Musharraf planning to visit India

February 6, 2009

Former President Pervez Musharraf was always one for the grand gesture. So it should come as no surprise that after a period of relative obscurity following his resignation in August last year, he will visit India as part of a series of lectures he plans to give worldwide.

In an interview with the BBC, Musharraf, who has just returned from a trip to the United States, said he was enjoying his retirement and had been invited to give lectures on Pakistan and the South Asian region around the world. “He said the first invitation he had accepted was from India, where he expected to speak at a conference in Delhi next month,” the BBC said.

“I love this life. I am relaxed and satisfied. And I am enjoying my lecture tours,” he told Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper. “Next month I am going to India for the same purpose. Let’s counter the Indians on their own home ground.”

India always had a rather ambiguous attitude to the Delhi-born former general. After blaming him for the 1999 Kargil war, it later began to see him as a man with whom it could make peace and it was under Musharraf that a formal India-Pakistan peace process was opened in 2004. By the time he resigned, as I noted in the post I wrote at the time , India was fretting that his departure could unleash tensions if it created a vacuum which could be exploited by Islamist militants.

So it will be interesting to see the kind of reception he is given in the sour atmosphere between India and Pakistan following last year’s Mumbai attacks. Interesting too to ask whether the worries expressed by Indian analysts about a rise in tension proved prescient, or if it was simply an accident of timing that the Mumbai attacks — which according to media reports could have taken up to a year to plan — happened just months after he quit.

(Reuters file photo of former president Pervez Musharraf)

139 comments

Comments are closed.