India’s Singh makes an opening to Pakistan

June 10, 2009

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached out to Pakistan on Tuesday, saying he was ready to go “more than half way” if Islamabad cracked down on militants. Peace with Pakistan was in India’s “vital interest” he told parliament in a speech, presumably directed at those in the Indian strategic establishment who believe in a more muscular approach toward Pakistan especially after the Mumbai attacks.

So is Singh laying the ground for a slight thaw in ties?  Since he was re-elected with a stronger mandate, some kind of opening to Pakistan has been expected, given that it has been more than  six months since ties went into deep chill following the attacks in November. The feeling in New Delhi has been sooner than later it has to engage Pakistan.  You cannot change your neighbours, new foreign minister S.M.Krishna said soon after taking over and if that is the case, you can’t not talk to your neighbour indefinitely.

The Times of India said Krishna quoted President John F. Kennedy to his officers: “Never negotiate out of fear, but never fear to negotiate.”

Mansoor Ijaz, an American of Pakistan origin writing in the Washington Post, said Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari should call for a peace summit this summer.  Singh and Zardari were two leaders who could make peace, he argued. The newly mandated Indian leader was now strong enough politically to risk a peace gamble; Zardari on the other hand  was an ideal candidate to reach out and make peace because he did not see India as an existential threat.  He also had a penchant for risk-taking, Ijaz said.

“India’s election results give it the political strength to offer such a plan. Pakistan’s myriad problems demand that it accept any reasonable offer at the table. The moment to secure durable peace in Kashmir is now,” he wrote.

 

.

41 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

This is so pathetic. Whatever they might cloaim the power India has become, they dance when the USA cracks the whip. For the last one week the preassure on India to start talk with Pakistan has increased dramatically by the USA. And I am sure India will give in forgetting the sacrifice of all the cops and soldiers in Mumabi attack and the innocent victims of terrorism. This is groundwork by Singh to give in to the US demand and anounce resuming of talks with Pakistan when Hillary visits India next month. Maybe Pakistan has asked this as a reward for bombing Taliban. INDIA SHOULD NOT GIVE IN TO THESE TACTICS BY USA AND SHOULD NOT TALK TO PAKISTAN UNLESS THEY TAJKE STEPS TO DESTROY THE TERROR OUTFITS AND BRING THE MUMBI ATTACKERS AND PLANNERS TO JUSTICE.

Posted by Naveen | Report as abusive

here we go again, another angry member of the BJP party getting online and letting out his anger and frustrations over a news article, thinking he knows what is best. Pakistan should not worry about what india thinks or feels, whatever problems india has,they should fix themselves. maybe they can call one of those operators at the call centers for some assistance. Pakistan is taking steps that others are afraid to do, which is more then what can be said about india or america.

Posted by hassan | Report as abusive

India’s move shows how conciliatory it is towards its neighboring countries. This is a mature approach. Despite the reluctance shown by Pakistani establishment in completing the Mumbai attack investigation, India has come forward to resume diplomatic talks. Though I’d like certain preconditions to be met by Pakistan, the Indian government has not lost its trust completely on Pakistan. I am sure Zardari will respond positively. Now we should see how the US holds the Pakistani military establishment from countering this peace initiatives. Kayani seems like a mature guy. Hopefully he will hold the leash on the ISI and its “non state” establishments.
I do want to see a permanent solution to Kashmir, that is satisfactory to all parties (India, Pakistan and Kashmiris). Pakistani military must vacate POK as per the 1948 UN regulations, followed by Indian military and a plebiscite must be held. This will reflect the public mood in all of Kashmir. However, at the end the most practical, long lasting solution must be found. If this means accepting the LoC as international border, it might have to be done. Kashmiri Muslims must realize that geo-political conditions prevent a solution that favors their desires 100 percent. Just like they expect India and Pakistan to make concessions, they too need to make a compromise. The opportunity for a political solution was missed in 1948. Now it is too late for the old resolution and a new one must be found to match today’s conditions. Both India and Pakistan must sign an accord to keep their military away by 100 km from the new international border. For about 10 to 20 years, a UN peace keeping force or a neutral military force must patrol this neutral zone, allowing Kashmiris to move around freely across this new border. Hopefully lessons have been learned by all involved parties.

India has no choice

The world community will club India & Pakistan togther if India doesnt resume talks. We dont want this to be another Palestine & Israel issue where every country tries to mediate.

Maintaining a higher moral ground is a must for India, but deep down everyone knows that Pakistan civilian govt is a too weak to make or live up to any promises.

The one thing I am sure is if there is any concrete progress in talk, there will be another act of treacherous terrorists attck from pakistan (Parliament attack, Kargill, 11/26)

Posted by indian1127 | Report as abusive

i thinks instead of repeating the same old cycle ….and talking to pakistan…we should use a different strategy..

earlier we have held dialogue with pak and they have kept sponsering terror on india.

Raw should start its covert operations and help blochistan and sind gain their freedom… we should also target the pok terror camps..this the army will remain divided on various fronts and we will be able to free POK and bring it under indian union with complete control over kashmir..

Posted by Raging bull | Report as abusive

Dealing with Pakistan will always remain a challenge for India, challenge because Pakistan is not in peace with India. There are unsettled disputes, there will be no durable peace, the opposite of peace is war. In other words there will always be war, covert or overt.
Pakistan is not that weak, it has a military, it has big diaspora, a huge population and enough resources to sustain itself. No one is dying from hunger in Pakistan. We survived as an enemy of India for more than six decades, we could thrive by not making peace with India for another six decades.

If India wants peace talks, there must be no pre-conditions attached. Because Pakistan is strong enough to reject any pre-conditions and set its own terms. Terrorist training camps in Pakistan (If any exists) cannot be and should not be dismantled unless India ends the illegal occupation of Kashmir. Pakistan must continue a belligerent stance towards its enemy India.

Its the same in Middle East, millitant organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah fight back against Israeli aggression. Let JuD fight back against Indian aggression in Kashmir.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

I feel your pain Naveen, but I am sure the majority of people in Northern Ireland will disagree with you.

Posted by pete | Report as abusive

For those who are so unforgiving of the Mumbai terrorist attack, can I also see the same level of anger against the killing and rape of two young Kashmiri girls recently? Who raped them? who killed them? they were muslims and the locals claim Indian Army was the culprit. It is a time of introspection and difficult questions. In presence of such oppression in Kashmir what are the hopes of peace?

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

One really really hopes Dr.Singh will not fall for this. If there are talks the only thing India should negotiate is bringing the perpetrators of Mumbai terrorist attack ,their masters in Pak army/ISI to justice and if and how Pakistan is planning to stop being a terrorist country.

Guys
—No sweat, i trust the pakistani’s to goof-up again…

Posted by anup | Report as abusive

In the awake of the Indian elections, the strength and unity adn culmination of productive endeavors have once again affirmed themselves in the form of the Indian voters, all hindus, muslims, christians and other alike voted for Mr. Singh to be Prime Minister.

The best thing India can do for Pakistan is lead by example and that it has been doing quite well.

I don’t want to put more salt on Pakistan’s wounds, but it is during these difficult times people should take the time to look at their thoughts, actions and ask themselves if those have worked for them, well they have not, the condition today in Pakistan is the result of the collection action and inaction by the civilian population, politicians and the Mafia-Like Pakistani military.

Pakistani’s deserve peace, security, economic progress and a sense of pride about their country. It is therefore advisable that Pakistani’s “step outside of the box”, and realize that the good things that brought India to where it is, Democracy, Pluralism, equality of religions under the constitution, equality of all humans under the constitution, secularity, hardwork, perseverance, focus on development and economics and families educating their children, including all girls. These are just some of things that form the inertia of India’s bedrock.

It is a very positive thing that Pakistan is now taking on its own homegrown terrorists, at least the Taliban, for now, but in the long run, Pakistan to even coming close to succeeding in India’s league, it must abandon its unproductive and excessive focus on the four following A’s:

-America, Allah, Army and Atomic.

If Pakistan can do even a slight shift from the four A’s, with Allah still being the center of everyone’s heart, as it always will be, Pakistan can succeed, become moderate and become a believable partner for peace in Kashmir.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Seems like the ball is rolling and before Zardari govt falls for some reason, it is time India/Pakistani moves aggressively and persuade Kashmiris on either side of the LoC to some permanent solution- conversion of the LoC into a de jure border.

The Kashmir problem has already been solved.–says M J Akbar

http://mjakbarblog.blogspot.com/

Some Dangerous Liasons in July
By M J Akbar

“”"”…. July is also the month during which Hillary Clinton is scheduled to visit the Indian subcontinent. In her baggage will be a war manual for Af-Pak and a peace prescription for Ind-Pak.”"”

“”"”Here is some good news for Hillary Clinton. The Kashmir problem has already been solved.
It was solved on January 1, 1948, the day India and Pakistan froze their troops along a Cease Fire Line recognized by the United Nations. In 1972, through the Shimla Agreement, they renamed this the ‘Line of Control’. There are few international pacts that have stood the test of so much turmoil. This one has been tested by war in all its forms, regular and irregular. Pakistan tried to change the map of Kashmir in 1965. In January 1966 it sheepishly reaffirmed its relevance at Tashkent when India and Pakistan exchanged territories won and lost across the Cease Fire Line in the battles of 1965.”"”"

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war. – Sir Winston Churchill

Good on Singh for starting the dialog with Pakistan. It costs them nothing to talk. Indeed, if India maintains a willingness to talk, Pakistan becomes the obstacle to peace in the eyes of the international community. You can bet that international pressure on Pakistan will increase as India indicates its willingness to deal.

This is probably as good a time as any to hold talks. Pakistan is facing a huge internal security problem that they would want some assurance that RAW won’t exacerbate. And the Pakistani economy for all intents and purposes is on the verge of a death spiral into Africa-lite status (largely as a result of the security issues). Yet, their only viable economic saviour is also their arch-foe next door. To some extent, I think most of the elite in Pakistan understand this and slowly starting to unclench their fists. It may take several decades till a handshake, but India can bring that process along by working hard to integrate Pakistan’s economy into its own.

Sadly, I don’t think much can be achieved by talking to Zardari. The man is essentially a democratic veneer on the military dictatorship lurking in the background. If India wants peace they should pick up where Musharraf left off and start dealing directly with the Pakistani military to come to some kind of accommodation.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Dr. Singh has made it quite clear that talks won’t resume with Pakistan until it shows it’s sincerity in dealing with India-specific terrorism. I believe that the Indian Govt will stick to this position & won’t bow down to any international pressure.

I think that it’s time for India to get on the offense while dealing with Pakistan instead of playing defense. If Pakistan does not abstain from creating problems in Indian Kashmir, there’s plenty that India can do to stir the boiling pot in Pakistan. As is evident by the treatment of the IDPs currently, Pakistan as a nation is deeply divided on ethnic grounds. It’s moral fabric is quite fragile & it wouldn’t take much for India to deliver freedom to the Balochs, Pashtuns, Mohajirs & the Sindhis. If Pakistan isn’t ready to change it’s belligerent ways, it’s time to give it a taste of it’s own medicine.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Pakistani authorities should realize that war mongering and proxy wars do not help their cause. They have to stop being emotional and egoistic and change their mindset once in for all. They should learn from their mistakes. Breeding terrorism as a weapon has come back to bite them. Now their own military is at war with their own citizens. Not long ago, they did the same in East Pakistan and made a mess of it. To be a nation means to be responsible and not rely on the trigger to settle every little issue. I hope Pakistan takes up India’s diplomatic talk resumption seriously and comes forward to work with India. If they still remain emotionally blind, they will lose big time. It the American umbilical chord that is holding their life line. If Pakistanis disappoint by being contemptuous and belligerent like before, the US might choke them. So it is better to throw in the towel and learn to behave. India has nothing to lose if it does not sit at the table with Pakistani diplomats. But Pakistan will lose big time as it never seems to learn from its mistakes.

Umair,

Your rationale behind equating the rape and murder of two Kasmiris with a terrorist attack that killed 160+ civilians is pretty close to the reasoning Al-Qaeda uses when it attacks innocent civilians around the world.

Are the lives of those Kashmiris somehow worth more than the Jews at Chabad House, the western tourists and businessmen staying at the Taj and Oberoi, or the Indian commuters at VT station? Are those folks not, just as innocent as those two girls?

The Indians should investigate and prosecute those responsible for the rape and murder of those two young women. And the Pakistani should work towards reigning in groups on their soil that would kill innocents elsewhere.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Today i read news of a 10 yr old girl identifying Kasab in court. What was heart wrenching was that, that little girl is made disabled by a bullet fired by Kasab.
When so many innocent people are calling for justice it would be a real shame for India that she goes for talks with paksitan when no real action has been taken by Pakis against the perpetrators of 26/11. These are not pre-conditions…this is conducive env for talks.
And after the release of Hafiz Saeed i am beginning to think that Gujral, like Nehru, was an emotional fool to dismantle RAW infrastructure in Pak. We should rebuild it again and start proving “Moral and diplomatic” support to BAL and Sindhi nationalist to liberate them from unjust occupation of Pakistan.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive

Sanjiv,

It’s good that India has shown willingness to talk with Pakistan. I’m not too excited though. If history is any witness we know how the talks will end. Let me wager a guess and walk us through the steps. Here it goes:

1) India will open talks with Pakistan with lot of fan fare. This will begin new round of talk-fests, mostly old hats, discussing the possibilities of peace and hoping to publish white papers in the end. This will buy some time and get the Yankees off the backs of India and Pak.

2) Meanwhile, the Pak army, fearing their source of livelihood is being stolen, will not let the restless Mujahadins sit idle and warm the benches. Consequently, there will anti-India hate speeches and new terrorist attacks in India while the peace talks are on.

3) If the cross-border militants are caught Pak will be label them as ‘non-state’ actors and downplay the issue. On the contrary, if terrorists manage to slip they will be labeled as freedom fighters from Kashmir.

4) Lost in the fog of confusion, allegations and denials, the peace talks will hit the familiar rough patch.

5) India, frustrated with the Zardari combine, will attempt to pause the talks and hope to solve Kashmir at a later date – may be when foreign educated Bilawal Bhutto is ruling Pakistan?

6) The US will pay the lip service; ask India to continue the peace talks and persuade Pakistan to stop cross-border attacks. After all, Obama has to show some progress in South Asia before his next election.

7) Pakistan, to contain terror, will demand more aid, debt write-offs and a nuke deal from Washington to fight home-grown terrorism in Muridke and Muzzafarabad. If Washington refuses, Beijing will do its needful.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive

Umair says “For those who are so unforgiving of the Mumbai terrorist attack, can I also see the same level of anger against the killing and rape of two young Kashmiri girls recently? Who raped them? who killed them? they were muslims and the locals claim Indian Army was the culprit. It is a time of introspection and difficult questions. In presence of such oppression in Kashmir what are the hopes of peace?”

@ Umair
What happened to the girl who was flogged in SWAT, and you are talking about peace in Kashmir and people killed were muslims? Dont you know the girl who was flogged was also a muslim and peace does not exist in SWAT?

Isolated incidents of crime are perpetrated in every country, and if the case in India is true, they will will be brought to justice using the court of law (which by the way is established unlike in pakistan).

Highlighting individual incidents and comparing them to state sponsor of terror (which u deny anyways) does not serve your purpose nor rectify the problem

Posted by Wooferswitch | Report as abusive

India is involved in recent insurgent throughout Pakistan and this is exactly what Pakistan has been doing to India in Kashmir. If not “tit4tat”, it’s been what you say the benefits of friedship with the US. If the both country decide today to get independent from the US partisanship, no one can stop those nations to get united against the deviding powers.

Posted by Khatri | Report as abusive

Keith says :
“Good on Singh for starting the dialog with Pakistan. It costs them nothing to talk”

May I ask you “Keith” where are you from? What makes you think it costs “nothing” to India?

Your comments India that India should “work hard” to intergrate Pakistan’s economy are inane! FYI, Indian government is not around to take care of Pakistan’s economy.

Indian government is around to protect Indian citizens from Pakistani terrorism.

The function of Indian Governement is to do surveillance and expect whether the next terrorist attack by Pakistan army would be at a bus statio, train station or parliament, etc.

The function of Indian governement is not to “work hard” to help the Pakistan economy!!!!

Khatri ??

“India is involved in recent insurgent throughout Pakistan and this is exactly what Pakistan has been doing to India in Kashmir”

Congratulations you got enlighten. Pakistan has never officially accused India for any insurgency in Pakistan. Simply because India is not doing that. Where do you get proofs for supporting such statements. Would you mind to share with us ??

India is already free from US partisanship, Nobody decides who is going to rule India but Indian citizens. Our leaders are not a result of NRO, neither army did a coup. We dont travel country to country for aid and help. Unlike Pakistan, we do not violate diplomatic protocols for anyone.

There is a difference you need to understand.

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive

May be there is another diplomatic deal that India can make to Pakistan:

India will let Kashmir go, provided Pakistan gives independence to Balochistan, Sindh and NWFP/FATA areas. Every deal has a give and take. Pakistanis can have all of Kashmir, but let them offer something in return for it by letting go of the mentioned provinces. After all they have done nothing with them. None of the people in these regions wanted to be a part of Jinnah’s grand nation. And none of them are happy either.

So may be India can start its “moral” support for the self determination of these people. They are already accusing the RAW and Indian “consulates” inside Afghanistan of sabotage activities, even though they have absolutely no proof or evidence to provide. So we might as well make it real for them.

If they will not let us mind our business, I do not see any reason why we should let them mind theirs. Their military is better off fighting its own people. Keep them occupied for a long time. Tie up the tail of its military to its nose and it will keep chasing itself and it might help Pakistan survive in the bargain.

Khatri wrote:
India is involved in recent insurgent throughout Pakistan and this is exactly what Pakistan has been doing to India in Kashmir.

What recent insurgent throughout Pakistan?

If you mean the Lahore attacks, Marriot Hotel bombing and several mosque bombings then you better clean your ears because the Taliban have taken responsibility for these attacks.

The Taliban succeeded in killing all three world food programme personnel in recent Pashawar attack, prompting the UN to halt all its humanitarian efforts in the country.

Just last week, 60 Taliban posing as civilians were rounded up from internally displace people camps in the North West Frontier Province and Malakand.

Even two weeks ago, employees of banned sister organisations Jamat-ud Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniat were reported to be combing the refugee camps for young, disaffected men to fight in Kashmir.

Where is your TANGIBLE proof that India is involved? You have NONE! You just believe whatever a bearded Imam would state and go along with it.

India and USA had SOLID proof that Pakistan was involved in the Mumbai attacks only to see Pakistan do its round of denials then accept that the attackers were Pakistani. Then all media was prevented from entering the village of the only culprit caught alive.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

At the end of the day, the only thing that will make Pakistan hurt enough to change is the flow of money.

Diplomacy is the secondary most powerful thing that will coerce Pakistan to abandon proxy terrorism.

As the recession sets deeper, Pakistan is likely going to need another bailout from the IMF.

If the IMF and World Bank can impose extremely tough conditions like:

1) full disclosure and denuclearization

2) destruction of all proxy army infrasture

3) full dismantling of ISI

4) dismantling of Pakistan army to minimal levels (to open up more cashflow to average Pakistani’s)

5) secularize its constitution

6) peace treaty with Israel

7) peace treaty with India

dismantling of most of the Pakistani army

The IMF and World Bank should broker some debt forgiveness and very low interest loans for Pakistan to improve its civilian infrasture.

Any country dealing with Pakistan MUST be assured of tough pre-conditions on terrorism, before they do any sort of business.

If the solution to Pakistani’s terrorism and militant problem is not military or diplomatic, it just might be economic.

If Pakistan is truly as resilient as people brag that it is, then Pakistan will recover economically on its own.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Before India initiates talks with Pakistan, the question to be asked is “Who controls Pakistan?”. Zardari? If yes, does he control entire Pakistan or is negotiating on behalf of Punjab and Sindh provinces? As history shows, after each Pakistani establishment collapse, the talks are back to square one. In my opinion, a military dictator in control of Pakistan is a better negotiator due to the military standing behind him.

Posted by Jerry | Report as abusive

@Sanjeev

India catches another Pakistani made, non-state actor intending to commit terrorism on India. Please read link.

http://www.newkerala.com/nkfullnews-1-50 950.html

Sanjeev, it is great the peace is on the mind of the U.S. and India.

It seems as though Pakistan continues to befuddle, stumble, obfuscate and continues to show either its incompetance or unwillingess to smash the proxy army infrastructure, trying around the clock to destablize and create terrorism in India.

I would like to share the above link which shows the LeT Leader Hafiz Saeed’s right hand man being caught in India, red handed with evidence showing his intention of commiting illegal and terrorist acts on India.

While Pakistani’s provide conspiracy theories, India provides arrests and evidence on a continual basis that gets casually dismissed by the Pakistani establishment on a continual basis.

Pakistan makes me laugh in one breath they want peace the other breath, their GODLY non-state actors plan carnage on India. Is it just me, or is something truly absurd here?

Does anyone have a good reason why the Indian Army should retreat from Kashmir now?

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Those who make the ridiculous justification and equate terror attacks like 26/11 to human rights abuse and the recent rape and murder of two women in Kashmir, remind me of the frog in the well.

A murder case has been registered in the case of the two women, it will be tried and the law will be allowed to take its course. It may also come as news to many, that almost all allegations of human rights abuse, are investigated and wherever action needs to be taken it is taken. There are also many proved and recorded cases, which have been found to be false and created by militant supporters and the separatist apparatus. Security forces to-day have proven records of taking stringent actions against those found guilty.

Can Pakistan say the same? The Saeed case is proof – if ever proof were needed – of the stringent action and legal action that it takes. Its almost six months since Pakistan got the 26/11 dossier. It is just six more months that they have continued to twiddle their thumbs.

I stand by the Indian PMs statement. Let Pakistan show sincerity first, India will not be lacking – Obama’s ‘advice’ notwithstanding. The days of being docile and being reactive have given way to proactive action on India’s part.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive

@I stand by the Indian PMs statement. Let Pakistan show sincerity first, India will not be lacking – Obama’s ‘advice’ notwithstanding. The days of being docile and being reactive have given way to proactive action on India’s part.
- Posted by Dara

-India’s view has been to ask Pakistan to dismantle terror network against India for starting the bilateral talks. But are we helping Pakistani case, who actually want to brew the K-issue for ever, as recently is evident from PM Gilani’s statement for undoing the past progress by saying that Pakistan will get back to Pre-Kargil position and will resume political and …support to kashmiris. I think India should change the strategy a bit and should be aggressive about terrorism but with a different tactic: keep terrorism on top of the agenda of the bilateral talks.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Pakistan is a country who has a soft corner for terrorism, because it cannot easily abdicate many of its foster children, the terrorists. The common people from both countries well understand this. And most of the leaders in Pakistan have always been nurturing a hate India policy to stay in power. That is why Pak government cannot allocate much time for its internal affairs. As long as India Pak relations should not be kept out of religious spectrum, Pakistan will suffer a lot and is not able to reach any solutions for the burning issues like this. Also, Pakistan more often misses the chances to mend the fences with its neighbors so that India can stop the cross border terrorism. Since religion is misused by vested interest in Pakistan, the government cannot get out of the tentacles immediately. All peace loving people unequivocally urge terrorism is the greatest menace of our time. We, the common people from both countries are tolerant and we move forward with equanimity, but it does not mean that political opportunists could take advantage on it. The UPA government has a clear mandate to convey the message in the right perspective to negotiate all the barricades amicably and help Pakistan to get out of maze. For that the first step should come from Pakistan and it has to clearly prove that it can put tight rein on terrorist outlets in its home ground.

Posted by Prem Nizar Hameed | Report as abusive

I know that there is a passionate dislike towards India in UK, Canada, Australia and the Republicans in the US. Look at the racial attacks on Indian students in Australia now.”
- Posted by Mauryan

That’s not true at all. Indian culture and food is really coming into vogue these days. As that happens, there is a much more genuine interest in India and her people. Also, the success of the overseas Indian community has meant that many are now serving as civil servants or in politics. I can’t tell you how many desis I have met working at the State dept. or the CIA. And they are having an impact on helping the rest of government understand India’s point of view. There may be some racism here and there towards non-whites in some of these countries. But by and large the Indian expat community is respected the world over. They have done particularly well in the US. They aren’t all that far behind in Canada either. The UK is arguably a little difficult to characterize and that has more to do with some tensions caused by the Brits having a large Pakistani (and mostly Kashmiri) minority. Yet, even in the UK, increasingly being Indian is considered ‘cool’.

You should not characterize the attacks on Indian students in Australia as somehow representative of the attitudes of all westerners towards Indians. For one, keep in mind that Australians have always had a dark streak in their history when it comes to race relations. Canada on the other hand has fared significantly better. We’ve seen a Sikh elected the premier of the third most populous province. In the US, Bobby Jindal (of Indian heritage) is touted as a possible Presidential candidate after he finishes his stint as the governor of Lousiana. Indeed, the Republicans have particularly sympathy for India because Indians in the US overwhelmingly vote Republican.

Posted by keith | Report as abusive

Rajiv,

I find myself in full agreement with your suggestion that India should start bilateral talks keeping terrorism in the forefront. I really wish this happens.

I do, however, have a few reservations that the Pakistanis will reciprocate for very many reasons.

Just to mention a few:
Going by events of the recent past – the Agra dialogue collapsed because of this very reason. Subsequently it took almost 5 years to resume with Musharaff deftly side stepping the issue and calling for CBMs to take centre stage. He thus successfully pushed terrorism to the back burner and they all finally fell apart last November.

Personally, I think that the firm of Zardari and Gillani, will take the same line. As it is they are already on Oxygen. It seems unlikely either of them will have the authority to substantially decide on controlling Pakistan’s surrogate army of anti-India militants without Kayani’s approval – which would a miracle.

What you say makes a whole heap of sense to me.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive

Singh continues the Indian policy of making statements and then doing nothing. The only achievement of the peace process has been the unilateral move by Pakistan to end artillery duels on Line of Control.

Keith,

Historically, Democrats in US had always been very close to Pakistan, and successive Democrats govt have supported Pakistan stands in past , even during 65 and 71 wars with Pakistan, US has taken sides with Pakistan despite Pakistani aggression against India. Democrat govt was even silent when Pak army was busy in massacre and rape of innocent citizens in former east pakistan. The US pressure on India to resume diaolgue with Pakistan and US stand on Kashmir issue is not surprising, it is for the Indian Govt to stand up to it. Present Singh Govt has largely been voted to power by minorities mostly muslim minoriites , and relation with Pakistan serves the interest of minorities in India, it would not be surprising that Singh govt will walk an extra mile for better relation with Pakistan.

One thing we must bear in mind that despite better Indo-Pak relation, Pakistan never ceased to send terrorists to India, while our former PM Vajpayee was travelling to Pakistan in Delhi-Lahore Bus, Pakistan was busy sending army to occupy Kargil . In short Pakistan can never be trusted .

Pakistan is like any other neighbour to us, , we are definitely concerned about the situation there, but Pakistan is not a trust worthy ally, for their behaviour in past, we can never trust Pakistan . If Singh , without resolution of terrorist issues, takes any step towards improvement of relation with Pakistan, he will be making gravest mistake, will be construed as anti India.

Posted by Manish | Report as abusive

Keith,

I agree that perspective about India has improved a lot compared to before. In the past India was on the dark side of the cold war geo-politics. As a result, there was a lot of bias against India politically and otherwise. Even though India’s image has improved now, there is still the residue of the old attitude remaining. Canada houses a huge Sikh population and as a result, Canada took a negative stance in the case of Khalistan problem. Getting a Canadian visa for Indians is still a big problem, compared to a British or Australian national, though all these countries are members of the Commonwealth. As Indians we were very upset about the way Canadian government washed us off regarding the Kanishka flight bombing by Khalistani terrorists.

I guess things look magnified based on one’s perspective. If you are the affected party, the magnification is more negative. May be my views are perceived from a community at the receiving end. Somehow we Indians get the feeling that we are not given our due respect and regards. Somehow there is a feeling that Western cultures want us to “belong” somewhere below them. We saw ample evidence of it during the India-Australia cricket series. India is an emerging cricket force and it had to fight head on with the Australians. Indian cricket board now controls world cricket due to money clout. Before that it was in the hands of UK and Australia. It was becoming clear to us that India’s emergence was resisted hard. But it has gone past that for now. India’s emergence as a power in terms of human resources, technology, science, education and research will face similar resistance. Sometimes we feel that all the geo-politics around us are manipulated to keep us where we are supposed to belong. For example – it makes no sense to us why the Western powers have pampered Pakistan for so long while they went into Iraq with no hesitation.

I am only expressing the perspective and it can be wrong 100%. But I am trying to give you a view from the other side. There can be some element of truth in it.

Dara:

But between the 2 options: dismantle terror network and start bilateral talks versus start bilateral talks with terrorism on top of the agenda, I still find the latter more forward looking–may not work out though. At least that puts Pakistan in a position to respond. How can they get away with terrorism not supported by Pakistan is their diplomatic win and the selctive blindness of US/UK. US/Brits gestures are symbolic by acknowledging the terrorist organizations as terror organizations, although withput putting any accountablity on Pakistan.
Even if US et al… cannot transplant the mentality of Pakistan establishment, they definitely can help the case by making sure that the filithy amount of $$$$ they are giving does not get siphoned off for LeT and other hyphernated goons. This is plainly ridiculous that a country as poor as Pakistan maintains an expensive habit of maintaining an army of terroists.

Dawn reports “The US House of Representatives has dropped an explicit demand for access to Dr A.Q. Khan and another for preventing terrorist attacks against India as conditions in a legislation that triples US aid to Pakistan.” Instead a soft generic language has been used. “The reworked bill … required Pakistan to ‘cease support, including by any elements within the Pakistan military or its intelligence agency, to extremist and terrorist groups’ and ‘preventing cross-border attacks into neighbouring countries’ as a condition for US security assistance.”"

While Pres Obama is trying to protect American lives, by giving aid, he is doing the opposite for Indian citizens. The sincerity of Obama is limited to his speech.

US Under Secretary for Political Affairs William Burns who visited India kind of attested Gilani statments, which in turn are washing off any progress made by Musharraf/and Bajpai or Singh.

India need to start commanding respect than demanding it. Since US is jumping in the issue, India need to have a shrewd diplomacy to have its way with US. Asking is not enough. This all becomes important since US money helps Pakistan who use that money to fund terrorists that kill Indians.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Rajeev,

As far as Obama and the West are concerned, if their own safety is threatened then terrorism must be fought globally. Otherwise the rest of you can just about lump it – who cares. We have to fight our own battles and not be taken up by the occassional sympathetic noises that others make now and then. That is the one lesson that stares us in the face. There never was and, at this rate, there never will be a co-ordinated international war on terror.

Obama considers the many terrorists and organisations in this region are a threat to US security. Hence US troops in the Af-Pak area.Then, he counsels India to ease tensions on its border with Pakistan, (in the interest of US security) he remains blind and deaf to the fact that these same elements are even more of a threat to India. Moreover, they happen to be at our very doorstep, not half way round the world.

It took the Democrats just a few moths to again start believing believing they have answers to everyone’s problems. One day it may dawn on them that they are in fact a part of the problem.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive

Rajeev congratulations your suggestion has come through! Heard on the news that the Foreign Secretaries will meet before the NAM summit to discuss a single point agenda – terrorism. Some progress at last.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive

Dara:

I think it is a good news or is it?. Myra started a new thread on it.

@We have to fight our own battles and not be taken up by the occassional sympathetic noises that others make now and then. That is the one lesson that stares us in the face. There never was and, at this rate, there never will be a co-ordinated international war on terror.

Dara: You are right about that. What puzzles me that what’s the problem of US et al to sincerely fight the global (not selective) WOT. By all means US WOT is not won until terrorists of all stripes are flushed out of E. or West Pakistan. If I recall long ago someone (Keith?) said LeT is not YET problem for US, so US is not planning to fight against it. Well wait then, till it becomes so and come back again. Anyway, India need to toughen up and realize its potential and use all the leverage to get the job done. Terrorism for sure does not totally stop India but slows it. Let us see what comes out of the India-Pak talks and if there is any concrete action or not. More on Myra’s thread in due time.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Much publicized “MMS Jardari Talk” is a hog wash directed by US with MMS and Jardari playing part.

Terrorist attacks have not stopped in Kashmir and will after some time spread to other parts of country, Border Infiltration has not stopped and will not stop.

PM, HM, FM can talk whatever with whomsoever and forever.

For example Krishna says “You cannot change your neighbours, and if that is the case, you can’t not talk to your neighbour indefinitely.”

The statement is blatant lie. India has been talking indefinitely since 1947 but has Pakistan changed?

Posted by Rohit | Report as abusive

Mauryan,

You said:”As Indians we were very upset about the way Canadian government washed us off regarding the Kanishka flight bombing by Khalistani terrorists.

I guess things look magnified based on one’s perspective. If you are the affected party, the magnification is more negative. May be my views are perceived from a community at the receiving end. Somehow we Indians get the feeling that we are not given our due respect and regards.”

As a Hindu, I can tell you that I had Sikh friends who were affected by the Khalistan terrorists. THese guys were lying, conniving theives who collected Gold, stole, lied cheated, drank alcohol and ate meat, something true religious Sikh people should ever do. It was later found out that the Sikh Khalistan movement was extremely corrupt and intimidated its own people to extort money and many of the leaders were pocketing the money for personal lucative gain and they were using the gullability of average hard working Sikhs to line their pockets. At the same time, they were having a polarizing affect on good average Sikh people who would not otherwise support such people who commit terrorism, therefore Sikhism was hijacked by extremists.

Today it is different, many Sikhs realize that they were “taken” and lied to. Sikhs are part of the greater family of India and should not ever be separate as India is incomplete without them.

With regards to the Khalistani’s in Canada, I can tell you that much of the Sikh community was divided over the issue of Khalistan with so much politics and physical fighting in the temples and many people quietly complicit and “not talking” to help the Canadian Police services to conduct thorough investigations.

Many Indians who are “inwards” thinking have an inferiority complex and psychologically create barriers within themselves to their success. My father told me never ever to blame my troubles on any “white” or western people and he told me there is no one in your way. I guess he was preventing breading the stains and pains of colonialism, which he grew up with. I believe my father has succeeded and I do not share his views of self-imposed limits caused by colonialism.

Mauryan, all I can tell you, if you respect yourself, other people will respect you. I have never let the poor actions of a few ignorant peoples taint my view on how productive, inclusive, compassionate, fairness, social justice, forward thinking and friendly western societies truly are.

People who fail to assimilate will always feel that they are not getting respect. That is not the case for me, I never had a problem getting jobs, getting along or getting respect as I had friends of all races and religions. You see, I do not see myself as a coloured person, or any colour at all, I see myself as a Canadian and therefore have always been treated that way, and despite that, I have always embraced my roots and feel that the two value systems mate well with each other and that gives me courage to be a contributing citizen to the commonwealth. This is the way all members of the commonwealth should view themselves, as respect and responsibility for one’s life starts within first.

Most minorities in commonwealth countries have much to be thankful and grateful for and as they have worked hard and persevered, they have become successful and should always give back to the commonwealth to make it stronger.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive