Negotiating with terrorists

“We totally refuse to let terrorism become a tool of blackmail. Just as the world did not negotiate with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, we shall not negotiate with terrorism,”
Atal Behari Vajpayee at the UN General Assembly

Text of Vajpayee’s speech at UN General Assembly – The Times of India

He’s got it right. Now, he has to stick to it. Handing out periodic olive branches or sending Laloo Prasad Yadavs to Pakistan has no meaning unless there is an inclination towards a fundamental change of heart in Pakistan. While Musharaff stands exposed (he even admitted being able to control the tide of violence in J&K) and many capitals lend India a sympathetic ear, this is not going to save the lives of innocent civilians or soldiers in Kashmir.

India has to be prepared to stare eyeball to eyeball, and wear Pakistan down. The only way for India to win this battle of attrition is to demonstrate an iron will to stand up to Pakistani terror. The Soviet Union crumbled because its economy could not support its military expenditure, so will it be with Pakistan.

There is no way that a country with a population of 145 million people, 40% literacy and female dis-empowerment, will be able to support the kind of military expenditure that is required. Pakistan will collapse, its only a matter of time.

India must not give Pakistan any slack. It must strive to make the costs of supporting terrorism ever higher. India’s economy must grow robustly enough to support this strategy. The road to national security passes through economic development. As usual, its the economy, stupid !