Date: 27 Jul 2010


HINDU RABBIT AND ISLAMIC FOX WENT TO DISCUSSION. RABBIT LOST MORE LAND Krishna’s folly fetches shame///////// A Surya Prakash/ /////////// On September 20, 1965, the United Nations ordered a ceasefire to end the India-Pakistan war that began following intrusions by Pakistani troops into Jammu & Kashmir. Pakistan was unhappy with the cessation of hostilities because of the loss of strategic passes to India and the heavy casualties it had suffered until then. Therefore, even as he reluctantly announced his country’s decision to honour the ceasefire, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the then Foreign Minister of Pakistan, launched a verbal attack on India in the UN Security Council and threatened to launch a thousand-year war. Stung by Bhutto’s abusive outburst, the Indian delegation, led by Foreign Minister Swaran Singh, walked out of the Security Council in protest. The walkout angered Bhutto even more and he said: “The Indian dogs are going home.” ////////////// Within months of Bhutto’s crude outburst and uncouth behaviour, the mandarins of South Block, under Soviet influence in those days, dangled the prospects of ‘lasting peace’ with Pakistan before then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and got him to barter away key mountain passes captured by Indian soldiers in that war. Shastri did this at Tashkent where the two countries agreed to abjure force while seeking settlement of disputes. The agreement also committed both parties to “non-interference in each other’s internal affairs”. Within days of the agreement, Bhutto denounced it and repeated his war-mongering rhetoric and we were back to square one. /////////// In 1971 we saw a repeat of this charade. Apart from losing its eastern wing in yet another war it foisted on India, Pakistan suffered the humiliation of losing 5,000 square miles of territory in the West and over 93,000 of its soldiers surrendered to the Indian Amry. India once again let go of the gains of war, this time in Simla, because our diplomatic corps, now under pressure from Western nations, felt that India must be “magnanimous” and make concessions in order to bolster democracy in Pakistan. /////////// It’s the same old story over the next 40 years. Pakistan has shown that these agreements are not worth the paper they are written on. It launched yet another audacious intrusion in 1999 by sending regular troops camouflaged as “non-state actors” into Kargil. In the war that followed, 527 Indian soldiers laid down their lives to recapture the strategic heights in the Kargil sector. The Pakistanis initially said they had nothing to do with the intrusions and did not even accept the bodies of their soldiers. ////////// Some months hence the truth was out. The entire operation was planned and executed by the Pakistani military and the ISI. But, it was business as usual at South Block. Even before the tears of the family members of our slain soldiers had dried, the foreign office was getting ready for ‘resumption of talks’ with Pakistan. ////////// Meanwhile, having realised the futility of such conventional intrusions, Pakistan hit upon the idea of a proxy war by training and arming jihadis and sending them into India to commit murder and mayhem. Notable among the ‘successes’ of this proxy operation were the terrorist strikes on our Parliament House, Mumbai suburban trains and 26/11. Of these, the assault on Mumbai on November 26, 2008, which claimed 187 lives, was the most daring attack carried out on India from across the seas. ////////// In the initial aftermath of 26/11, since public anger was at its zenith, our diplomats and their political backers decided to temporarily suspend their ‘peace with Pakistan’ enterprise.But within months, the foreign office was back to its old ways. Now under pressure from the US, it said that there was no alternative to ‘talks’ with Pakistan, even though Pakistan refused to acknowledge the involvement of its citizens in the Mumbai attack. ////////// However, as India gathered evidence to the contrary, Pakistan took the now familiar route and claimed that it was possible that the attack had been planned by “non-state actors”. Then came the clinching evidence provided by David Coleman Headley, who had visited India several times to identify the targets for the 26/11 terrorists. He told his interrogators that the entire plan had been conceived and executed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and the LeT’s chief terrorist Hafiz Saeed. /////////// As Headley spilled the beans, it became clear to American and Indian investigators that the ISI controlled and coordinated the operation from the beginning to the end. But Pakistan has shown no initiative to go after the perpetrators of the 26/11 attack because, after all, no Government can proceed against itself. //////////// It is against this backdrop that our Ministry of External Affairs, prodded by the Americans, set the stage for resumption of ‘talks’ and the first meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the two countries in Islamabad recently. As expected, nothing came of these parleys. The only outcome was Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi aping his infamous predecessor and displaying singular lack of etiquette during Mr SM Krishna’s visit. However, despite the snub, the Ministry of External Affairs reiterated its commitment to ‘talks’ and even declared that it looked forward to the next meeting of the two Foreign Ministers in India later this year. /////////// India’s humiliation did not end here. Some days after his return to New Delhi, Mr Krishna joined his Pakistani counterpart in berating our Home Secretary, Mr GK Pillai, for publicising the details of Headley’s interrogation and for saying that the ISI controlled and coordinated the 26/11 attacks from the beginning to the end. Is self-flagellation the cornerstone of our foreign policy? //////////// It is unlikely that there is another department of the Government which is so completely out of sync with public opinion in the country. Every Indian who has the opportunity to track opinion on media platforms — be it print, television or the Internet — is aware of the growing anger of the people over the conduct of the Ministry of External Affairs. Who does this Ministry represent? Who is it batting for? When it comes to Pakistan, why do our diplomats display masochistic tendencies? These are questions that are upper most in the public mind. ////////////// There is also the feeling that by its conduct, the Ministry of External Affairs has betrayed its incapacity to safeguard India’s dignity and self-respect. Further, as the recent events show, its responses are inimical to the safety and security of every citizen. Unless the work of this Ministry is brought under scrutiny, there is danger of the South Block jeopardising our democratic way of life. ////////////// (courtesy: THE PIONEER. Our thanks.) 000000000