India and Pakistan: looking beyond the rhetoric

September 5, 2009

With so much noise around these days in the relationship between India and Pakistan it is hard to make out a clear trend.  Politicians and national media in both countries have reverted to trading accusations, whether it be about their nuclear arsenals, Pakistani action against Islamist militants blamed for last year’s Mumbai attacks or alleged violations of a ceasefire on the Line of Control dividing Kashmir. Scan the headlines on a Google news search on India and Pakistan and you get the impression of a relationship fraught beyond repair.

Does that mean that attempts to find a way back into peace talks broken off after the Mumbai attacks are going nowhere? Not necessarily. In the past the background noise of angry rhetoric has usually obscured real progress behind the scenes, and this time around may be no exception.

MORE TALKS

The Hindu newspaper reported on Sept 1 that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may meet either the president or prime minister of Pakistan on the sidelines of a Commonwealth summit in Trinidad in November. It said the Indian government was already working out what strategy to adopt to make any meeting meaningful, while also pushing Pakistan to take more action against Pakistan-based militant groups in order to prevent another Mumbai-style attack.

There is no confirmation of that Trinidad meeting, and nor is there likely to be for some time, but The Hindu in recent months has proved to be well informed about the prime minister’s approach to Pakistan. Singh himself laid out his plans in a speech in parliament in July in which he promised a “step by step” approach to dialogue – effectively meaning that India would talk to Pakistan while refusing for now to reopen a formal peace process broken off after the Mumbai attacks.

The two countries’ foreign ministers are also expected to talk on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York this month, although it is unclear whether this would be preceded by a meeting of foreign secretaries in line with an agreement reached in July that the top diplomats of India and Pakistan should meet ”as often as necessary”.  The Hindu said the foreign secretaries would meet in New York; more recent newspaper reports have called this into question.

DISMANTLING JAMMU AND KASHMIR?

In the meantime, both countries are edging forward in their approach to the two parts of Jammu and Kashmir which they control. (After their first war in 1947/48 the former princely state was divided into the regions of Ladakh, Kashmir and Jammu which are held by India, and the regions of Gilgit and Baltistan along with an area known as Azad Kashmir which are held by Pakistan.)

According to Praveen Swami, a Kashmir expert at The Hindu, the Indian government has been holding secret talks over the summer with the main political separatist alliance in Kashmir, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, to try to agree an approach to bring peace to the region. ”Perhaps most important,” he said, “Pakistan is being asked to endorse the talks.”

Over on its side of the border, the Pakistan government has decided to grant limited autonomy to Gilgit and Baltistan. It had previously run the region  directly from Islamabad, much to the irritation of local people who felt they had been deprived of their political rights to the kind of self-rule given to Pakistani provinces. 

To digress briefly into history, the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was created in the 19th century by Hindu Dogra rulers expanding outwards from their base in Jammu and comprising people of different linguistic, ethnic and religious groups.  Were it not for the tremendous importance given to Jammu and Kashmir by both India and Pakistan – both of which claim the state in full – it might have broken up naturally years ago.

The people of Gilgit and Baltistan never felt much loyalty to the former maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir and have long complained that they have been held hostage to the Kashmir dispute (you hear the same complaints from Ladakhis on the Indian side.)

So do the parallel moves on both India and Pakistan suggest both countries are taking small steps towards an eventual dismantling of the former princely state which would allow a settlement of the long-running Kashmir dispute? Not quite – Pakistan has been careful to say it is not giving full provincial status to Gilgit and Baltistan. There are also historical grounds for treating the region differently from other parts of Jammu and Kashmir, which date back to partition and before.

Yet given that anything to do with Jammu and Kashmir is potentially explosive, reactions to the Pakistan government’s move on Gilgit and Baltistan have so far been relatively muted. Dawn newspaper said that the decision stuck a balance between meeting the aspirations of its people for political rights and maintaining the region’s status as disputed territory. The Daily Times said that the people of Gilgit and Baltistan had been held hostage to the Kashmir dispute for long enough and should eventually be incorporated as a full province of Pakistan. On the Indian side, I’ve seen criticism from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party but nothing from the government.

A roadmap for peace sketched out by Singh and former president Pervez Musharraf in 2007 effectively acknowledged the division of the state by accepting there would be no exchange of territory between the two countries – although both pledged to try to make borders irrelevant. That agreement was shelved when Musharraf’s own political fortunes nosedived.  But are the governments of India and Pakistan nonetheless following some of the signposts in that roadmap despite all the angry rhetoric currently dominating their relationship? And if so, how far are they exchanging information about their plans?

WILD CARDS

Just in case the above looks too rosy a view on the prospects of progress in relations between India and Pakistan, it is probably worth remembering it can all go wrong, particularly if there is another major militant attack in India.

The other wild card comes from the transformation of the political landscape in India with the implosion of the opposition right-wing BJP initially triggered by the furore over a book on Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah by former senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh. So far the jury remains out on how the political drama will play out. Analysts variously predict a collapse of the right, or its opposite – a revival of the right as the BJP returns to its hardline anti-Pakistan Hindu nationalist roots in an attempt to reinvent itself after losing two consecutive general elections. Until the political landscape becomes clearer, India’s Congress-led government is likely to tread cautiously.

(Reuters file photos: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Siachen; Singh with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in Russia; Dal lake in Srinagar; Drass on the Line of Control; former Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh)

Comments

7. Why is Pakistan hiding Bangladeshi war criminals? And other UN / Interpol declared terrorists? How these terrorists help Pakistan?

Posted by Soman | Report as abusive
 

@I can still sense a minority in India that does not swallow the idea of Pakistan. That kind of attitude is a killer for peaceful relations.
- Posted by Umair

-Why do you worry that some in India do not swallow the idea of Pakistan? Now some in Pakistan want to see Islam rule over India, I can just laugh at that. Do not worry too much about that. I/We do accept Pakistan as a separate country and we thank Congress leaders–Patel and Nehru for facilitating the process of creation of pakistan, if they really did. My only personal problem is with the partition not with 1 or 2 Pakistan emerging out of the process—that half million were dead and 12 million refugees, but you know nothing of this since you stayed safe inside Pakistan Punjab. But in anycase, do you after Jaswant Singh revelation respect Patel and Nehru–who gave you the Pakistan that you are so proud of. Pakistanis should have their portraits now in addition to Jinnah’s.

kashmir issue must be solved–that’s right and that’s all I can say. Rest is the familiar rhetoric.
Would you comment on why Pakistan gifted Shaksgam valley
to China without asking kashmiris, why ISI is churning out Jihadi toys against Kashmiri wishes–200,000 made already, why not roll back terror Industry by all its ever mutating names.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

8. Muslims in Xinjiang, Urumi are not muslim enough for Pakistan? Pakistan is the only country encouraging China to kill these people.

Posted by Soman | Report as abusive
 

@Akhtar Babajan whatever you say about Pakistan at least they did not suppress their own like the Sikhs, butcher the Gujaratis and any other minority in India.
-posted by A Hamid

-Are Balochis not Pakistan’s own? Akhtar Babajan is a Balochi and is complaining about Pakistan’s tyranny against Balochis.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

India has a crystal clear choice to make, resolve the (Kashmir) dispute(s) with Pakistan and look forward towards a future.
–Umair

Thank you about your ‘crystal clear choice’ for India.

Is there any such crystal clear choice available to Pakistan to stop drones from openly violating its ‘sovereignty’?
Is there any crystal clear choice available to avoid going around the world with a crystal clear empty bowl?

Don’t you think it would do more help to Pakistan if you spend time in thinking about choices for Pakistan rather than India?

Umair, go get some fresh air.

Posted by Sunny | Report as abusive
 

Hindus protest as nurse goes missing

Staff Report

KARACHI: Dozens of people from the Hindu Maheshwari community gathered outside the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday to demand the safe return of Bano, a young Hindu nurse working at a private hospital, who went missing three weeks ago.

Carrying placards and banners, the protestors feared that Bano might be killed or forced to convert her religion. The elders of the community, Rajo, Narain and others, told the media that Bano had a row with the owner of the hospital where she worked before she went missing.

“Though the police have registered a case, nothing has been done for her return so far,” the protestors said.

The protestors demanded the federal and provincial government, law enforcement agencies and civil society organizations to ensure the safe release and return of Bano.

Kidnapping and forced conversion of Hindu women is not a new phenomenon in Sindh as several such cases have occurred throughout the province in the past.

Home | Karachi

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp  ?page=200999\story_9-9-2009_pg12_9

The above piece is from todays PAK Daily, folks

 

Bilal Butt your so not a Kashmiri and its sooo obvious!!
- Posted by Madhu

Oh really? And you are a Pakistani that goes by the name ‘Madhu’? Yeah right!
Don’t question the identity of other individuals on the blog just because they don’t agree with you. Disguising their names or masquerading as someone else is what pakistanis do on this blog. Am I right, ‘Madhu’?

Posted by brewer | Report as abusive
 

A. Hamid,

You said: “Whatever you say about Pakistan at least they did not suppress their own like the Sikhs, butcher the Gujaratis and any other minority in India”.

- Should Indians take lessons from Pakistan about how they treat Pashtuns in Karachi or the Christians in Gojra or the Balochis in Baluchistan? Treatment of minorities in India needs to improve, but it is hundred times better than the treatment meted out by Pakistan to its minorities.

You said: “Pakistanis are housing over 1200000 refugees from Indian occupied Kashmir who have fled the terror of India, go and check out the refugee camps in AK”

- Gee, wonder why do Kashmiris denounce Pakistan despite the accomodation? May be Pakistan has held the Kashmiris in terror camps as make-shift housing arrangement. Many Kashmiris who fled in early 1990′s to Pak occupied Kashmir have become disillusioned. They’ve learnt Pakistan does not care for the Kashmiris and it’s in it for itself.

You said: “Currently Indian occupied Kashmir’s water is being drained and used to light up India and Indian industries”

- That’s a lie. J&K imports, not export, power from neighboring Indian states because of shortfall in electricity. Pakistan also plays its part in keeping poor Kashmiris in dark; remember Pakistani charade in Baglihar dam on river Chenab which was meant to light up homes of the Kashmiris?

You said, “the UN just confirmed 80000 mass graves in Indian Occupied Kashmir so why do you not read some reports and relieve your ignorance”

- Indians do not exonerate the violent acts. The perpetrators are immediately jailed or forced to resign. Pakistan has lost its right to complain. The UN and the journos like Myra do not venture in Balochistan because Pakistan hides its violent acts under a tight lid. I’m sure the UN will find many more dead graves because Pakistan uses helicopter gunships and fighter jets to subdue the freedom fighters in Baluchistan.

You said: “if it wasn’t for us you would still be fanning the British as their chai walas”

- It’s irrelevant to the discussion but ironic what you wrote. The Muslim League piggybacked on the success of the Indian National Congress in the freedom struggle. Had it not for the mass movement of the Indian Congress you’d be still serving chai to Madam Sally in Lahore. Not much has changed for Pakistanis though. Pakistani leaders call England their home when they are exile. Even the Pakistani national cricket team is considering to relocate to their real motherland; the UK.

You said: “We are co-operating to get the terrorist which were brought and bred on our soil to fight Russia and we helped make the subcontinent safe”.

- Not really. The sub-continent has become miserable as a result of the fanatics that Pakistan help breed in return for US dollars, F-16′s and stingers. When the godfather – the US – threatens to bomb Pakistan back to stone age there is no option but to co-operate, isn’t it?

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive
 

“THANK YOU S.WANI YOU ARE A TRUE KASHMIRI MY BROTHER.
DONT GIVE UP YOUR STRUGGLE AND LET INDIA SILENCE YOU LIKE
US SIKHS. KHALISTAN WILL BECOME A REALITY TOO”
- Posted by G Singh

LMAO! Another fake Pakistani impostor, masquerading as a Sikh in retaliation of comments by the Balochis & Kasmiris against Pakistan. ‘Mr. G. Singh’, despite the nefarious designs of you Pakistanis, you will never be able to break India. There ever be a Khalistan because Sikhs are proud Indians & happy to be a part of a prosperous, secular & democratic India. Instead of trying to dismember India, it would be better if you Pakistanis redirect your collective energies towards avoiding the inevitable fragmentation of your country. And this is coming to you from an actual sikh, not a fake one!

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

A senior Pakistan diplomat told the Guardian that his country was being treated as a “whipping boy” by Britain

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep  /08/pakistan-top-diplomat-terrorism-cla im

Posted by Ramon | Report as abusive
 

Zardari selling Kashmir secretly to Chinese and enriching his friends!

Zardari’s secret $2.2 bn Pakistan Steel deal with China without bids

“Most shocking element of this MoU, available with this correspondent, which will bind Pakistan with an additional foreign loan of $2.2 billion, is a clause that requires complete secrecy of this understanding”

“a businessman close to Zardari would be a major beneficiary of this expansion project”

“A day after the publication of the News report, angry Gilani announced in the national assembly that Moin Aftab Shaikh, the chairman of the Pakistan Steel Mills, had been sacked on corruption charges”

“Zarari has so far made four such visits to China in the last one year. These frequent visits to meet Chinese investors and businessmen have given rise to allegations that he was going there to promote the business interests of his friends in Pakistan”

http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_deta il.asp?Id=23922

http://news.rediff.com/column/2009/aug/2 8/raman-chinas-growing-role-in-pakistan- occupied-kashmir.htm

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive
 

DON’T LET INDIA SILENCE YOU LIKE US SIKHS. KHALISTAN WILL BECOME A REALITY TOO
- Posted by G Singh

Khalistan dreams died because it was neither genuine nor people inspired struggle. Few mercenaries got money and guns from Pakistan and started killing others. When Pakistan shifted focus to Kashmir, money and gun supply dried and so did the Khalistan dreams. Just too many sikhs and innocents died for no reason. What did anybody achieve?

Pakistan tried the same thing in Kashmir. But Kashmiris are getting smarter. Kashmiris have moved away from rented guns and are negotiating a better deal secretly with Indian Govt, as we speak.

Posted by Mamy Singh | Report as abusive
 

“THANK YOU S.WANI YOU ARE A TRUE KASHMIRI MY BROTHER.
DONT GIVE UP YOUR STRUGGLE AND LET INDIA SILENCE YOU LIKE
US SIKHS. KHALISTAN WILL BECOME A REALITY TOO”

- Posted by G Singh

Mr Singh, from whom do you want Independence, and do you believe Khalistan can survive of its own.

Though I know your name might be Ghaazi or Gulfam and you are pretending to be a Sikh

Posted by singh | Report as abusive
 
 

Funny how few of you Indians have failed to read Roys article on Kashmir, maybe you think this is also an ISI ploy.

This article is from the heart of Kashmir so here it is again
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug  /22/kashmir.india

Posted by Bilal | Report as abusive
 

Some important and pertinent questions have been raised. Got stuck in reading recent comments and going by attitudes here there seems little hope of any reconciliation. Fortunately I am sure that this is not a true reflection of what people on both sides want.

My own personal opinion is that though back channel diplomacy is important, we have been hearing for a long time now about how an understanding or some sort of solution was almost ready with Musharaff. Personally I think it is about time the people were taken into some confidence and there was an open debate on the proposals. In the absence of knowing what was proposed and on the table, a meaningful debate on the issue on a platform such as this one will be difficult. Unfortunately that seems unlikely to happen as then it would hardly be back channel diplomacy.

The one thing that is certain is that should there be another 26/11 sort of attack, public opinion in India will almost certainly tend towards taking on Pakistan head on. As it is with the kind of public pronouncements being made by the Pak Interior Minister on the Indian dossiers, people are just about fed up of waiting for any meaningful response from the Pakistani establishment.

 

Kashmiris oppose Pakistan’s Northern Areas package

“It looks like they are integrating these areas into Pakistan”

http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-Afgha nistan-Pakistan/idUSTRE57U2TJ20090831

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive
 

Pak’s double-game’ helped bin-Laden escape allied forces: Times
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/wo rld/us_and_americas/article6826717.ece

Ex-premier Sharif ‘met with Osama five times’
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=105 707&sectionid=351020401

Osama introduced Nawaz Sharif to Saudi royals: ex-ISI chief
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp  ?page=200998\story_8-9-2009_pg7_13

Posted by Soman | Report as abusive
 

Bilal:
@Funny how few of you Indians have failed to read Roys article on Kashmir, maybe you think this is also an ISI ploy.
- Posted by Bilal

-I personally do not care if it is ISI ploy or not plus you gave the link, right? So let us talk about the article.

Thanks. I have read her articles and know where she stands on the issue. In one line Roy’s simplistic attitude can console a kashmiri but she is of no help to the overall cause since she is emotional fool (or pretends to be one) of no concrete value.
Other Indians like MJ Akbar & Salman Rushdie and many others try to take 360degree view than looking at one side. Roy says Kashmiris are suffering at the hand of the Indian Army and they need to be given Kashmir according their choice—I agree since but that’s what happens in terrorism situation and I have seen that first hand. But why she is selectively passionate about the Kashmiris of today-now mostly Muslims, while barely touching the Kashmiri Pundit cause–leaving that just an open question. Giving a discourse is one thing but that does nothing for the solution. Her overall views are kind of like: Kashmiris suffer at the hand if Indian Army who are Hitlers, Mumbai attack happened because of injustices against Kashmiris/Muslims in India, so India need to give justice to Kashmiris and free them. BS.

It is important for Kashmiris (in India) to understand that all Indians, kashmiris in the Kashmir valley, kashmiris Pundits outside the Kashmir valley, the safety and security of non-Kashmiris Indians is at stake when we talk about K-issue. All have to feel safe and secure with the solution. From my non-Kashmiri Indian POV, terror will continue since Pakistan which initiates it is in no mood to roll back the terror machinery–see developments since 26/11. As and when that happens will be the beginning of the real solution of the Kashmiri issue.

But this is not to deny that kashmiris are stuck. Yes they are—more they think they are more they will be. Alternatives are not rosy for all I see and hear from people in the valley–common man to experts.

Salman Rushdie blasted Roy’s comments that Mumbai terror attack is due to the injustice against Kashmiris/Muslims. How hard it is to understand that terrorism will happen when Pakistan ISI wants—nothing to do with injustice again anyone.
A Kashmiri and I (non-kashmiri) need to ask the same question: Will terrorism stop once let us say Kashmir is free? Analysts feel NO and I agree with them. Rushdie also says that “Islamic terrorist project” will not shut down even after this solution. Who runs it? Pakistan. So Kashmiris and I need to ask of Pakistan to shut it down. If that does not happen, simplistic Roy can keep on crying and asking for the moon on the behalf of Kashmiris. She is shedding tears of no use. It is the duty of Kashmiris to OPENLY oppose terrorism for their own sake.

Solution is simple: All Kashmiris protest against Pakistan-based terrorism, everyday, put pressure on them, India/international community will support that, Pakistan will have to show something real concrete to dismantle their Jihadi toys. I mean Kashmiri must link Kashmir issue with terrorism if they want real solution otherwise crying becomes a habit and one gets used to it.
Read Rushdie interview:
http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx  ?239268

Quote Rushdie “Speaking of the roots (OF MUMBAI ATTACKS), I think one of the, I THINK ONE OF THE MOST WORRYING DEVELOPMENTS IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE ATTACKS, HAS BEEN THE WILLINGNESS OF A NUMBER OF COMMENTATORS, PARTICULARLY ON THE LEFT, TO PLACE THE QUESTION OF ROOTS IN THE CONCEPT OF JUSTICE.
People have said that the reason for these attacks was that there is injustice, that Indian Muslims are economically disadvantaged in India, that they have much lower educational qualifications, they have much higher unemployment rates and then of course there is the great injustice of Kashmir. As the argument be that while those injustices exist that is the thing from which these actions spring.
And as our colleague Arundhati Roy wrote the other night, as she ended her article, she said: You have a very simple choice: Justice or civil war — and you choose. ….. that is the entire spectrum of possibility from A to B.
[Laughs]
I want to really take issue with this. Because I mean, I think, anyone who knows what I have written in my life knows that I am quite seriously concerned with the condition of Kashmir. And I think that Indian authorities are culpable in the way in which they have treated the ordinary people of Kashmir but so are Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba.
And you have the people of Kashmir caught between a rock and a hard place. You know, you have a kind of fanatic Islam arriving from Pakistan which is not in keeping with the sufistic Islam that is traditional in Kashmir. So you have this Arabised Islam being forced upon people on the one hand, at the point of a gun, and on the other hand you have Indian security forces treating all Kashmiris as if they are terrorists, and often very brutally. So that’s there.
BUT THE POINT I WANT TO MAKE IS THAT I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE TERRORISTS SUCH AS THESE — I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THEIR PROJECT HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH JUSTICE.
ASK YOURSELF THE QUESTION THAT IF THE KASHMIR PROBLEM WERE RESOLVE TOMORROW, IF ISRAEL-PALESTINE REACHED A LASTING PEACE, DO WE BELIEVE THAT AL-QAEDA WOULD DISBAND? DO WE BELIEVE THAT LASHKAR-E-TOIBA AND JAISH-E-MOHAMMAD WOULD PUT THEIR GUNS DOWN AND BEAT THEM INTO PLOUGH-SHEARS AND SAY WE WOULD NOW BE FARMERS BECAUSE OUR JOB IS DONE.
I MEAN THE POINT ABOUT IS THAT IS LAUGHABLE, RIGHT? AND THE POINT ABOUT THAT IS THAT THAT IS NOT THEIR PROJECT. THEIR PROJECT IS POWER. THIS IS A POWER GRAB BY THE MOST OBSCURANTIST, REVANCHIST, OLD-FASHIONED, MEDIEVALIST IDEA OF MODERN CULTURE THAT ATTEMPTS TO DRAG THE WORLD BACK INTO THE MIDDLE AGES AT THE POINT OF MODERN WEAPONRY … “ Unquote Rushdie
Read MJ Akbar does not have any different views.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Any Pakistani whoever needs Kashmir:

Please answer my 8 questions. Be specific, logical and substantive.

Posted by Soman | Report as abusive
 

Dara does your or Delhis compostite dialogue be include the
Kashmiris and thier leaders or will they be detained again?

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updat es/news/one-killed-150-injured-protests- continue-jammu-kashmir-20090610

Posted by T Shan | Report as abusive
 

Dara, thanks for bringing the discussion back to topic.

You wrote, “In the absence of knowing what was proposed and on the table, a meaningful debate on the issue on a platform such as this one will be difficult.”

I’m confident of what I said in my story – that the roadmap peace agreement sketched out between Musharraf and Manmohan Singh involved no exchange of territory, but aimed to make borders irrelevant. There was also supposed to be a “joint mechanism” to oversee issues of interest to both sides, but the exact details of this had yet to be worked out.

The logical consequence of this roadmap (and this bit I am still researching) is that Gilgit and Baltistan would eventually be integrated into Pakistan; Ladakh and Jammu would remain with India; leaving the Kashmir Valley and Azad Kashmir as the main area for discussion.

Although that roadmap leaves lots of room for argument, it does represent a step forward if you consider it in the context of the last 60 years, in which both India and Pakistan — at least in public — have maintained positions which applied to the whole of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.

So perhaps the public debate needs to start first of all by asking people whether they are ready to take Gilgit and Baltistan, and Jammu and Ladakh out of the equation?

You also said:

“The one thing that is certain is that should there be another 26/11 sort of attack, public opinion in India will almost certainly tend towards taking on Pakistan head on.”

My question would be what would India do? Manmohan Singh has said that war is not an option; coercive diplomacy has been tried in 2001/2002; and selective strikes to target individuals or small groups work only if you have human intelligence on the ground.

So let’s assume for the purposes of discussion that India does nothing. At the same time, however, foreign investors would expect India to retaliate and as a result Indian inward investment and markets would suffer. That’s not a good position to be in, and my reading of what Manmohan Singh has been trying to do is at least partly motivated by trying to get India out of that position (his primary interest is, and always has been, the economy.)

Finally, a question on public opinion. I’ve been reading all the newspaper reports about the upcoming state elections in Maharashtra and I can’t find a single mention of Pakistan. The issues all seem to be about drought, farmers’ suicides, rising food prices and political in-fighting between the Congress-NCP on one side and the BJP-Shiv Sena on the other. So what do you mean when you talk about public opinion? The view of the English-language media, or the electorate?

Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

Musharraf is getting kicked out of London!

“Perhaps recognising that a prolonged stay in London could be problematic, government officials do not want Musharraf to remain for long”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep  /09/pakistan-pervez-musharraf-exile-lon don

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive
 

Reading all opinions posted here shows how much we are stuck with rhetoric. Majority of Indian friends are continued to side track proving that state of Pakistan is a mess, the people of Pakistan are immoral, heinous and aggressive they have no right to even point Kashmir issue. This is what Indian establishment been doing for long, the do more rhetoric and not getting to the table to solve the real issues. The issue is not here whether Pakistan is a corrupt, failed or dysfunctional state, or India has no Hindu fundamentalist problem, or hegemonistic designs. The issue here is whether there is a problem and should India attempt to resolve it. Well, some may say there is no problem; more than six hundred thousand Indian soldiers are just having vacations in Kashmir. But still qualifies as rhetoric too. If there is no problem, why then all this fuss about blaming Pakistan for something nonexistent.

We all know there is a problem, the causes of which are perceived differently, however it needs to be resolved proactively. Both Indian and Pakistani sides understand well it can not be resolved militarily. To persuade the other side one has to sit down. The most common methods of persuasion are the rhetoric and dialectics. Rhetoric in its modern form is simply sticking to ones opinion and constantly using it to define the problem. India had been doing this for years and it isn’t working. The dialectics (a form of dialogue) involves difference of opinion to argue about the problem. It requires an open mind. Only dialogue provides the possibility to convince or of being convinced by the opposition not rhetoric. Those who feel their argument does not have material avoid dialogue in fear of being convinced. To eliminate differences one needs to be courageous enough to face the opponent and find a mutually acceptable ground.

Pakistanis are well aware that the Kashmir issue has given rise to militancy, which in turn have become host of terrorism. But the source of this militancy lies in Kashmir issue. Sticking to rhetoric implies only to avoid resolution which will prolong the problem to next decade and threaten not just Pakistan’s existence but the stability of India as well. The militancy in Pakistan-Afghan border speaks for itself, with all the resources and might of the west it is going on its own. It may consume Pakistan, but then what, will it leave India alone. If people who are playing the blame game and sticking to rhetoric think it will disappear by itself, sorry for them, they are only sticking their heads in the sand.

Posted by AAfromUSA | Report as abusive
 

Myra,
India has not taken any punitive action. India is not aggressive like China or Israel! India only pushed Pakistan diplomatically to arrest terrorists. India can take a lot of punitive actions that will make Pakistan bankrupt or a desert.

1. Trade and travel ban
2. Sports ban
3. Overhead flight bad
4. Cancel bilateral treaties including the water treaty
5. Set up a billion dollar fund for Baluchistan freedom
6. Actively blacklist countries and companies selling arms to Pakistan
7. Actively force FoDP or IMF to check Pakistan’s defense budget before giving any aid
8. Donate billions dollars of arms aid to Afghanistan.
9. Unilaterally declare Pakistan a terrorist country and harass, check all cargo ships coming in/out of Pakistan. India needs to buy some good BMD shield and cover Pakistan with an AWACS cap before going for this.

But Indian leaders are smarter. They know time kills terrorists. Why get dirty!

Posted by Sameer | Report as abusive
 

Myra, for the record, some of the rhetoric you are talking about is also bringing Khalistan into the picture.

Let me set the record straight on what mainstream Indian Sikh’s really think about Khalistan. I am Punjabi Hindu, but have lived along side and am friends with hundreds of Sikhs, I understand them, like they are my own family.

Almost all Sikhs are actually disenfranchised and feel cheated by the political thugs, that tried to hijack a good progressive and loving inclusive religion like Sikhism. Sikhism, on many levels is one of the best things that India has to offer, you are free to goto any Gurdwara and feed yourself and stay for free if you wish, regardless of your religion, afterall, God’s house is for all peoples, regardless of their religion, caste or creed.

The Sikh Community and especially the Diaspora, in the UK, Canada, the U.S. are extremely successful and progressive and have integrated well. I admire the Sikh community greatly and admire their strength and courage, especially the courage to have reason and sense. It is true that Indira Gandhi ordered a retaliation that spiralled out of control and the rest of India weeps and regrets that horrible week, where many innocent Sikhs were butchered. But let me be clear, it was Pakistan who fueled this dangerous separatism and mentored the leaders of the Khalistan movement to challenge the Indian Security establishment, head on. Lawlessness does have consequences, but things did go too far and thank God that the Indira Gandhi mindset and days are gone. The Sikh community has not forgotten and neither have the rest of us, but India has advanced greatly since those days in the 80′s and so has the Sikh community and today we see a Sikh man as the leader of India, what a turn of events, in such a small time, don’t you think?!? The very few Sikhs who preach Khalistan are extremists and even treated like marginalized fringe people in the peaceful Sikh community. Those preaching Khalistan advocate violence against innocents, they indulge in honour killings, they are a completely backwards, stagnant people by choice.

India is not complete without Sikhs, as they are a part of the larger Indian family and history has looked very kindly on the brave Sikhs, who defended Indian land against violent Islamic oppression. The Sikhs are our lions, our pride of India.

I ask our Pak friends to not mention Khalistan, or try posing as Sikhs in the blog, as that is such a small dream to aspire to, and actually insults in the intelligence and capabilities of Sikhs, when you can be much more than that, you can be global or Prime Minister of India.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

AAfromUSA:
If a habitual druggie in your neighborhood intrudes into your house in the night and kills your children. Next day the intruder claims that your wife belongs to him because he believes they were eternal partners in previous life! Druggie doesn’t want to accept your marriage certificate. And you get threatening calls everyday to give up your wife or intruder will again sneak in to your house in the night and kill more children.

What will you do:
1. Give up your wife and save the children? What if the druggie comes back a week later and demands your eldest daughter?
2. Sit down with the druggie and find a solution to the problem?
3. Or (if you are too passive, mild, soft and shy) try to stay from the druggie, hoping that druggie will die a natural death sooner or get run over by a car! This is the path Indian leaders have taken.

What’s your pick?

We all know there is problem between USA and UBL. Did USA sit down with UBL and find a common ground or resolve issues? Why not?

The problem is the unaccounted US aid! The nearly 300 billions of free US aid and weapons to Pakistan since 1950s. But in spite of all US aid, Pakistan is bankrupt and selling agricultural land, mines and rivers to buy weapons from China. Lets see what else they have got to sell and how far do they sustain!

The problem is not Kashmir. Kashmir was legally integrated into India. Yes, Kashmir king came running to India and wanted to be part of India and signed an accession treaty. Pakistan wanted Khalistan yesterday, Kashmir today, may be water tomorrow and Hyderabad day after tomorrow. Where is the end? Where is the law?

The problem is Pakistan’s mentality. After corruption and mismanagement from last 60 years and complete failure in all areas, blaming India is the only way out for Pakistan’s leaders. This is the only way to get votes. Pakistan’s leaders know if they try to solve internal problems, it will consume them. Problem is Pakistan’s army. It needs to invent problems to stay relevant and justify a thick budget. Everytime, there was peace talks, Army/ISI sabotaged it. At least 6 times, Army/ISI sent terrorists to India to sabotage the peace talks.

What will you talk with anybody, who hasn’t kept his last 10 promises! And only demands more in every talk but never fulfills his part! Is he a worthy partner to talk?

Hindu fundamentalist are not your punch bag! They are not going to other countries in the middle of night to kill citizen’s of other country. Hindu fundamentalist might be making a lot noise, but most of them have never seen a .202 rifle!

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive
 

Hey AAfromUSA,
Does US Govt sit down with terrorists, murderers or liars and negotiates with them?

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive
 

S. Wani it is not only the water of Kashmir that India is draining. I am a water resources expert in a well known
university. India has cut the delta upstream and started draining the water that ran into Bangladesh and was
vital to its function. Indias growing population and dependency on water means that it needs Kashmir.
Tensions are growing between India and Bangladesh too sadly for Bangladesh we have no nuclear facility so the world bank does not deem it worthy to intervene in this instance to draw up agreement as it has between the India/Pak.

Posted by C Cjee | Report as abusive
 

AAfromUSA:
Who do you talk to in Pakistan? Pakistan is like a 3 headed monster:

Head #1 (Politicians): This head always wants to talk and make noise but has no power to deliver anything. This head has a very short life-cycle. Always this head gets bitten by Head #2 and has to obey Head #2.

Head #2 (Army/ISI): This head is more secretive, mystic and has all power. This head only bites and never talks. Also any legitimate Govt can’t talk to this head. Any successful talk will make this head irrelevant. So this head always makes sure that talks fail, whichever head you talk to. This head is partially remote controlled from China and Saudi.

Head #3 (Mullahs/Militants): Part of this head is controlled by Head#2, Part by Saudis and rest on autonomous mode. This head only bites and never talks. Also any legitimate Govt can’t talk to this head. Any successful talk will make this head irrelevant. So this head always makes sure that talks fail, whichever head you talk to.

Do you realize India’s problems now? Not just India’s, this is world’s problem now. US, UK, Miliband, Holbrooke, Petreous, McChrystal, Mullen .. all are trying to talk to different heads .. but nobody has any clue what they have achieved.

My suggestion would be to decapitate Head #2 and #3 and then talk to Head #1 and demand results.

Posted by Nora | Report as abusive
 

T Shan:
NO dialogue!
We can’t talk while you keep holding a gun! You need to prove that you are honest and sincere.

First: Arrest the Mumbai terrorists,
Second: Prove that you are a worthy and reliable partner to talk to
Third: Dismantle all terrorist infrastructures and publicly renounce terrorism
Fourth: If we are convinced about your intentions, may be we’ll let you sit across the table.

But first things first! You need to act!

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive
 

Myra, Dara:

@My question would be what would India do? Manmohan Singh has said that war is not an option; coercive diplomacy has been tried in 2001/2002; and selective strikes to target individuals or small groups work only if you have human intelligence on the ground.

So let’s assume for the purposes of discussion that India does nothing. At the same time, however, foreign investors would expect India to retaliate and as a result Indian inward investment and markets would suffer. That’s not a good position to be in, and my reading of what Manmohan Singh has been trying to do is at least partly motivated by trying to get India out of that position (his primary interest is, and always has been, the economy.)
-Myra

–NO War but activate counter-terrorism wing of RAW. Real help to those who still want freedom from pakistan.

@Finally, a question on public opinion. I’ve been reading all the newspaper reports about the upcoming state elections in Maharashtra and I can’t find a single mention of Pakistan. The issues all seem to be about drought, farmers’ suicides, rising food prices and political in-fighting between the Congress-NCP on one side and the BJP-Shiv Sena on the other. So what do you mean when you talk about public opinion? The view of the English-language media, or the electorate?
-Myra

–Do you really think voters now will think about 26/11–war-Pakistan—what they have is the real issues in mind. Even last Loksabha elections, Mumbai turnout was low. So electorate already ruled out the war option at that time (i think). But this does not by any means indicate that if the attack happens in future, the whole 26/11 memories will not comeback. In future, the protests will not be just candle-light vigil and the pressure on govt will be huge. But this is all asummption and the real opinion emerge in real situations.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Dear C Cjee,
Do you belong to Jamat-e-Islami party? Because that is the only party opposing the dam. And this party opposed the liberation of Bangladesh, allied with Pakistan, started killing Bangladeshis and committing war crimes. Now this party and all it’s leaders are facing war crimes tribunal. So this party is making all kinds of noise against India and US to distract public opinion and to avoid prosecution.

Same logic like Pakistani politicians. Blame it on external factors, blame it on India or USA and hide your own failures!

Here are the links to reports from your all party Parliamentary team, which recently visited the dam site in India.

FORMER Water Resources Minister and currently Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources Mr. Abdur Razzak, upon his return home from leading a parliamentary delegation to India, said that his talks with the Indians have “convinced” him that Tipaimukh will not harm Bangladesh.
http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/ne ws-details.php?nid=101366

AFTER holding talks with Indian authorities about the pros and cons of the construction of Tipaimukh dam vis-à-vis Bangladesh, the Parliament’s water resources committee chairman Abdur Razzak told New Age that his team members were convinced that India would do nothing harmful for Bangladesh.
http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/ne ws-details.php?nid=102092

Tipaimukh Politics in Bangladesh
http://www.americanchronicle.com/article s/view/110788

They are aware that good achievement or success of the present government would push away the possibility of their win the future elections. So, it is natural that they would endeavour their best such that the present government cannot do anything praiseworthy
http://mukto-mona.com/wordpress/?p=441&c page=1

In future, can you please keep your Bangladeshi politics inside your country! War criminals must be punished, no matter how much noise they make or wherever they hide!

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive
 

Until Pakistan does not put all the terrorists on conveyer belts and push them through the roller and show India the proof that they really have been crushed, anything else is a non-issue.period

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Peter, America does not talk to terrorists???
But did it not gather, fund, and train them!!

Posted by T Williams | Report as abusive
 

Mumbai attacks were not caused by Kashmiris Andy,
infact even the international community did not believe your stories and it was a bodged up RAW excercise.
The Indians have a very convenient excuse, terrorrists.

Posted by T Shan | Report as abusive
 

Myra,

Questions, questions, questions! :)

Thanks for the inputs on the road map of the proposed agreement. I had no idea about what was proposed. My initial reaction to limiting the dialogue to the Kashmir valley is positive. Frankly I think there is no question of getting into any laboured discussion about reclaiming land and going back to original boundaries. Some lee way has to be there on both sides. Maybe the picture you paint here is a way out.

While Dr Manmohan Singh may say that war is not an option, I have different views. It is an option of the last resort and is certainly not one that should be simply ruled out. I am not a hawk, but I do believe that at times peace has to be fought for. However, short of war there is still a lot more that can be done; diplomatic, economic, cultural and social. Travel restrictions, cutting off trade relations, reducing diplomatic representation to the minimum and the like. It’s not an easy choice but may become inevitable. The next time there is a call for more evidence I think the short answer should be – if you can’t do anything with all that has been given so far then any more is simply a waste of our time and we have better things to do.

As regards the Maharashtra election, the fact is that this is not a general election but a state level one. The issues here are different and restricted to local issues. Foreign policy is a Central issue. The Mumbai wounds have not healed by a long shot. I have absolutely no doubt that if there be a next time, and if the Indian Government does not take harsher measures than what it has done now, it will be in real danger of being swept away by public anger.

Your last question is most difficult. I do not know whether my opinion is that of the electorate or that of the english media. All I do know is that it is my view and one reflected by my associates in general whenever we do discuss the issue amongst ourselves.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive
 

Peter, America does not talk to terrorists???
But did it not gather, fund, and train them!!
- Posted by T Williams

NO! US hired Pakistan Army/ISI to do all that. Officially, US doesn’t negotiate with terrorists (except ISI)!

Surprisingly, guns and terrorists started showing up in Kashmir, when Pakistan started receiving CIA/Saudi funds for Afghanistan!

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive
 

Mumbai attacks were not caused by Kashmiris Andy,
infact even the international community did not believe your stories and it was a bodged up RAW excercise.
The Indians have a very convenient excuse, terrorrists.
- Posted by T Shan

Are you saying 26/11 didn’t happen? It wasn’t terrorism? Did I ever say Mumbai attacks were caused by Kashmiris? I have a feeling you are a Pakistani. Any sane person wouldn’t try to justify terrorism.

UN, Interpol, FBI, US, are actively looking for the terrorists and banned those persons/ Orgs. 12 countries have provided evidences and helped India prosecute the lone surviving Pakistani in Mumbai. After initially declining, Pakistan arrested and trying (faking) 8 Pakistanis in a secret court.

Which part doesn’t look international to you? Which part was a bodged up RAW exercise?

Agree with your point. Mumbai attacks were done by Pakistani terrorists! All evidences show that. Kashmiris are innocent and peace loving people. It is the Pakistanis, who do all terrorism and hide behind Kashmiris or muslim religion.

You also prove my point. Terrorists have no specific goal or purpose. Terrorism has nothing to do with Kashmir. It has to do with India’s security and world’s security. Pakistan must give up terrorism, arrest all leaders, destroy all terrorist infrastructures and prove that they are equal and worthy international partners. Only then somebody will accept them as serious partners.

It is Pakistan’s job and responsibility to keep their house clean! Why do they need so much convincincing, pushing, carrots and sticks to clean their house?

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev, you said:

“But this does not by any means indicate that if the attack happens in future, the whole 26/11 memories will not comeback. In future, the protests will not be just candle-light vigil and the pressure on govt will be huge. But this is all asummption and the real opinion emerge in real situations.”

–>Rajeev, if more Mumbai type incidents are inflicted on innocent Indians by state or non-state actors from Pakistan, to me, there is not much difference, they are one in the same, India may not still retaliate, but one difference will occur this time in the future.

The anger in Indian citizens will boil and erupt, if more Mumbai’s happen and it will in fact strengthen the Unity of Indians much further. There will be public outcry for justice and to address this in the next best way, short of war are, Billions more will be spent on upgrading the already superior Military complex of India and India will be able to garner much more security and military co-operation from the U.S., Israel, Russia and other European nations. To keep parity, Pakistan will keep using the Kashmir issue to distract the Pakistani public from the nefarious and illegal acts being committed by the Army to buy more weapons against India, it appears to be a never ending cycle, that is fueled by Pakistani establishment.

If Pakistani establishment wants to keep angering the Indian Public, there will be consequences down the road, that will eventually cause the Pakistani public to lose faith against the military and revolt against them, civil war in Pakistan, against the Punjabi’s in power there and the rich punjabi’s in gated communities will be unavoidable. There will be an uprising and a revolution, if you will and that will be destablilizing for the region.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

Myra,

It is hard for Indians to look beyond the rhetoric, what are we supposed to do? Keep our heads down, while innocent citizens get sprayed with bullets?

Below is a link showing that the LeT/JuD leader Hafiz Saeed, is being protected by Pakistani establishment. Indian Gov’t has sent numerous evidence, pointing the finger at Hafiz Saeed, yet Pakistani gov’t is unwilling to move on it, much to the dismay and disappointment of Indians and the world.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Pakistan-h as-vested-interest-in-protecting-Saeed-K rishna/H1-Article1-452266.aspx

It is quite established by now by India that Saeed was the mastermind behind the Mumbai plot. I am curious, to see, what Pakistani’s here think. Do you think Saeed should be arrested and jailed and stand trial and face punishment, or do you think that Saeed, the Mastermind of Mumbai should go free, after killing unarmed innocent Indian citizens?

I hope to get an answer. But I will not be surprised with a non-reply either. It is seldom hard to get Pakistani’s to admit mistake on anything, even 1971 Bengali Genocide. Please prove me wrong.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev,

I feel the Mumbai turn out was a shame. However, being located close to Mumbai, I find that 26/11 is never far from peoples’ minds. The fact that Pakistan does not figure too heavily on the minds of the people is perhaps also because we have, fortunately, moved beyond Pakistan centric policies and thinking. But I still maintain that if there is a repeat, the government will be in real danger of a very serious backlash if it does not take a more positive posture.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive
 

T Shan,

You have addressed a question to me earlier about a composite dialogue and including Kashmiri people in such a dialogue. Is this in relation to something I have written elsewhere, or is it wrongly directed at me? Could you please put the question into context as I am unsure about the background.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive
 

Soman India has just about contained the conflict in its Punjab; having troubles in Nagaland and Gujarat;
Its having problems with Sri Lanka, China, Burma, Pakistan
further its having to steal water for its survival from left right and centre and Bangladesh
Please provide any info for what are its plan for Kashmir and what can it give it but take its resources, provide details.

Posted by F S Noman | Report as abusive
 

US supports India’s stand on conditions

“Ahead of a crucial meeting between Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Obama Administration came out in support of India’s stand on pre-conditions for talks with Pakistan. Pakistan must thoroughly investigate and punish perpetrators of 26/11. The progress is needed first to bring the Mumbai suspectsin to justice”
http://www.business-standard.com/india/n ews/us-supports-india\s-standconditions- for-talkspak/73063/on

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive
 

Calling all Pakistanis again (3rd time):

Please answer my 8 questions. Be logical, specific and substantive! I need to know what you need, why you need and show any evidence you got!

This is the least you need to do to get Kashmir, else you lose your right to raise K-word forever!

Myra, this applies to you as well!

Posted by Soman | Report as abusive
 
 

Musharraf will criticize warm India-US ties on a 40 day US lecture tour to improve Pakistan’s poor global image!

‘Pakistan is a most misunderstood country. I enjoy the opportunity to clear up misperceptions,’ he told The Guardian newspaper.

http://www.britainnews.net/story/541217

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive
 

For T shan:
All your links prove the same point: Pakistani terrorists killed innocents civilians and foreigners. All foreign Governments (except Pakistan’s) are co-operating with India to bring the criminals to justice. It is beyond doubt that the 26/11 Mumbai attack was 100% Made in Pakistan.

Agree with you. There were security failures and Indian Govt was unable to effectively protect innocent civilians and foreigners. That was India’s 9/11, but a lot of things have changed since then. Security is getting better everyday. India is partnering with US/UK to preempt Pakistani terrorists.

India is not a rented state. India doesn’t allow Israli’s do policing in India! I hope you live in a sovereign country and understand the issues!

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive
 

Pakistan’s Ex-President Musharraf creates trouble in London!

http://www.britainnews.net/story/541164

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk  /article6828528.ece

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

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/
  •