It distresses me to note that national consensus to fight terrorism has been undermined by the UPA government itself, which, as recent developments have shown, has even disregarded the national mood in this matter. As I speak here today, there is intense disquiet and concern among all thinking Indians, including a section of the Congress party itself, over the latest India-Pakistan Joint Statement issued on 16 July 2009 following talks between Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart, Mr. Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, who met in Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt on the sidelines of the NAM summit. It marks a major diplomatic surrender on India’s part.
History tells us how, in the Indo-Pak wars in 1965 and 1971, the then Congress governments gave away on the diplomatic front the gains India had made on the battlefront. Both Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi at least had India’s proud military victories to their credit. In contrast, Dr. Manmohan Singh is the first Indian Prime Minister who has squandered India’s diplomatic advantage over Pakistan even before the battle against Pak-sponsored terrorism is far from over.
I find the latest India-Pakistan Joint Statement to be totally unacceptable for three reasons.
- Firstly, it marks a big retreat by the Indian government from its own oft-stated position on talks with Pakistan when it states in the Joint Statement: “ Action on terrorism should not be linked to the composite dialogue process and these should not be bracketed”.
Prime Minister Singh said that India was ready to discuss all issues with Pakistan, including “all outstanding issues.” Whatever Dr. Singh may have said subsequently by way of clarification, he has agreed, in black and white, that “India was ready to discuss all issues with Pakistan, including all outstanding issues” such as Kashmir ― indeed, this is what constitutes the so-called Composite Dialogue ― and that that such dialogue will not be linked to “action on terrorism”.
- India’s insistence thus far has been that Pakistan must bring the Pak-based masterminds of the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai to book before any meaningful talks with Islamabad can begin. How does government reconcile this affirmation with the latest statement?
- The Sharm-el-Sheikh statement only says “Action on terrorism” and does not explicitly state “Pakistan’s action on terrorism”. This is ominous because, in the very preceding sentence, it states: “Prime Minister Gilani mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Baluchistan and other areas.”For the first time in the history of India’s diplomatic engagement with Pakistan, the Indian side has allowed Pakistan to mention Baluchistan, in a formal India-Pakistan statement, and that too in such a way that India is made to look like the sponsor of terrorism in “Baluchistan” and also “in other areas” !In view of the Prime Minister’s diplomatic capitulation before Pakistan, I am constrained to make the following three demands:
In other words, the perpetrator of terrorism, which is what Pakistan really is, has succeeded, with the Indian government’s help, to project itself as a victim of India-sponsored terrorism.
• India must suspend all official talks with Islamabad, including secretary-level talks, until we get credible proof that the government of Pakistan has taken necessary action against the masterminds of the terror attack on Mumbai. Recent reports that the chief of Lashkar-e-Toiba was released by the high court due to poor handling of the case by the prosecution, and no appeal has been filed in the Supreme Court until now, are indeed ominous.
• India must seek the extradition of all those involved in all the cross-border terrorist activities in India, such as Dawood Ibrahim, who have been given shelter in Pakistan.
• India must insist on timebound dismantling of the entire anti-India terrorist infrastructure based on Pakistani soil. In this, we have admission from no less a person than Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, who stated two weeks ago that terrorists were “created and nurtured” in his country in order to achieve “some short-term tactical objectives”. He also said that “terrorists of today were the heroes of past until Mumbai terror attacks in India on 26 November 2008.”
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Spread The Word
Here is a very good writeup by Mr. Lal Krishna Advani on the disastrous & shameful diplomatic surrender of Bharat (misnomer: India) to Pakistan by Antonia Maino-Manmohan Singh's Muslim Rightist Congress government.