Why India needs to get a grip
In one succinct op-ed column, Brahma Chellaney captures everything that is wrong with India’s handling of the ‘peace process’ with Pakistan.
It is testament to the timidity of the Indian State that Pakistan is able to up the ante through ridiculous demands and then cast India as the obstructionist. In fact, Islamabad has been able to keep the spotlight on the Kashmir issue.
Such is the pusillanimity that no Indian leader has urged the Pakistani dictator to move towards democracy on grounds that there can be no lasting peace if Pakistan continues to be ruled by the military, which has a vested interest in perpetuating hostility with India. And although India says it has not given up its claim to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, including the Northern Areas, it never raises any issue related to PoK in the discussions with Pakistan.
There has been unrest in the Northern Areas for many months over the Shia majority’s demand for an end to Pakistani military repression. Yet, have you heard any Indian leader call for the withdrawal of Pakistani army troops from there? India has also shied away from making any comment on the spreading tribal insurrection in Baluchistan.
It is imperative that India not allow Pakistan to set the agenda for the discussions at the political level. Despite the PM’s rejection in New York of the Musharraf demand for troop reductions in Kashmir, Foreign Minister Natwar Singh says that India will assess after the winter months whether the situation on the ground warrants such reductions. Any increase or decrease in troop numbers is an internal security matter tied to the level of terrorist activity, and cannot become the subject of negotiations with the external sponsor of terrorism. [Rediff]