LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP
Former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had weak knees. But if India is coerced by the US in talking to Pakistan at this stage, Dr Manmohan Singh’s government will be seen as having more than just weak knees. If we as Indians let this happen, not just Pakistan, the world will be convinced we have a weak resolve, a weak memory and a weak heart.
Before we decide to remove our finger from the ``pause button,’’ the good doctor needs to find a remedy to the chronic terror problem:-
PLEASE ANSWER MR PRIME MINISTER
Q. What has changed on ground since the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks?
Q. What has Pakistan done to show us it is sincere about cracking down on terror?
Q. Has Pakistan taken action against Lashkar e Taiba chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed?
Q. Has Pakistan proceeded against Masood Azhar for the 2001 Parliament attacks?
Q. Has Pakistan dismantled the terror camps training and sending terrorists to India?
Q. Can the PM assure the country if we engage Pakistan there will not be any more terror attacks?
Q. What do we achieve by talking to Pakistan? What is the aim?
Q. What do we lose if we continue this policy of not engaging Pakistan?
If nothing has changed on ground since 26/11, then why are we letting the US push us into talking to Pakistan? The US too hasn’t delivered on its promise to ensure Pakistan does not spread terror in India. US under secretary of state for political affairs William Burns is understood to be ``pushing India'' to talk to Pakistan.
The Udhampur based Northern Command in an assessment to the Army Headquarters in early May said there was no drop in infiltration attempts. Intelligence assessment speaks of ``heightened activity’’ in terror launch pads across the line of control, especially in north Kashmir.
ARMY ASSESSMENT: INFILTRATION ON THE RISE
The army is convinced infiltration in high altitude areas cannot happen without the help of the Pakistan army. On June 11, two Lashkar e Taiba terrorists were killed by the army and the police in Sopore. Three days earlier on June 9 a cache of arms and ammunition including 10 AK 47 rifles, one pika gun, over a thousand rounds of ammunition, 100s of grenades and 5 kg explosives were recovered by the J&K police and the army in north Kashmir. Imagine the destruction if these weapons had reached the terrorists.
LASHKAR STRATEGY: COMPUTER SAVVY TERRORISTS
Three days ago, the chief recruiter of Lashkar e Taiba in Nepal and India Mohammad Umar Madani was arrested by the Delhi Police. His aim was to recruit computer savvy graduates in metros and sailors in coastal areas for future Lashkar operations. He had already distributed US $ 22,000 and Rs 9.5 lakh to sleeper cells in Bihar and UP. The terrorists have a well laid out strategy and plan to destabilize India at a place and time of their choosing. Why is the government then losing sight of the big picture and sending feelers about removing its finger from the ``pause button.’’
HAS PAK DELIVERED ON TERROR ?
The Pakistani government hasn’t taken a single step to reassure India it means well. Pakistan may be carrying out operations in the NWFP under pressure from the US but it has not closed down a single training camp, staging camp or even a launch pad which is used to spread terror in India. Then why is India even thinking of talking to Pakistan. On the contrary its prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani raked up the Kashmir issue. Its provincial law minister called Hafiz Saeed a respectable man and its President Asif Ali Zardari is blackmailing the world into believing only they stand between the Taliban and the civilized world.
If nothing has changed on ground post 26/11, if Pakistan continues to be belligerent and if Pakistan is not cracking down on anti-India terror what do we achieve by talking to them? Or let me put it the other way – what do we lose if we continue not to talk to the terror epicentre of the world.
LEARN FROM HISTORY
We have trusted Pakistan time and again and have been repeatedly stabbed in the back. 1947, 1965, 1971, Lahore, Kargil, Agra. What have we achieved in the past 60 years of trusting Pakistani leadership civil or military? India trusted Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, returned the Haji Pir, 93,000 PoWs and got the threat of a thousand year war in return.
Vajpayee traveled to Lahore by bus in February 1999 and we got Kargil in return in May 1999. Over 530 soldiers were killed and almost 800 injured, many permanently. Do their lives not mean anything to India.
In December 1999 IC 814 was hijacked. A plot hatched and directed from Pakistan. Masood Azhar fled to Pakistan and continues to direct terror operations from there including the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament.
General Pervez Musharraf, the architect of Kargil took no tangible or lasting action against the terrorists. Yet he was rewarded with international recognition and invited to India by Vajpayee. What did we achieve - nothing!
Apart from 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, India is convinced Pakistan has been spreading terror against India as part of state policy across India and even in Afghanistan where India’s defence attaché, a senior diplomat and ITBP personnel were killed in an ISI sponsored suicide bombing.
TERROR: NO COST TO PAK STRATEGY
Pakistan has a strategy – to bleed India. It is a no cost to their country or army strategy. We know this. Yet we don’t have an effective policy to counter it. Fools learn from the mistakes of others. What are we if we don’t learn from our past mistakes?
The thinking in the Pakistani security establishment is Indians are weak politically, diplomatically and as a nation. If we speak to Pakistan from this position of weakness Pakistan’s point will be proven once again.
You stab us in the back, maim us, bomb us, shoot us, kill us and we will still be there at the negotiating table wagging our tail – because our politicians are weak and our diplomats are desperate to be on the international high table.
If not, if we are a strong nation we claim to be, if we are a responsible self respecting nation that cares for the lives of its citizens we should insist we will talk to Pakistan only when it takes tangible steps to dismantle the terror infrastructure and proceeds legally against those who are working to destabilize India.
We are a nation of a billion strong Indians. We will stand by our government through thick and thin. We only hope the government will keep long term national interest in mind and not just short term international recognition.
The government should care for American lives and interests in Afghanistan but one hopes the government will care more for Indian lives and Indian interests in India first.