With over 16 years experience in the field of both print and electronic journalism GAURAV C.SAWANT is a Deputy Editor with Headlines Today. He has covered conflict in Jammu and Kashmir, anti insurgency operations in the north east, the nine week long war in Kargil, seen action in Sierra Leone, Iraq, Lebanon and Nepal. He is the author of Dateline Kargil: A correspondent's nine week account from the battlefront published by Macmillan. He has covered terror attacks in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and has been tracking anti terrorist operations closely. With six Para jumps including two sky dives, the writer is the first journalist in India to be awarded `wings' by the Indian Navy. He is an alumnus of the prestigious St.Stephen's College, Delhi University. He recently covered the crisis in Egypt and the war in Libya
Pakistan not taking any action against the Mumbai attacks accused. I reiterate Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s stance that dialogue is possible only after Pakistan takes action against the Mumbai accused and dismantle the terrorists’ dens inside the country.
Minister of State, External Affairs
December 22, 2009
No question of dilution of our demand for extradition of the suspects wanted for the Mumbai attack and other terrorist activities. Perpetrators must face Indian justice.
Former External Affairs Minister
January 1, 2009
Let me say there is no pressure on us to resume a dialogue. If there is any attempt, we will not succumb to that pressure. I have said several times that dialogue with Pakistan is a necessity. But this dialogue cannot resume unless Pakistan gives sincere evidence of its willingness to prosecute all those involved in the Mumbai attacks.
Dr Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister, India
April 11, 2009
I did brief them (USA) on the state of the trial of Ajmal Kasab (the lone surviving Mumbai attack terrorist) in India and I also did mention about no progress in Pakistan in respect of the five or six people they have arrested. And Hafeez Saeed (LeT founder) remains a free man. I think thats enough. They know to draw the lessons from that statement.
Union Home Minister
September 11, 2009
We have taken up the matter with all the force at our command with the government of Pakistan. We expect the masterminds of the attack and their supporters to be tried and punished. The infrastructure of terrorism and all safe havens have to be dismantled. The government will not rest till we have brought the perpetrators of this crime to justice. This is our solemn duty.
Dr Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister, India
November 26, 2009
WHY HAS PAKISTAN BEEN LET OFF THE HOOK?
Since 26/11, we have had the Indian prime minister, external affairs minister, home minister and defence minister tell us they will not let Pakistan off the hook till the perpetrators of 26/11 are brought to justice. India repeatedly insisted it will not be business as usual till action is taken against those who planned the worst ever terror attack on India.
Why are we behaving like the eunuchs in the harems of the court of later Mughals – waving our swords in the zenana Mahal and thinking we are brave.
Today as an Indian citizen, I feel cheated, let down and very unsafe. Hafiz Saeed is not only roaming around freely in Pakistan, he is addressing conferences and meetings of terrorists and openly threatening India. And yet we invite Pakistan for talks.
Pakistan has taken no action against any of the main accused of 26/11, nor has it shown any desire or intention to either. And yet we invite Pakistan for talks.
Terror factories and fake currency mints are still operating in Pakistan. Yet we invite Pakistan for talks.
Both the army and the Jammu and Kashmir police are on record to say Pakistan army is openly pushing terrorists across the line of control and the international border – giving them covering fire. Yet we invite Pakistan for talks.
Instead of Pakistan being desperate to talk on our terms, Pakistan is actually setting the agenda – saying no talks unless composite dialogue resumes. Pakistan is actually pontificating. Yet we invite Pakistan for talks.
INDIA LACKS STRATEGIC THINKING
What are our long term aims when it comes to Pakistan and how do we intend to achieve them? India clearly lacks a roadmap. There is no consistency in our policy and approach. And Pakistan takes advantage of that.
Pakistan for the past 63 years has followed a consistent policy. War by all means – overt (1947, 65, 71 and Kargil in 1999) and covert (sponsoring terror in Punjab, J&K, the north east and now trying to make inroads in the naxal areas).
We know it. Pakistan remains unrepentant. And yet despite no tangible action on ground each time India changes its stance. We buckle under pressure – whether from the US or from Pakistan. Let us then just accept we are a soft state, led by weak kneed leaders with a weaker resolve. We leave ourselves open to attack – again and again.
Pakistan has done nothing since 26/11. The terror camps have still not been dismantled. The terrorists are not on the run. On the contrary they are holding open meetings – issuing threats to India under the full glare of the international media. And yet we meekly move forward for talks.
TERROR COMMANDERS MEET IN PAKISTAN
Even as India extended an invitation for talks, terrorist groups held open meetings across Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The so called Kashmir Solidarity Conference is nothing but the Lashkar-e-Taiba/Jamat-ud-Dawa and the Hizbul Mujahideen coming together and opening ``base camps’’ in PoK to launch terror attacks in India.
So no longer are the JuD and its terror commander Hafeez Saeed lying low. For the first time after the 26/11 terror attacks, the terrorists are out in the open talking about launching fresh strikes against India.
Along with them is Lt Gen Hamid Gul, former director general of the ISI, considered by many as one of the main architects of terrorist movements in J&K and now even beyond. He is seen as one of the links between the state and the non actors. But with several Pakistan army officers – both serving and retired – working in tandem with the terrorists it is virtually impossible to differentiate between the two.
GENERAL KAYANI’S FRESH SALVO
Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani who considers the Taliban a `strategic asset’ clearly stated in Rawalpindi that the Pakistan army remains India centric. Issuing what is being seen as a veiled threat, he said unless Kashmir is resolved, the Pakistan army shall remain India centric.
Kayani again gave the speel of state and non-state actors claiming if India and Pakistan do not resume talks, non state actors would feel emboldened.
India has clearly failed yet again to tell Pakistan in particular and the world community at large, it is very difficult if not possible to differentiate between the state and non state actors in Pakistan – especially when Kayani and Hafiz Saeed break bread together during Iftaar in Rawalpindi.
RUDDERLESS FOREIGN POLICY
After the sell out at Sharm-el-Sheikh, national interest has been sold out in our own backyard. This, despite the prime minister insisting India will not buckle under international pressure. But today let us just accept US interests are more important to our leadership and diplomats than our own national interests.
Our political and diplomatic leadership would rather see American soldiers and citizens safe in Afghanistan than our own soldiers and citizens in Jammu and Kashmir and across the country.
Our national interest and safety has been bartered at the US altar. Pakistan, Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Al Qaeda have once again got proof that India is a soft state. There is a pattern. Attack India at will - bigger the strike – louder will India scream – there will be a stand off situation, a freeze, a deep freeze and then within a couple of years it will be business as usual.
This is what happened after Kargil, Kandahar, attack on Parliament and Mumbai. Our diplomats lack the long term strategic goal and insight. Our politicians and diplomats fail to stand up to international pressure.
They fail to look Pakistan in the eye and call a spade a spade. It has been the same story after 1965 when our diplomats and political leadership lost the Haji pir pass and the same story after 1971 when we lost everything on the negotiating table at Simla.
SECURITY FORCES NOT IN THE LOOP
Be it the armed forces or the intelligence agencies - our security agencies insist Pakistan (both state and non state actors) are working overtime to target India – not just in J&K and the rest of the country but targeting Indian interests across the world. The Pakistan army (pushing infiltrators across) the ISI (pushing in terrorists from J&K, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the sea route), government (printing fake Indian currency) are all working in tandem.
And yet we invite Pakistan for talks. Sources in the army and the intelligence bureau insist they are not in facour of talks. As soon as talks resume, there is a semblance of normalcy and India lowers its guard. Terrorists use the opportunity to strike and each time the strike is bigger than the last one.
India pays the price – this low intensity conflict operation (LICO) is a no cost option for Pakistan to bleed India. We know it all and yet we continue to bleed and invite them for talks.
WHAT AFTER THE NEXT TERROR ATTACK
So what will India do after the next terror attack? Continue to talk or stop talking again. Perhaps, the ministers will once again wave their swords – protected by an army of soldiers and policemen. The prime minister downwards each will scream louder than the other, threaten Pakistan, visit homes of killed innocent Indians in the protection of an army of SPG and NSG commandoes and six months later it will be business as usual.
There is a pattern and Pakistan knows it. It will continue to inflict a thousand wounds. We will continue to bleed. Because we are a soft, weak kneed state with a weaker resolve.