Foot in the loud mouth
Bharat Bhushan points out that Natwar Singh’s preoccupation with the 1972 Simla Agreement puts India in an unfavourable position.
The Islamabad statement of January 6 is, in fact, a major achievement for India and going back to the Shimla agreement is a clear regression. In that statement Islamabad conceded three things. One, that it agrees that all the outstanding issues between the two countries, including Kashmir, are bilateral and would be resolved bilaterally to the satisfaction of the two sides. There would, therefore, be no role for the United Nations or for the Kashmiris as the third party at the high table. Two, implicit in the statement is the recognition that both sides would give up their recognized positions and show flexibility (Pakistan would not talk of UN resolutions and plebiscite, and India would not talk of the entire erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir being its integral part). Third, that Pakistan would not allow any territory under its control to be used for terrorist activity. [The Telegraph]
Another dead duck he tried to float this week was a common nuclear doctrine for India, Pakistan and China. The threat perceptions and geopolitical interests of these countries are so different and this concept has hardly been mooted and discussed within India. In the first place, it is unclear why India would want to adopt a similar doctrine as that of China and Pakistan. The sheet amount of absurdity and ambiguity that has come from Natwar Singh threatens to undermine relations with China, America and Israel.
What’s worse, Natwar Singh’s refusal to come to terms with the Vajpayee-Musharraf declaration threatens to undermine the institutionalisation that is the bedrock of Indian foreign policy. Nothing in the verdict of this year’s elections have given a mandate to Natwar Singh to undo the Vajpayee government’s foreign policy.
Manmohan Singh must step in and rein in or better still retire this mercurial horse.