Following a three–part report on surge in Pakistan-sponsored terrorist infiltration into Kashmir, the Indian Express informs us that despite all the hope and hype, Musharraf’s Pakistan continues with its terrorist enterprise in Kashmir. Bizarrely, it sees this as a result of a failure of American pressure on Gen Musharraf.
It was only a couple of months ago that the Indian Express published an op-ed essay by Pratap Bhanu Mehta that characterised those who doubted Musharraf’s bonafides as cowards and party poopers, whose wholesome distrust of the General led them to miss new opportunities. Well, with the Pakistan and its terrorists reclaiming their status as party poopers (with a bang), it is just as well those ‘opportunities’ were missed. Some of the opportunities that did get through have rather been busy slitting the throats of innocent villagers and shooting civilians and television cameramen in Srinagar’s city centre.
And it was just a few months ago that the same newspaper’s foreign affairs columnist, C Raja Mohan, who so generously made out a case for ceasing counter-terrorist operations in Kashmir. The folly of that prescription should now be apparent: the Indian defence minister has announced that troop positions along the Line of Control will now be reinforced.
The complete cessation of Pakistan’s support for cross-border infiltration and terrorism is an acid test of Musharraf’s bonafides. There always was and there now further evidence to conclude that Musharraf blew it.
Blaming the Americans for failing to exert enough pressure on Pakistan is beside the point. The Indian government, and not the American one, is responsible for ensuring India’s security. While it is true that terrorists must not be allowed to disrupt the peace process, the logic of negotiating with unrepentent sponsors of terrorism remains as open to question today as it always was.