Pakistan shows itself to be anti-India, at whatever cost to itself (again)
“No relationship,” writes Rajdeep Sardesai “has been as schizophrenic as that between the two subcontinental neighbours…How does one explain travelling to the headquarters of the Lashkar during the day, and sitting in the evening in the hotel lobby listening to a pianist play a Lata-Rafi melody?” How indeed? Mr Sardesai goes on to write how after a “few sharp, testy exchanges” in an interview during the 1999 Kargil crisis, Nawaz Sharif threw a generous banquet for his Indian guests where the Pakistani leader “proceeded to reminisce on his favourite Hindi film star, Rajendra Kumar”.
Somehow Mr Sardesai sees a “romantic edge” in this dualism. Bizarre, grotesque or surreal would be better adjectives. The dualism itself, moreover, is irrelevant because the threat India faces is from the Lashkar and the Pakistani military-jihadi complex, then as now. And there is nothing to suggest that Pakistani fans of Lata, Rafi and Rajendra Kumar won’t unify behind the military-jihadi complex, either out of conviction or out of coercion.
Now there are Pakistanis who argue that these terrorists are a greater threat to Pakistan than India is. But the fact is that they don’t count for much. So one month after Pakistani jihadi terrorists attacked Mumbai, here’s the objective reality: the Pakistani people are willing to allow their armed forces to provoke a nuclear war so as to protect terrorist organisations.
The ‘peace process’ of the last four years was doomed to fail because it refused to accept this fundamental reality. It was based on hope. But hope, to quote George Shultz, is not a policy. The price of ignoring this wisdom should be obvious now.
If reality is acknowledged, then what becomes clear is the relevance of the Reagan Parallel. Instead of going around in circles and being slapped each time around, India should not compromise. No deals. And certainly no negotiations over territory. It was wrong to bring Pakistan out of the doghouse in 2004. It will be inexcusable to do so now.