Kashmir and the Emperor’s new clothes

Pakistan’s jihadi gun remains pointed at India’s head

Genuine statesmanship or shrewd electoral calculations – whatever may have been the motivation behind Vajpayee’s hand of friendship towards Pakistan, Kashmir is no closer to a permanent peace than it was a year ago. And genuine impatience or the usual backstab – whatever may have been the motivation behind Musharraf’s retention of his jihadi foot-soldiers, they continue to pursue their campaign of violence in the Jammu & Kashmir state.

India finds itself holding talks with Pakistan even as General Musharraf repeatedly clarifies that the jihadi gun is indeed pointing at India’s head. Even if the jihadi terrorists do not resort to tactics such as bold attacks on high-profile targets, the overall Pakistani strategy of using terrorism to resolve the Kashmir issue remains very much intact. Quite obviously, it is time to re-assess the irrational exuberance that the Vajpayee government infused with respect to the peace process with Pakistan.

There is only one recourse available to India – to insist on total and irreversible dismantling of the jihadi infrastructure in Pakistan before any more discussions can take place over Kashmir. General Musharraf has been given one too many chances, and he has blown every single one of them.

Related Links: In an excellent article, Brahma Chellaney writes that Vajpayee’s hand of friendship achieved nothing other than further strengthening Musharraf’s position. Praveen Swami reports that the only thing that has changed is India’s tolerance of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, while the jihadis are alive and kicking in Kashmir.

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