Pakistan is taking New Delhi for a ride
It's easy to claim, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah have, that the two terror attacks which took place on Thursday in Jammu region and killed more than 10 people, were carried out by elements inimical to peace talks between India and Pakistan. Such statements offer an alibi to Islamabad which has repeatedly demonstrated its inability or lack of desire to contain anti-India militants who plan and operate strikes against this country from Pakistani soil. The examples are many and have been adequately documented, and no purpose will be served by repeating them. The premise that the militants who came from across the Line of Control executed the Thursday attacks to derail talks that Prime Minister Singh and his counterpart in Islamabad Nawaz Sharif are scheduled to hold — according to some reports coming Sunday — on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations meet in New York, takes away from the reality that the Pakistani Prime Minister has done nothing meaningful since he took over to clamp down on militant organisations that spew venom against India nor has he done anything to hasten the process of bringing to book those who are accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. Worse, since he became Prime Minister, Pakistani troops have on many occasions breached the ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control. Additionally, Pakistan's National Assembly under his prime ministership recently adopted an anti-India resolution, compelling this country's Parliament to reciprocate. These are all instances to demonstrate that Islamabad, even under Mr Sharif, remains in the old mindset. Given the reality, and given our stated position that talks with Pakistan can meaningfully happen only after it shows tangible proof that it is meeting India's concerns, one wonders what purpose will be served by a meeting of the two Prime Ministers now. Nobody is suggesting that all channels of communication must be shut, but the Indian Prime Minister must hold talks which are carefully constructed and lead to some real gains. If the idea is to just meet, smile and exchange greetings for the waiting shutterbugs to capture the moment, and then tread the same weary path which has yielded no result until now, it's best to avoid such superficialities. We neither want meaningless exchanges of ‘concern' that the two leaders will express over the rise of terror nor a declaration of ‘resolve' to combat terrorism.
It is true that the terrorists are opposed to any prospect of normalisation of relations between New Delhi and Islamabad. But these militants either live and prosper in Pakistan under the patronage of the Inter-Service Intelligence and the Army there or have infiltrated into India with the help of the two agencies to create mayhem in this country. So, it's not just the militants but their handlers too, who are state actors, that are responsible. However, the people of Pakistan have not elected the ISI or the Army; they have reposed trust in the democratically-elected Mr Sharif and his party. It is Mr Sharif's responsibility to check the anti-India elements. Given Thursday’s incident, that doesn’t seem to be happening. Mr Singh must call off the proposed meeting under the circumstances.