The Apologists

Prem Shankar Jha’s article in Outlook this week, titled
Double-Barrelled Dialogue ends:

“If the above analysis is correct, then Pakistan’s abrupt change of strategy doesn’t necessarily mean it is going back to its old game of bleeding India with a low-intensity proxy war till it’s forced out of Kashmir. It is much more likely that the shift is born out of a perceived sense of weakness and is designed to bring India to the table. All of Musharraf’s recent statements, such as to the Indian parliamentary delegation that met him in August, and at the UN earlier this week, are consistent with this interpretation.

The ball is, therefore, in India’s court. There is every likelihood that if it takes concrete measures to restart the stalled dialogue, Musharraf will call off his dogs. But there can also be no doubt that Pakistan’s return to coercive tactics has made it much more difficult for New Delhi to take the next step. For if Pakistan cannot negotiate from a position of declining leverage, New Delhi too cannot afford to be seen negotiating with a gun held to it head. However, of the two, India is much more able to afford making a concession on this issue.It is eight times Pakistan’s size, has an immensely stronger economy and, most important of all, is in possession of Kashmir. If the subcontinent ever needed a dose of Mr Vajpayee’s statesmanship and far-sightedness, it needs it now”

It belongs to the same school of thought that as India is larger and can afford to make concessions it should; and Pakistan should not be expected to do so because its smaller or weaker. It is precisely because of this faulty, weak minded, lofty softness that India faces perennial terrorism.

Pakistan is reaping what it sowed – its worthies could very well have decided that after the Cold War Pakistan would focus on economic development and aspire to be an Asian tiger. Instead, they decided to pursue their revisionist agenda of closing the unfinished business of Partition. Why should India even think of bailing out an unrepentant Pakistan ?

Given the unstable nature of the Pakistani government there is no guarantee a quid to one Pakistani leader will be honoured by his successor. Indeed, history gives no comfort as we have a long list of broken promises – Tashkent, Simla, Lahore and Agra. So to concede so much as an inch to Pakistan without a reciprocal guarantee of a total change of heart is utter foolishness.

The sub-continent needs no more doses of statesmanship and far-sightedness; this is not the language Pakistan understands. India needs steely determination in the pursuit of its own self interest. And this certainly does not involve negotiating with a someone pointing a gun at you.