed in the cross-border firing to appease concerns of its internal politics. But as the Indian forces have been given a free hand to give befitting reply to any Pakistani misadventure, the scale of damage on the Pakistani side in the Indian counter-firing has been manifold.

Last week we saw a glimpse of it when the Pakistani DGMO had to call his Indian counterpart for talks after India’s retaliatory fire in response to an Indian soldier’s beheading inflicted heavy damage on the Pakistani side. We can gauge the extent of damage by the fact that it was the first time since the surgical strike that the Pakistani DGMO had to speak to the Indian DGMO about bringing normalcy along the LoC.

©SantoshChaubey

WHY JIT JUNKING PATHANKOT TERROR ATTACK WILL BE A BAD IDEA FOR PAKISTAN!

What is routine in India-Pakistan ties has reportedly happened with the reports saying the Pakistan Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has refuted India’s charges and the Pathankot airbase attack, in fact, was stage managed by India to malign Pakistan in the world community.

That is on the line how Pakistan behaves and therefore has no surprise or shock value.

What was unusual, and in fact, remarkable – was Narendra Modi’s decision to engage Pakistan again after the bitterness on Pakistan High Commission’s insistence on inviting J&K separatists that rendered India-Pakistan ties hostile for months – with verbal rhetoric, escalated tension in capitals, Delhi and Islamabad, and cross-border firings.

With today’s development, that says the Pakistan’s Pathankot JIT has rubbished all Indian claims of any Pakistani hand in the Pathankot airbase attack, there are now valid questions being raised on the diplomatic coup that Narendra Modi seemed to have achieved with his unscheduled stopover at Lahore while coming back from Afghanistan on December 25 last year.

The dramatic event changed the bilateral course and the news agenda about India-Pakistan ties. Though there were developments like the National Security Advisors of both countries meeting in a third country and some meetings of officials of both countries, the way perspectives to look at things in Indo-Pak context changed, was visibly different after this visit.

Border skirmishes, if not stopped, came down significantly. Verbal rhetoric was toned down. The escalated tension between both neighbours looked giving way to a thaw towards a normalizing relation with Sushma Swaraj visiting Pakistan for a SAARC meet and talks of Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Advisor, coming to India to take forward the Indo-Pak dialogue.

And then – the Pathankot airbase attack happened – on the intervening night of January 1-2.

The terror attack that killed seven Indian security personnel and four terrorists lasted for three days. It was proved beyond doubt, with the evidence available, that the terrorists had come from Pakistan and Pakistan even showed sincerity in acting on evidence India provided – with Nawaz Sharif forming a team to probe the incident and the reported crackdown on the terror group responsible for the attack, JeM (Jaish-e-Muhammad) and its members, including JeM chief Masood Azhar though it was never officially confirmed.

That was the first clearly visible sign of Pakistan backtracking. Many flip-flops on Pathankot incident probe in Pakistan then ensued. The almost certain dates of India-Pakistan NSA level talks were postponed with India making the talks conditional with the progress made by Pakistan in the Pathankot probe. Pakistan also continued with its audacity on hosting the J&K separatists to the Pakistan High Commission.

Then came Pakistan’s proposal to send its JIT to India to see the evidence-set to further the probe. India accepted it and the Pakistan JIT team was in India for five days (March 27 to April 1) to carry out its investigation, ascertain facts, and collect evidence that was needed in the Pakistan courts.

Now that the JIT is back in Pakistan, everyone in India is desperately waiting for what comes next.

Obviously, the logical extension would be, from India’s perspective – the JIT should come with a status report that would speed-up the probe there in Pakistan.

But what about designs of all stakeholders involved?

Pakistan’s Army and ISI (a JIT member was from ISI) would never accept Pakistan’s hand and would do all to shield JeM and Masood Azhar. Civilian government of Pakistan would want to toe a more disciplined approach given the international interest and pressure. The political opposition in Pakistan would obviously take the side of the Pakistan’s Army.

In India, the first preference of everyone would be that all goes well and the Pakistan JIT carries the work ahead by expediting the probe there based on evidence India has provided. But given the Pakistan’s history of backstabbing and backtracking, the groups in India opposed to NDA, BJP and Narendra Modi would see a ‘windfall opportunity’ in catching up on any hostile development and thus the opportunity to corner the Narendra Modi government over failure of a much discussed foreign policy move, something that happened today with the alleged report that the Pakistan JIT had dubbed the Indian version a blatant lie.

For the moment, India and its agencies have done the right thing by not jumping to any conclusion. Even with Pakistan’s dubious history and credentials, we need to wait for any official version from Pakistan and must not go by whatever crap the hysterical media outlets in Pakistan report.

But, if indeed the reports coming out in the Pakistani media about the JIT report are true, then also we should not jump to any such conclusion as seeing it as some ‘impulsive foreign policy move’ by the Narendra Modi government.

Because, after Narendra Modi’s Lahore stopover and India’s permission for Pakistan JIT to visit India to see and collect evidence, Pakistan is simply not in a position to junk the Pathankot airbase attack as some stage-managed propaganda attack to malign Pakistan.

The world saw and appreciated Narendra Modi’s Lahore move. The world went to believe the use of Pakistan’s soil in orchestrating attack on Pathankot airbase. The world knows that Pakistan is home to some of the world’s most dreaded groups. The world knows how Pakistan made mockery of 26/11 probe where its non-state actors were involved. The world knows Osama bin Laden was found and killed in Pakistan. The world knows how he survived there for years – with the state’s patronage. The world knows JeM is a UN recognized terrorist group and Masood Azhar was freed (swapped) in the 1999 Kandahar hijacking incident. The world knows ISI is more involved in promoting terror groups in India than caring for incessant intelligence failures in Pakistan.

This all has made Pakistan like a failed state in the international community – a state which cannot be trusted. After all, the US did not inform Pakistan before the operation to kill Osama bin Laden fearing leaks.

The world knows how serious India has been with Pakistan, in taking the dialogue process forward, especially after Narendra Modi’s Lahore stopover and after India allowed the Pakistan JIT visit in spite of strong opposition in India.

Now any further bravado/sham will further dent Pakistan’s credibility in the International arena as the country has already lost much of its currency after Pakistan it’s exposed patronage of the terror groups including Al Qaeda, Taliban, LeT, JeM, Haqqani Network and countless others. And it should also be seen in the context of Narendra Modi’s emphasis on improving ties with the Muslim countries including Pakistan’s supporter nations like Saudi Arabia.

If Pakistan now denies use of its soil and junks the Pathankot terror attack, it will do so at its own peril. Yes, it is an altogether different issue to see if it happens so, then how India plays it out at international platforms.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

DEMILITARIZING SIACHEN?

With the February 3 avalanche and with the passing away of Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad (or Hanumanthappa, the way you spell this brave son of Mother India’s name) today, another round of debate on ‘demilitarising’ Siachen has started intensifying.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit said today – “We strongly feel that the time has come to ensure that more lives are not lost due to harsh conditions in Siachen.”

He was referring to an idea (or a proposal) mooted by Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif at the UN General Assembly September last.

And he is not alone. In fact, whenever any tragedy happens in the Siachen area, such calls start making inroads, from India and Pakistan, but only to die down later – because India cannot trust Pakistan – because Pakistan cannot be trusted with its military’s aversion and hostility towards India – and because it has been a hard fought and won battle there at Siachen – with China still lording over the Aksai Chin region. Besides being rich in mineral resources, the whole Siachen region is also important to keep a keen eye on movements on Pakistani and Chinese sides and across Baltistan and Shaksgam valleys.

And because it is Pakistan that made the blue ice caps of Siachen a battlefield in 1984 triggering a response from India to retake what was its righty.

Before that, Siachen was serene and aesthetic – like its vast expanse of white snow and nature’s music – with the fact that avalanches are a reality of snow laden mountain caps across the world – before or after 1984.

Pakistan forced us to wade into that territory when it disturbed that calm.

And since then, it has been a continuous battle for survival for Indian soldiers there – putting efforts to be able to coexist with nature – and its fury for trespassing through this virgin territory.

In the last three decades, India has lost around 900 soldiers in Siachen, mostly in tragedies like avalanches or due to other threats of inclement weather. But over the years, we have learnt to live with nature there, minimizing loss of lives every passing year – with increasing scientific and defence prowess of India.

While Pakistan, the country that is in a poor strategic shape in the Siachen area, in fact being forced out to the lower hills on the other side of Siachen, continues to lose its civilians and soldiers in greater numbers with the huge 2012 loss that saw some 140 civilians and soldiers losing their lives in an avalanche.

While demilitarization of Siachen makes sense for India and Pakistan both, it’s almost like imperative for Pakistan – the country that began the whole Siachen war zone stuff – like it has disturbed peace and tranquillity in Jammu & Kashmir by exporting and supporting terrorism there since the late 1980s.

India incurs some Rs. 5 crore (less than a million) per day in keeping Siachen supplied – that is nothing when we see India’s defence budget, yes but it would be really tough for Pakistan, a much smaller economy with a flurry of domestic problems. We cannot how much it costs for Pakistan there.

Bur the cost involved here is the ‘human cost’.

And Indian soldiers like Hanamathappa and nine others who lost their lives in February 3 avalanche are ready to sacrifice here with the human cost involved – as long as India doesn’t get sure about Pakistani and Chinese designs. We have paid the price with some 900 lives and we cannot let that go – by trusting two treacherous neighbours – Pakistan and China – the countries that have been historical adversaries of India – and have backstabbed India multiple times.

India is seriously working to maintain good relations with Pakistan and China but while China’s economic concerns can be trusted, Pakistan’s mercurial Army, that has been traditionally and existentially anti-India, can never be trusted. And we all know it is the Pakistani Army, and not its political establishment, that decides which way the country would go.

The whole nation was praying for Hanamanthappa. The whole nation is in a state of shock and is paying tribute to the ten bravehearts who lost their lives in the avalanche.

To keep Siachen safe and in India’s control would be the best service we can do to them, like Bana Singh, the Siachen hero, who captured a strategic post from Pakistani in 1987 which was later renamed as ‘Bana Post’ in his honour, said (in a Hindustan Times report) – “It’s tough to survive there but the moral and strength of an Indian soldier keeps him going. Weather adversaries shouldn’t make us think of ever pulling out of Siachen”.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WILL HEADLEY’S TESTIMONY MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE?

David Coleman Headley, aka Dawood Gilani, deposing in a Mumbai court via video link from an undisclosed location in the United States – is indeed a big news no doubt – but will it make any qualitative difference to the ongoing probe into the 26/11 Mumbai attacks?

I don’t think so.

Seven years ago, in 2008, on November 26, ten Pakistani terrorists had carried out armed strikes at multiple locations in Mumbai killing 166 people of different nationalities (including the US).

It had been established from the day-1 that the terrorists had come from Pakistan via sea route. It had been established that they were being given orders and information from their handlers sitting in Pakistan. Nationalities of those killed mounted an international pressure on Pakistan to act and within months some arrests, including Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, were made. Later on, Hafiz Saeed, the main mastermind, as every Indian believes, was also taken in.

But that was it only. The things ended here. Nothing moved after that. We all now know what Pakistan did, in the name of 26/11 probe, in response to the mounting international pressure, was an eyewash only.

As the international pressure subsided, and as things became routine, in spite of repeated Indian dossiers, in spite of trial and execution of the lone captured terrorist Ajmal Kasab, Pakistan started turning deaf ears to India’s concerns.

Well, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi and all others were always free in Pakistan – like Masood Azhar is – founder of the terror group Jaish-e-Muhammad, a convicted terrorist in India – who was swapped in the Kandahar hijacking incident in 1999 involving an Indian Airlines flight – the mastermind of the terror attack on Pathankot airbase in Punjab last month – and a respected figure in Pakistan.

Yes, India and Pakistan are trying seriously to mend ties – at least at the political leadership level. But while India’s political leadership represents India, Pakistan’s political leadership is considered secondary to the primacy enjoyed by the Pakistani Army – an institution that feeds on anti-India sentiment in Pakistan and draw validity and sanctity from it.

And it is the Pakistani Army that takes decisions and makes calls whenever anything related to India is to happen including supporting terror groups operating in India.

And that is the reason, David Coleman Headley’s testimony is not going to make any difference – like the Indian dossiers about the perpetrators of the 26/11 attacks failed to make Pakistan move – like the recent set of evidences about Masood Azhar and JeM role in the Pathankot airbase elicited a similar, familiar response from Pakistan.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

INDIA PAKISTAN THAW: IT IS IRONIC BUT..

It is ironic but two unfortunate terror strikes have come as the opportunity cost to show verbal restraint in India-Pakistan ties – something that should be identified as a ‘real time real’ development in India-Pakistan thaws.

First it was Pathankot terror strike in India – on Pathankot air base – near the Pakistan border in Indian state of Punjab. The terror strike that began early in the morning of January 1 when, like the whole world, India, too was welcoming the New Year and went on for quite some time. The attack had clear Pakistani imprints (and footprints, literally). Though the attack did not cause much damage, it dragged on for hours and caused irreparable loss with seven Indian soldiers martyred.

And first time in the known history, at least in the recent times, Pakistan reacted sincerely to the leads points its hands there – even if it was under pressure to do so – under US pressure – and under the pressure of Narendra Modi’s surprise Lahore stopover and diplomacy that ensued.

Pakistan condemned the attack and its prime minister’s office released a statement saying Pakistan was seriously working on the leads provided by India and several Jaish-eMuhamman operatives were arrested. The statement also said that a Special Investigation Team was constituted for comprehensive probe. JeM is a Pakistan based terror group that is behind this attack on Pathankot. Its chief Masood Azhar, who was in Indian jail, was swapped in 1999 Kandahar hijacking incident.

It’s true that we cannot expect much from Pakistan. That is visible from its flipflops on Masood Azhar’s arrest.

But we need to appreciate the restraint shown. Pakistan’s ruling establishment and even its military have tried to look sincere this time. Yesterday, a report came that Pakistan had assured the US of no doublespeak in Pathankot terror probe on its soil.

Let’s give Pakistan some time to see what it comes with – as it time and again – after the Pathankot air base attack incident – has reiterated that it will reveal something concrete once the probe is finished.

India bashing was regular in Pakistani media – as usual -as expected – as the stories planted on crackdown on JeM and Masood Azhar’s arrest.

The second indicator came today – with terror strike at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda district in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (KP). Around 25 people were killed when terrorists attacked the University founded in 2012 in the name of Gandhian Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan or Frontier Gandhi.

Like has been the practice in Pakistan, blaming India blindly for every terror strike, was not the case today.

No one in Pakistan’s ruling establishment, including its civilian government and its military, rushed to blame India today – and that was very sincere.

In fact Nawaz Sharif responded sensitively to Narendra Modi’s message in this crisis hour saying “this incident is yet another reminder that terrorism is our common enemy and a cooperative approach is essential to eliminate it from the region.”

Yes, as usual, a section of Pakistani media has been on an overdrive to prove Indian hand in Bacha Khan University attack – blaming Indian Embassy in Kabul and providing some phone numbers that were used – but that looks more like a ‘tit for tat’ – with India’s actionable evident provided to Pakistan in Pathankot attack incident. Hope, Pakistan government it’s all powerful army would not go into that rhetoric.

Pakistan’s ruling establishment knows that linking India to attacks in Pakistan is nothing but to appease the elements in its domestic politics – and the time is not opportune for that. Promoting unrest in India has been a state policy for Pakistan while India has always been a responsible democracy.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MASOOD AZHAR DETENTION: WHERE WAS SUSPENSE?

The news that Masood Azhar had been detained in Pakistan in Pathankot terror attack case broke like a sweeping development – taking over all in its awe.

But scratch a little and there is something familiar that worries us as – something that has worried us all in every case where perpetrators are ‘hiding’ at large in Pakistan with a respectable public life.

Unlike Dawood Ibrahim, whose presence Pakistan denies vehemently, such has not been the case with Hafiz Saeed, the LeT and JuD chief, with a US bounty of US$ 10 Million on his head. He is a highly respectable figure in Pakistan. He spews venom against India. He warns Pakistani establishment on speaking even a single word that is pro India. He regularly visits border areas in Pakistan to deliver anti-India ‘sermons’.

And such has not been the case even with Masood Azhar, even if he was an imprisoned terrorist in India who was swapped in the IC814 hijacking episode in 1999. A natural, responsible step by Pakistan would be to hand over Masood Azhar to India – because he would always remain wanted in India – with his past – with his arrest in Sringar in 1995 or his role in 2001 Parliament attack and his conviction in absentia, his role in 2008 Mumbai attacks, or in different terror attacks in India.

But India must not forget that Pakistan did not hand over Masood to America even after intense pressure in journalist Daniel Pearl murder case.

So, Pakistan is not going to detain him or arrest him for India – that is like daydreaming.

Also, it was said (or alleged) that Masood was taken in ‘protective custody’. Now what is this ‘protective custody’? You don’t need to go far and deep to know what this term legally means in Pakistan than a simple Google search.

A Google search with ‘protective custody’ returns with loads of pages saying ‘Osama bin Laden was in protective custody in Pakistan’. That is more than enough to tell us what it means. Osama enjoyed a safe life in Pakistan for years, in its military backyard – till one fine day – when America disrupted and destroyed the related ‘collective designs’.

Today’s rumour that spread like wildfire may well be intended at creating atmospherics for India-Pakistan FS level talks – that both countries are in a trap to look committed to – after Narendra Modi’s surprise Lahore visit on Nawaz Sharif’s birthday on December 25 last year.

Anyway, we can expect that something good will come out from this dilemma – that it will not work as some ‘entrapment’- because both countries are looking closest to their shared and distinctive realities now.

If Pakistan needs a ‘Pakistan’ that goes ahead on the path of development, away from a very certain scenario of nation’s disintegration, it must maintain peace with India – because most of its resources, in the situations now, are being absorbed in destabilizing India – something that is nothing but a daydreaming. A peaceful relation with the world’s third largest economy, that is also its neighbour, will give Pakistan the much needed leverage to initiate on the process of nation building.

For India, a peaceful Pakistan and peace at India Pakistan borders would help in developing areas in these conflict zones at par with other parts in the country. And obviously would smoothen the flow of energy resources from ‘energy-rich’ central Asian countries.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MODI’S NAWAZ STOPOVER

As it goes – Narendra Modi thought – and Nawaz Sharif proposed – and two met – while Narendra Modi was to leave for India via Pakistan’s airspace – as reports say..

But shouldn’t we leave the part – ‘as reports say’ – and instead should prefer to go with the part – ‘as it goes’?

Are there written rules for policymaking on diplomacy?

No, there should not be and there cannot be!

Written rules are for extremes of policies made in a democratic nation that India is!

Written rules, like in a constitution, ensure that what a policy must not do!

Written rules define boundaries of policies according to times and are open to time-specific changes!

Written rules don’t say ‘do not follow or mend a policy’ because it is contrary to the position earlier taken – if it is not akin to compromising with sovereignty of the country!

Written rules don’t say, in case of India-Pakistan talks here, that talks should be done on ‘this or that’ precondition!

Written rules don’t say that ‘don’t tweak your policies to take an altogether different approach to try something good even if it means trusting a nation like Pakistan with bad track record on this parameter’!

Written rules don’t say that ‘don’t take a path opposed to the one taken previously as it is not in sync with domestic politics of the nation’!

Written rules never say diplomacy cannot be exercised ‘the common man’ style!

So, what is wrong if Narendra Modi chose to have a brief stopover in Pakistan to wish Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani prime minister, personally on his birthday – doubling the day’s moments of joy as it was also the wedding of Sharif’s granddaughter that day!

Shouldn’t we see this as the ‘icing on the cake’ – that doing this on the day – on December 25 – gave the developments an overall higher appeal to the symbolism of this ‘common-man-esque’ call as the day happens to be birth anniversaries of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Atal Bihari Vajpayee as well?

Why should we go on scouting for ‘inside stories’ and why should we go on endlessly about possible scoops?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

INDIA AND PAKISTAN ARE TALKING AGAIN

So, on a non-rhetorical note, India and Pakistan have decided to resume their bilateral dialogue again – that has had a fractured history so far – with many more lows and few, standalone highs.

And away from all pointers of debate and who said what in the past and who did what – it is the best possible option available for both countries – because it suits their populations back homes – two populations that were one before 1947.

It is the best thing that can happen to India and Pakistan – increased people to people to contact – revisiting the shared cultural interests that still define life in every city of India – and a ‘peaceful’ Pakistan can immensely benefit from it.

The present geopolitical balance where economy is the most important parameter to weigh one’s share in the ‘group of most effective voices’ on world affairs, Pakistan is nowhere near to India. India is a major world economy now and is poised to become a global power.

But that only makes for the case that it engages in peace process with Pakistan – to synergise its efforts in building an economy that is already the most preferred destination of every global outfit – and thus building a society that becomes an example. That one is a massive task with long term goals and require decades of continued nation building.

And doing so, engaging with India in the peace process and looking for solutions to the issues that create problems, will ultimately help India – its fledgling economy – increasing radicalization of its society – and its crumbling national integrity.

Even if Pakistan employs all its resources and wages a war till its last remnant , it will not be able to take Kashmir, or for that matter, any other part from India. This realization is already there. The need is to act on it. The need in Pakistan is to utilize the resources for nation building that it is wasting in creating troubles for India – a huge pool of resources that can prove very vital for Pakistani society.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/