Should the India-Pakistan ceasefire continue?

My response to the IPCS online debate

The Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, a New Delhi-based think-tank, is running an online debate on the India-Pakistan ceasefire.

The motion

Should the ceasefire continue?

The cease fire along the LOC in Jammu & Kashmir has held for 14 months. The only major violation took place only on 18 Jan 2005 and has highlighted the fragility of the arangement. Should the ceasefire continue? If not what other arrangement should there be? If it should continue, what could strengthen the process and what aditional measure should be incorporated?

My response

This is a wrong question.

The correct question should be: What should India do in the face of provocations from across the Line of Control.

Whether the firing was carried out by the regular Pakistani army, renegade or otherwise; or jihadi ‘irregulars’, renegade or otherwise; the responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of General Musharraf. That is because his conduct (in spite of his promises), has no redeeming or mitigating factors: infiltration was down, but the camps, infrastructure and organisations were intact. Masood Azhar, Syed Salahuddin and Hafiz Saeed are very much free and going about their business.

Musharraf retained the jihadi capability while temporarily suspending his intent. So, regardless of who actually carried out the ceasefire violations from the Pakistani side, it is Musharraf who must be held responsible.

The ceasefire violations could be Musharraf’s strongest signals yet that he is not satisfied with the pace of the peace-process. In other words, it is back to the old Pakistani tactic of forcing India to negotiate with a gun to its head. It is this tactic that India has to tackle — by freezing high-level talks until the ceasefire is observed.

That’s the gist of it – cease fire or cease talks. India must make it clear that there is only one option that Musharraf can choose.

Related Links: Deja vu, all over again; Yes, Musharraf has turned on the jihadis spigots again