India, Pakistan and Afghanistan: the impossible triangle

September 25, 2009

A single paragraph in General Stanley McChrystal’s leaked assessment of the war in Afghanistan has generated much interest, particularly in Pakistan.

“Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant development efforts and financial investment,” it says. “In addition the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian. While Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani counter-measures in Afghanistan or India.”

He did not say anything that anybody did not already know. Pakistan has long been wary of India’s growing influence in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 and is seen as reluctant to turn against the Afghan Taliban and other insurgent groups as long as it believes it might need them to counter India. The fact that he said it all suggested a renewed focus on the relationship between India and Pakistan, whose confrontation to the east spilled long ago into rivalry over Afghanistan to the west.

Pakistan’s Daily Times said in an editorial the rivalry between India and Pakistan in Afghanistan highlighted the need for peace talks between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, which have fought three full-scale wars since independence in 1947, two of them over Kashmir.

“One must be clear in one’s mind that in many ways the mess in Afghanistan is actually a spillover of the Indo-Pak conflict in the region of South Asia,” it said. “Pakistan’s policy of “strategic depth”, which reached a climax with the hijacking of an Indian airliner to Kandahar in 1999, was in reaction to the unresolved dispute over Kashmir which created the “threat of India” that Pakistan felt “from the east”. Even today, as Pakistan struggles against the Taliban, 80 percent of its army is stationed on the Indian border.

Dawn newspaper said McChrystal’s words on India were ”perhaps as significant as any other in the report”.  The Americans appeared to have finally understood, it said, that the war in Afghanistan could not be won without help from Pakistan. “But that means gaining Pakistan’s full cooperation, which in turn means alleviating the national security establishment’s concerns vis-à-vis India.”

However, as discussed in this analysis, India is in little mood to move rapidly towards peace talks with Pakistan until it takes greater action against militants it blames for last year’s attack on Mumbai, although the two countries have been taking incremental steps towards repairing relations. Many argue that the powerful Pakistan Army would be unlikely to turn against militant groups it once cultivated to fight India in Kashmir, without a comprehensive peace settlement with India. (For an understanding of how complicated all this is, read this book reviewby Pakistani strategic analyst Ayesha Siddiqa.)

So, to win the war in Afghanistan, the United States needs help from Pakistan, which Pakistan in turn is reluctant to provide so long as it believes it is threatened by India to both the west and east.  From Washington’s point of view, it needs to nudge Islamabad and New Delhi towards the negotiating table, by leaning on Pakistan to act against militant groups and putting pressure on India to resume peace talks. 

Here is another catch. Although the relationship between the United States and India blossomed under former President George W. Bush, there is far less warmth in New Delhi towards the Obama administration. The relationship started on the wrong foot with India concerned about increasing U.S. economic dependence on its rival China.

Now India and the United States are at loggerheads over President Barack Obama’s nuclear non-proliferation drive.  India has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That row, in turn, complicates efforts by Washington to persuade India to talk to Pakistan.

(Reuters file photos: Obama with Karzai and Biden; a British soldier in Afghanistan; hijacked Indian Airlines plane in Kandahar)

Comments

Keith
Thank you for taking up Pakistan’s case and highlighting Pakistani concerns. Indeed Pakistan’s interests and western interests do not necessarily be identical in Afghan scenario. But recently NATO has expanded ties with Pakistan, there is a need to abandon an approach of coercion on Pakistan. Both Pakistan and the west have to find common interests to work together and eliminate the differences.

Myra (in response to your question)
“If that were indeed the case, how would you suggest Pakistan should be coerced? Does that not go to the heart of the current debate – how do you persuade Pakistan to turn against groups it once saw as “strategic assets” against India? And how do you do so in a way that does not undermine the civilian government?

And if the real debate is about Pakistan, do you need to keep troops in Afghanistan to maintain pressure on Pakistan?”

-My opinion on above questions.
-The west can persuade Pakistan by advocating a just solution to Kashmir dispute. Solve Kashmir, get Indians off our backs. With an India many times larger than us and ever ready to threaten and undermine Pakistan, we need all we can get to defend ourselves from India. Call it paranoia or whatever, but Pakistan’s threat perceptions are different (I call it 1971 East Pakistan syndrome). The west feels threatened by alleged terror groups or havens in Pakistan, whereas for Pakistan, India is a significant threat. When Obama administration preaches Pakistan that India is no more a threat, that is equivalent of coercion. In other words let India cease to exist as a threat to Pakistan (not cease to exist as a nation) only then will millitant groups see the back of Pakistan.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/30/world/ asia/30mumbai.html?_r=1&hp
Network of Militants Is Robust After Mumbai Siege
Myra the above article claims LeT have become a wild card in Indo-Pak relations future. Also, that for Pakistani intelligence the priority is Pakistan, not India. In other words groups that pose a threat to India are not urgent to be tackled. Pakistan needs to be secured first.

-”“Hafiz Saeed is the army’s man,” said Najam Sethi, an analyst and newspaper editor in Lahore, Pakistan. He and other analysts said the ISI was in no hurry to discard a group it helped create for a covert war against India.

“They have not abandoned it altogether,” said Hasan Askari Rizvi, a military analyst in Lahore. “It is not a total reversal; it is a realization that this is not advisable at this time.”
For Pakistani authorities, the political problems posed by arresting Mr. Saeed, or undertaking a broader crackdown on Lashkar, may outstrip the legal ones.

The organization and its cause — to “free” Kashmir — remain close to the hearts of the Pakistani public as well as the military and intelligence establishment. “(from the above article)

-In my view, it will be give and take, the west will give certain guarantees to Pakistan before they could get concessions from Pakistan. India will be stubborn as ever, but this will be a test for western nations. Sort out the mess and harmonize the region, give in to bullying by the Indians and live under vulnerability. The biggest favor India can do to the world is sort out the Kashmir dispute in a justified manner and peace will prevail.

Also, with regard to keeping foreign troops in Afghanistan to put pressure on Pakistan. Well foreign troops in Afghanistan are bogged down with an insurgency carried out by sophistication by the Taliban. Those troops are fighting for survival and do not pose a direct threat to Pakistan. the recent suggestion by Vice President US Joe Biden to rather cut down the troops in Afghanistan and concentrate in eliminating Al-Qaeda elements in Pakistan is better. US scale back military presence in Afghanistan and NATO does the same. Pakistani government be provided the tools (drones) to do the job in eliminating the Al-Qaeda elements in its territory.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

If that were indeed the case, how would you suggest Pakistan should be coerced? Does that not go to the heart of the current debate – how do you persuade Pakistan to turn against groups it once saw as “strategic assets” against India? And how do you do so in a way that does not undermine the civilian government?
And if the real debate is about Pakistan, do you need to keep troops in Afghanistan to maintain pressure on Pakistan?
I know there are no simple answers to all this but would be interested in your views.
Myra

Great questions Myra. You’re right there are no easy answers. All I’ll say is that I’ve seen growing support for a much harder stance against Pakistan with every official I meet. They usually come in to talk to me believing that Pakistan needs to be flattened and come away with at least some understanding of the complexity of the situation. That being said, that does not remove the view that Pakistan is far from an honest broker when it comes to Afghanistan.

Do you need troops in Afghanistan to keep the pressure on Pakistan? I’d say you do. The Pakistani argument for a long time has been that the West will eventually abandon Afghanistan and they’ll be stuck with the mess. The only counter than I can see to that is to offer to keep troops in there as long as it takes. If NATO/US were to pack up and leave tomorrow, how certain can we be that Pakistan would secure Afghanistan or at least guide it down the road of stabilization. Most officials would simply laugh at that kind of a suggestion. A country that does not appear willing to secure its own territory is hardly one that can be counted on to help stabilize another. At least with NATO/US there, the Pakistanis are compelled to pay attention to their own problem areas like the FATA and NWFP. How much attention does anyone really think they’d place on these areas is there wasn’t heavy American pressure and western loses occurring across the border.

As for coercion…. It’s starting. Look at the rapprochement with the Russians. Obama and NATO are crafting an alternative to the supply lines through Pakistan. Building an alternative does two things. It removes the hedge and exclusivity the Pakistanis have on NATO. And it threatens the livelihood of Pashtuns and Balochis who operate the trucking lines into Afghanistan, creating splits between them and those who support the insurgency in Afghanistan. That’s just one example. You are also starting to see splits between the Americans and the Pakistanis on air strikes. I would not be too surprised to see some unilateral strikes in the months ahead, especially if the CIA thinks there are some real high-profile targets that are worth the relationship risks with Pakistan. And it’s not just drones. I would not rule out strikes in urban areas using black suits. Then there’s the increasing US willingness to use economic aid as leverage. Those IMF conditions from last year for example. They were extremely stringent and could not have happened that way without US acquiesence. Add all that too minor policies like making visas more restrictive for Pakistanis, enforcing more restrictions on Pakistani business, etc. all those tiny annoyances and indignities that countries in good standing don’t usually suffer.

Unfortunately, all this means that the relationship between Pakistan and the West (not just the US) is in for a very rough ride in the years ahead. Yet there is nothing that Pakistan can do to change the perceptions of the West except take action that is perceived to be in the Western interests (solve terrorism at home, clamp down on Afghan insurgents, cut off groups that kill westerners and attack western economic interests in India). If it can’t do that, then whatever happens in Afghanistan, it will be Pakistan that pays the price for it. I would think that this understanding should be enough to coerce Pakistan to change its ways. If it isn’t…then unfortunately they aren’t the only ones in for a rough ride.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Pak Blogger:

“My opinion on above questions.
-The west can persuade Pakistan by advocating a just solution to Kashmir dispute. Solve Kashmir, get Indians off our backs. With an India many times larger than us and ever ready to threaten and undermine Pakistan, we need all we can get to defend ourselves from India. Call it paranoia or whatever, but Pakistan’s threat perceptions are different (I call it 1971 East Pakistan syndrome). The west feels threatened by alleged terror groups or havens in Pakistan, whereas for Pakistan, India is a significant threat. When Obama administration preaches Pakistan that India is no more a threat, that is equivalent of coercion. In other words let India cease to exist as a threat to Pakistan (not cease to exist as a nation) only then will millitant groups see the back of Pakistan.”

–>Wrong answer. Pakistan wants to use this fight against Militantism and AQ and needs to turn this tough cornering situation and reface it with another problem, and redirect it away to another country, altogether. What you Pakistani’s are saying is that you will not fully co-operate on the war on terror and in fact, work to undermine it, using proxy armies, if you do not get Kashmir. The only solution on Kashmir, is quit thinking it is yours, it belongs to India, all of it, including the one on your side, what do you think about that.

Double speaking and slithering is a norm when dealing with Pakistani’s the Kashmir issue, will in no way be linked with Kashmir or AQ. Nice try. But the world and the U.S. is onto Pakistan. You have no moral basis to bait and switch the U.S. onto an entire different issue. Try if you wish, it will backfire, the Afghan mission, if it falters, the umbrella of fighting terrorism will extend to include Kashmiri militants. That will put the Kashmir issue to the grave.

India is not the biggest threat to Pakistan. The biggest threat to Pakistan is the Pakistani Army, your ISI and homegrown Jihadi’s. You Pakistani’s have to quit blaming everybody else for your problems and just try to be better, more responsible human beings.

They genocided 3 million bengalis, that prompted the Indian Army to lunge forward with a humanitarian effort that led to the Bengali’s wanting Independence. Did you hear what I said? The bengali’s did not want to stay with West Pakistan, they did not want to be a part of your oppressive Union neither through force nor co-ercion, get that through your skull. Bengalis to this day, are happy that India stepped in and enabled Independence and stopped the Genocide.

Check your history. Pak. Army has attacked India every time and thus weakened and embarassed Pakistan everytime. Your generals historically were never great strategists, never good planners, had no brains, no game plan, other than that, they were good soldiers.

The Pakistani establishment is trying to slither out and relabel this entire AF_Pak as a Kashmir issue. The only two commonalities are that Pak Army and ISI are fueling terrorism in both of those regions.

Afghans also welcome friendship from India, which is not based on a nefarious or military basis of any kind.

You Pakistani’s must quit being so paranoid and afraid, just because India is good at a lot of things, that does not mean that you should counter it with terrorism, why don’t you try to emulate us and use your academic human skills for improving things for once?

Let me repeat, India is not a military threat of any kind to Pakistani statehood. The U.S. knows that and acknowledges that. All U.S. intelligence think tanks know that India is no military threat of any kind to Pakistan, unless Pakistan starts a war on India, first.

India has no plan to pre-emptively invade another country. Kashmir is only a political tool to drive the Pakistani hate factory and use that as diversionary tool, to deal with all internal and external problems.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive
 

Yahoo questions, a blogger wrote:

“In 1819, 30,000 soldiers of Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore attacked and annexed Kashmir as a part of Ranjit Singh’s empire. In 1846, the British rulers sold Kashmir to Maharaja Gulab Singh by the Treaty of Amritsar. The Maharaja declared himself as the King of Jammu and Kashmir. Following the partition of India and Pakistan, Pakistani tribal Pashtuns attacked and annexed some portions of Kashmir.To save kashmir its king asked the help of India and an instrument of accession was signed between the Maharaja and the Indian Union.”

–>Any intelligent person here, will realize that ALL of Kashmir is a part of India, from its history, and in every legal way possible. We Indians have no dispute over Kashmir, we know it belongs to India and Kashmiri’s are a part of India. We have chosen not to goto war over Pakistan’s Kashmir, which also belongs to India. It is therefore logical to keep the status quo and put this issue to rest and realize that the line of control is the defacto border.

Kashmir has NOTHING to do with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Those are entirely two different issues. The U.S. has no interest, nor any place to want to touch the Kashmir issue with the Indians, because the Americans already know that in every way possible, Kashmir is a part of India.

Pakistan has nothing redeeming to offer Kashmiri’s only more genocide and more plundering of the region to line the pockets of Islamabad. An ignorant and militant population has been created in Pakistan to keep public opinion one-sided there to divert attention away from the actual criminals in office there.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive
 

Myra, Umair, Keith, GW and all:

@The west can persuade Pakistan by advocating a just solution to Kashmir dispute. Solve Kashmir, get Indians off our backs. With an India many times larger than us and ever ready to threaten and undermine Pakistan, we need all we can get to defend ourselves from India. Call it paranoia or whatever, but Pakistan’s threat perceptions are different (I call it 1971 East Pakistan syndrome).
-posted by Umair

I said this in my last post also and I repeat here and add it a bit “The favorite excuse of Pakistan’s reluctance in helping the West is the Indian factor. Pakistan expects India to fix the Kashmir deal/pack up its Army from Indo-Pak border and abandon the pro-Afghan development projects in Afghanistan, before Pak becomes an ally in true sense.
First of all, waiting for K-deal to happen and then Pakistan getting into the game is like waiting for a long time (???) and each day costs lives and $$$$$ to everyone. Hypothetically speaking, let us say India entertains Pakistan’s childish request, how long will it take for the K-solution to emerge (1-2 yr ???). Can the West wait this long and what will India get from 1) Pakistan 2) West?
Guys, as much as all of us love solutions and peace and expect the West and the only non-NATO US ally Pak defeat terrorism in Af-Pak, the chance for India entertaining this request is ZERO—I see no motivation for India here—simply because Pak blatantly loves and parties with lunatics from LeTs and JeMs and is praying for Mullah Omar/Taliban as the ruler of Afgh.
Pakistan has no resources and worse no intentions to help the development of Afgh and still worse opposes Indian involvement in the development of Afghnistan. I am sure the West and India agree on this and if YES we both disagree with Pakistan.
If K-deal and Afgh-approved Indian involvement in Afgh is the basis for reluctance of Pakistan in helping the West, then Pakistan has really run out of excuses and is directly saying that it wants to put Taliban back in power to take care off India—-why would the West do it.
Myra, what do you say. Your insight will be highly appreciated.
_________________________________
@ In the words of Benazir Bhutto, democracy is the best revenge.
- Posted by GW
GW: But note that her words are limited to Pakistan since under her democratic govt, Afghanistan was given the gift of Taliban. Yes sure she made a U-turn when out of power and criticized them.
She smuggled CDs containing uranium enrichment data to North Korea on a state visit in return for data on missile technology.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

“All parts of India where Muslims are a majority must be freed”, he said.

“One highly placed Lashkar militant said the Mumbai attackers were part of groups trained by former Pakistani military and intelligence officials at Lashkar camps. Others had direct knowledge that retired army and ISI officials trained Lashkar recruits as late as last year”

“Some people of the ISI knew about the plan and closed their eyes,” said one senior Lashkar operative in Karachi

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/30/world/ asia/30mumbai.html?ref=world

Posted by Ramin | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev,

One thing I am fairly clear on, is that when you talk to Indians they are convinced that India does not pose a threat to Pakistan; when you talk to Pakistanis, they are convinced that India does pose a threat.

This threat perception has if anything worsened since Mumbai, since there is a belief in Pakistan that if there is another big Mumbai-style attack, India will strike back.

If you follow the Indian media, particularly the television media, you get the impression that India is in a particularly belligerent mood right now. Because I know India, I try (as best I can from a distance) to take the electorate as my starting point and work up from there, since the government will always be sensitive to the electorate. And as we have discussed before on this blog, I see some discrepancies between “public opinion” as portrayed by the media and what people appear to be thinking on the ground. (if I could read the local language newspapers, I’d probably be able to make this case much better). But if you are a Pakistani who has never been to India, your perception of “the Indian threat” is likely to be informed by the media, no? And do remember all that stuff – TV and print – is available everywhere these days. So it’s fairly safe to say there is a big perception gap.

On Kashmir, there’s a basic roadmap on the table for an agreement on this reached through back-channel diplomacy. Pakistan has signalled a willingness to return to back-channel diplomacy by naming its man to hold the talks:

http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-Afgha nistan-Pakistan/idUSTRE58O4C220090925?sp =true

Those who I have spoken to about that backchannel deal say there was a long way to go to reach an agreement, so I wouldn’t suggest it can be done overnight. One thing that does puzzle me though, is that the roadmap incorporated something that India has been wanting for years; that there be no exchange of territory in J&K. As I have written in some of my stories, there was a big question mark over whether the civilian government in Pakistan would be ready to back an agreement put together by Musharraf. With Pakistan now signalling that it is willing to pick up where Musharraf’s envoy Tariq Aziz left off, does it serve India’s interest to snub it?

This is not to suggest that a deal on Kashmir could magically solve Afghanistan overnight. But among the questions people are asking: Can you stabilise Afghanistan without stabilising Pakistan? And can you stabilise Pakistan without a settlement with India?

Keith,

On your point about the men in black suits, even if this option were adopted, would anyone know where to look without help from Pakistan?

Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

“If you follow the Indian media, particularly the television media, you get the impression that India is in a particularly belligerent mood right now” – Posted by Myra MacDonald

Myra, you make it sound as if the bitterness of Indians towards Pakistan is somewhat unjustified. You don’t seem to take into account the fact that countless Indian civilians have been the target of terror attacks orchestrated by the Pakistani establishment over the years. Being a non-Indian westerner, it might sound as similar rhetoric to you but do you realize that just between 2006 & last November there have been multiple Pakistan-sponsored terror attacks in every major Indian city (Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Jaipur, Lucknow etc)? Do you expect the Indian public to just ignore the non-stop terror onslaught from the Pakistani establishment?
What has changed since the Mumbai attacks is that Indians finally said in one voice “We’ve had enough”. You wanna know the mood of the Indian electorate, that’s exactly what it is. Maybe not in villages & smaller towns but in all major cities, security is a major priority. You can say that the Mumbai attack was the event that finally broke the Indian camel’s back.
Hypothetically speaking, if you are a British citizen, how would you feel about bombs going off in London, Manchester or Liverpool on a regular basis & how would you feel about the french, knowing that they are the one’s responsible for it?

“Indians they are convinced that India does not pose a threat to Pakistan; when you talk to Pakistanis, they are convinced that India does pose a threat”

Forget about talks & perceptions & let’s talk about actions. It’s been acknowledged by many Pakistani intellectuals as well as politicians and even Retired military officers that India has never attacked Pakistan. Even Zardari has acknowledged that India never was & nor is a threat to Pakistan. In spite of this, if Pakistanis wanna be paranoid about India, what do you expect India do about it? Who do you think is in a belligerent mood, India or Pakistan?

“With Pakistan now signalling that it is willing to pick up where Musharraf’s envoy Tariq Aziz left off, does it serve India’s interest to snub it?”

Myra, you make it sound as if India has never tried to resolve outstanding issues with Pakistan, in spite of overtures from Pakistan. India has tried to embrace Pakistan with open arms on numerous occasions, only to be back-stabbed time & again. Before the Mumbai attacks, Pakistani diplomats visited India regularly, Pakistani artists performed in Indian shows, Pakistani cricketers played in Indian leagues & Pakistani actors acted in Indian movies. Indians had opened their hearts & wallets for Pakistanis but as I said, the mumbai attacks left a deep wound in the heart of Indians & Pakistan’s credibility was badly damaged. How are Indian’s supposed to feel about Pakistan when they read that people like Hafiz Saeed, Dawood Ibrahim & Azhar Mahmood, the men who planned & orchestrated the murder of thousand’s of Indian civilians are being whined & dined by the Pak army?

Now, Indians want to see some action taken by Pakistan before they can trust it again. It’s that simple. You may see it as a snub, if you choose to!

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

Myra,
I’m afraid you like to think you are neutral, but to Indians you come across as a passionate, rigid advocate of pakistani position! (No offense!)

No matter how many months we interact with you, you simply reiterate the pakistani story line. I would prefer to call it pakistani lie , but for the sake of having a civil conversation I’m calling it a story line.

And the story line you are not budging from is this…. That kashmir is the root cause of problems between India and Pakistan. Read your post to Rajeev again, you are stuck with this position.

Some kashmiri muslims not wanting to be part of India IS Kashmir problem. Muslim Punjabis living in their own land waging wars, terrorist attacks on unarmed civilians in Mumbai and Delhi is NOT “kashmir problem”…..BUT manifestations of pakistan problem!! when their country is falling apart in every way, muslim punjabis parroting about Kashmir is pakistan problem, NOT Kashmir problem.

If you wish and allow I can elaborate more on what is “pakistan problem”.

You talk about back channel diplomacy willl lead to solution that India wanted. Then why are Indian leaders and bureacrats are not keen? So what are you saying? India’s democratic governement, and leaders don’t want peace and are pursuing militarism? We know otherwise.

The truth of the matter is once again I repeat you are a passionate advocate of pakistani position and have utter disregard for Indian concerns. This lack of understanding on your part could explain why you seem to be perplexed by Indians not moving with “back channel diplomacy”.

I want to see if you will post this since you didn’t post my earlier post yesterday.

Regards,

 

Kashmir has nothing to do with what is going on in Afghanistan. The whole problem erupted due to cold war where the Soviet union entered Afghanistan and fell victim to the trap laid. Then the US went busy with the new world order, Kuwait liberation and Yugoslavia. There was no time to look at Afghanistan and it lost its strategic value. And Pakistan took full advantage of the situation with the evil plan of bleeding India to death. In 1989 it sent all the war hardened Mujahideen fighters into Kashmir and the place has never been the same. The strategy was exactly what was done to the Soviet Union. Stage a rebellion, fight a low intensity war with trained militants and bleed the enemy. Soviet Union fell because the country bleeding them was the US. Well Pakistan is no US and India is no Soviet Union. So trying to ape a global conflict for its regional ambitions, Pakistan got twisted in the bargain. It got intoxicated with Islamic fundamentalism that was flaming the neighborhood. Unfortunately the flames reached too far and now a new war has emerged from it. Pakistan is trapped by its own flames and it is trying hard to drag India into it, now that it could not succeed in bleeding India to its death. Kashmir is only an excuse. They will never stop with Kashmir. They’ll keep slipping out of every grip by promising on one side and breaking them on the other side. It is the art of their survival. They have done it all these years and money is poured on from outside all the time. What fuels them is anti-Indian passion. Indians in general do not worry much about Pakistan. There are enough goals to accomplish and enough issues to tackle. But Pakistan seems to have only one issue – get at India. They are willing to stab themselves in order to destroy India. They have spent all these years doing nothing else and it shows. If they realize this, then there is hope for them. Otherwise, Kashmir will not resolve their situation. India will do whatever suits its interests and it is not going to be favorable to Pakistani interests. Pakistan has no choice but to destroy its terror machinery. Otherwise they will fail. And the Americans will not show any remorse for their actions. Pakistan is drowning and they are desperately trying to grab India’s feet instead of saving themselves.

 

Myra,

You said, “With Pakistan now signalling that it is willing to pick up where Musharraf’s envoy Tariq Aziz left off, does it serve India’s interest to snub it?”

- There is no question of snubbing Pakistan. Let Pakistan prove its sincerity by taking steps in 26/11 investigations. As Manmohan Singh admitted, India will meet more than the half way if Pakistan takes tangible steps against terrorism.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive
 

If anyone is interested in the details of how perceptions differ in Pakistan and India, do look at the APP and PTI reports on the same briefing by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley:

The APP version stresses his call for dialogue between India and Pakistan & his comments about the linkages between India, Pakistan and Afghanistan:

http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?opti on=com_content&task=view&id=86888&Itemid =2

The PTI version emphasises his call for Pakistan to take action on Mumbai:

http://www.ptinews.com/news/308286_US-en courages-Pak-to-investigate-Mumbai-attac ks

And here, for good measure, is the link to the State Dept’s own transcript:

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2009/s ept/130095.htm

Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

I have some hope of President Obama’s policies and for once a US President admitting that the Afghan war is a triangle. Please can The US stop trying to govern the world let alone Britain following as if we were glued to to US for any decisions especially with regards to war.This is an other Vietnam, when soldiers and innocent people die everyday. Firstly going to Afghanistan ‘invation’ was to ‘kill’ the poppy field, yet again a lie. Words from many politicians ‘we cannot leave until ‘the job is done’. The problem is nor the US or the UK studied the complexity of these 2 countries with their various religions, are they all delusional in thinking that they can win this war. Unless they engaged with the people instead of killing them there is no hope of any positive results. Unless around the world we engage a talk and programme with the Muslim people, in engaging with the Mosques not engaged in the teaching of terrosim, we need their help instead of not facing one of the real problem. After all the infiltration of terrosism has become a war against the West where we have blinded ourselves and now we are facing at times a hatred of Muslim people against us. Obviously I am against all form of terrosism, but sending our missiles and firing at them is not going to resolve the problem. In Afghistan we are on a no winning solution, the Taliban know their country and can hide and move without unfortunately the lack of knowledge our milatary is aware of. Such a shame for an other war of disasters yet again when so many people, children are killed every day, have no longer houses to live in. Like Iraq promising to offer the people of this country a democracy and a restructure of their country, they yet again made promises they cannot provide, simply because Bush Jumior was totally unable to go to war with a proper plan for the people of this country. Somehow they have now left with a total mess behind and so many Iraqui
who were led to believe for a better life. An other failure! How many more do we need? Simply get out, please do not tell us that we need to stay for an other 4 years this will not change anything excep for living Paksitan and Afghanistan in an even more turmoil than they are in or else at least try to understand how these countries and people work within their own contries.
Let’s not be delusional we will not win this war we only goint to carry on killing people – ours and theirs.
I am afraid I find this world rather malignant and cannot see any improvement in Civil Rights and Human Rights.
JUST LET IT GO AND TRY TO REGAIN A SENSE OF UNITY BETWEEN ISLAM AND THE WEST.
AN FINALLY MAYBE THE INTELLIGENCE OF MANY OF THE WEST COULD DO A BETTER JOB INSTEAD OF STARTING BLOODY WARS AROUND THE WAR.
Also by the way, nothing really happens to ‘save’ Africa, why? After all they are only people and most of their countries have little to offer such as oil or anything else.
We can only reflect to the US various ‘Coup’ in South America, fear of communism was then the point or shall I say total obsession about communism from the US.
I find it all very sad, have we learned amything about history. A wise man Krishnamurti had so many wise and itelligent views in his talks and his books, maybe some of these could be sent to some of our World Leaders, the question is about some of them, would they really understand!!!!!!!! Catherine

 

“And the story line you are not budging from is this…. That kashmir is the root cause of problems between India and Pakistan. Read your post to Rajeev again, you are stuck with this position.”

–>Myra, the root cause is not Kashmir, Kashmir is just another lightening rod for the Pak Army to garner Political support and militant support to ascede land from India. You are a westerner and don’t understand some Eastern Creeds very well, their mentality. I would thought you would have realized by now that some creeds always blame their problems on other people and start conflicts, based on fictitiously fueled grievances, for the sole purpose of expanding their creed. The Pak Army does not care damn, humanity or otherwise for the Kashmiri’s. This is only about land and satisfying one’s ego.

If it was not Kashmir, the Pak Army would have been fueling separatism in Gujarat, with absolute 1000% certainty and trying to separate that from India. You are an extremely educated, sophisticated and intelligent and I ask you to please just take a step back and don’t be so pulled into the Kashmir propaganda. (Please don’t take offense). But you are favouring the Kashmir discussion to scapegoat all of Pakistan’s problems and its dabbling with Taliban and Proxy armies in Afghanistan, a completely separate issue. In the future, please do not link the two together, they are not, they are only linked by the fact that the Pak Army and ISI are causing militant activity for their own means, in both regions.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive
 

US wants to missile attack Taliban Targets.

Myra, Aslam Raisani, chief minister of a Pak province says:

“Any type of American attack will have serious implications. I hope America will not make this mistake — such attacks would harm the American interests in the area and there may be a public reaction against any such attack.”

–>Loosely translated, this means, if you destroy our proxy Taliban assets in Pakistan, we will make sure that the Afghan mission fails and make sure that public opinion turns against you (the U.S.).

The Taliban in Afghanistan are killing U.S. and NATO soldiers, therefore a mission objective is to wipe out the Taliban. Pakistan just got an AID package cleared by the U.S. Congress today, and while it claims to be an ally of the U.S. At the same time, it is vehemently protesting any military action on the Taliban, those who are butchering U.S. lives in Afghanistan. How can Pakistan consider itself an ally, while enabling the Taliban leadership in Quetta to butcher U.S. soldier’s?

At the same time, Pakistan is trying to link Kashmir to their willingness to co-operate on the war on terror, is it just me, or is it blackmail and Pakistan just showed its cards and lost all moral ground?

Posted by GW | Report as abusive
 

Myra,
We all know perceptions differ amongst us.

But can you respond to the question posted by Mortal:

–>Hypothetically speaking, if you are a British citizen, how would you feel about bombs going off in London, Manchester or Liverpool on a regular basis & how would you feel about the french, knowing that they are the one’s responsible for it?

———————————————-
I have seen Myra write about the “freedom struggle” “aspirations” of Muslims in Kashmir, I’ve seen you write about Afghan war, terrorist organizations based in (p) Punjab, how the Indo-Pak troubles affect your (West’s) security, etc, etc…

I have never seen you write one thing. I am looking forward to see you write a column titled “Will Pakistan army and ISI abandon terrorism as a negotiating tool?” Or at least you can start by at least recognizing Indian views in the comments section if writing such a piece would be too much to ask for!

When Umair says, to avoid Afghan quagmire US should negotiate with punjabi army& ISI, that’s exactly what he means– i.e using terrorism as a negotiating tool to achieve fantasies/ strategic goals, i.e.using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

Here is an Indian proposal:

1)punajabi army/ ISI stop terrorism in all Indian territories including the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir for 3 full calendar years

2)punajabi army/ ISI allow the perpetrators of Mumbai massacre to be brought to justice

3)punajabi army/ ISI close all anti-India terrorist training camps.

After the above, India can decide if it is worthwhile to start “composite dialogue”. You don’t discuss something when the opposing party is thrusting a gun on your body under the table!

 

Guys:
Easy on Myra :-) Let us shoot the message, not the messenger.

Since very few Pakistanis write on Reuters, Pakistan POV is a reflection of personal opinion of few individuals. So it is better if Myra for the sake of discussion takes Pakistani side. It hardly matters if she is pro-Pakistan or pro-India. It will be helpful if Myra would like to carry the discussion forward by responding to reasonable Indian responses or their counter-questions.

Myra:
@One thing I am fairly clear on, is that when you talk to Indians they are convinced that India does not pose a threat to Pakistan; when you talk to Pakistanis, they are convinced that India does pose a threat.”
-Agreed.

@This threat perception has if anything worsened since Mumbai.
- “threat perception…. worsened since Mumbai” means Pakistan already had threat perception. Why did they have threat perceptions before Mumbai? Indians and Pakistani perceptions are based on the available facts. It is well researched by scholars and written a lot by columnists recently that the Pakistani that common Pakistanis have been taught distorted facts at young age. Remember an extensive pdf report by 2 Pakistani scholars who said that careful deletions and distortions of historical facts were introduced in Pakistani school text books. These books teach Pakistanis students that India is an evil neighbor, with ridiculous Hindu religion, that has evil designs of consuming Pakistan.

India has been shown as a nation that always attacked Pakistan and Pakistan defended itself. Recently Pakistan’s 2 ex-airchief’s (one of them airchief in 1965 war) and a general blamed Pakistan Army for attacking India each time and keeping even their PAF in dark. So what Pakistanis know is a big LIE that India invaded Pakistan in 1965 taking advantage of the darkness of the night and Pakistan responded, defeating India since 1 Pakistani soldier was equal to 10 Indian soldiers. I still see Pakistanis agreeing with that despite the internet availability of the same news that India and Pakistanis have (as you said). They do not make use of the updated corrected history and tell themselves that India did not attack Pakistan and in fact India has defended. This is what makes their threat perceptions about India. Pakistani establishment is the prisoner of its own lies and feeds lies to common people which have such threat perceptions. Do you agree with me on that? I know you might bring Siachen vs kargil.

Pakistanis complain about India creating Bangladesh in 1971 but they fail to see that India had no plan about Bangladesh until their elections. It is not a secret now that Bangladesh was the result of the genocide of 1-2 millions of their fellow country people by Pakistani Army. Rather than giving hell to their leaders and generals for their stupidities they see India as threat.
The threat perception of Pakistanis will change if they know that the GHQ ordered the destruction of the 1965 war diaries, and all the Foreign Office record pertaining to the East Pakistan crisis (1970-71) was also destroyed?

Indians despite the wars that Pakistan imposed on India and the terrorism they supported in Punjab and are doing in Kashmir (besides ISI involvement in NE India) have been open to Pakistanis if you look at the warming up of relations at many levels before 26/11. Others have already commented here on that.

@there is a belief in Pakistan that if there is another big Mumbai-style attack, India will strike back.
It is good they believe so and I wish they push the Pak govt to chill and pack up the terrorists and go to the table with India. It cannot be both at the table talking peace with India while terrorists running on the loose all over India. It goes without saying that Indian govt (like any other govt anywhere else) is duty bound to defend the nation in a most appropriate way. That is for govt to decide how it responds to next terrorist attack (hope it does not happen). But India has done the needful of showing the restraint after 26/11 and parliament. This is as good as it gets in such high profile Fidayeen attacks like in Mumbai. India also has used the international diplomatic channels. Ask yourself this question: What has been Pakistan’s response and attitude in nearly one year. Do keep aside the Af-Pak issue (India does not care). So what more is left for India to do the next time attack happens; any ideas? Don’t you think Pakistan is pushing India into war?
@ Belligerent Indian media–TV and other media.

–Everyone is angry. This is not some Media or internet blog thing. It is down to the roots at people level. You may find discrepancy but the people I talk to is like saying Pakistan is incorrigible; they won’t change their ways. You might be thinking about Mumbai alone. To me and to people, that is just a dot on the graph, but yes a big one. There is a history of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and 26/11 has further tipped the balance towards aggressive measures either from Pakistan against terrorists or from India against the terrorists in pakistan. None of Indian TV channel or media person is dedicated to Pakistan unlike in Pakistan people like Zaid Hamid (Brasstacks) who constantly feed its population hate against India/US/Israel. He is always in an “ON” mode. He talks about Pakistan rule over India and Pakistan flag over Red fort; Mugha l glory and all that. They are not just being defensive; they run anti-India propaganda all the time through various media. Indian Have you missed Pakistani media? Who is more belligerent here?

Before 26/11, media was not “belligerent” and many common Indians have never been to such blogs, did not know of Zaid hamid types, never even thought of Pakistan other than cricket or during terrorist strike like at Parliament, bomb blasts in the major Indian cities. 26/11 changed all that—that is an important day and this attack was of serious threshold value.

@ since the government will always be sensitive to the electorate. And as we have discussed before on this blog, I see some discrepancies between “public opinion” as portrayed by the media and what people appear to be thinking on the ground.
– I do not know how scientific is the discrepancy you mentioned? There is no way to really know that. Govt cannot turn to electorate for each single decision. Electorate has done its job of chosing Congress govt with a fresh memory of 26/11 attack. So it is over to the govt, Just a noisy belligerent media cannot push India into attacking Pakistan. But the progress on Pakistan’s behalf will also decide how India responds—Pakistan’s sincerity shown through actions against high profile terrorists will alter India’s response. India might then view the next attacks as retaliatory by the terrorists after let us say Saeed Hafliz or Azhar is hanged by Pakistan.

I think the Western media think bit differently. For India LeT Saeed and JeM chief Azhar etc carry even more value than OBL, Zawahiri and Mullah Omar carry for the West. These guys are next door unlike OBL et al for the West.

@The back chanel talks. With Pakistan now signalling that it is willing to pick up where Musharraf’s envoy Tariq Aziz left off, does it serve India’s interest to snub it?
—Ex-PM Vajpayee started this channel and PM Singh continued with the process until Musharaf got into his own political mess. Vajpayee was admirably doing it in the background of parliament attack and kargil war by Pakistan or its terrorists. Then Why not now? Despite the seriousness of terrorist attacks in past few years and now 26/11—-solid evidence and a Pakistani Fidayeen caught alive in Indian jail—One year gone and Pakistanis socialize with Hafiz Saeed and have no case against the chief whose tools attacked India. This is disturbing enough for India to not have it one way. It is unclear what Pakistan will do with the terrorists. Pakistan has failed to convince India on its concern of terrorism from Pakistan soil. If they are non-state actors, Pakistan will not be able to control them anyway. They need to come clean where they stand.

Myra: Does it not strike you that Pakistan does not want to get rid off terrorism and creates atmosphere where Indai-Pak talks cannot be held. Reason is they know India does not and will not attack—it never did. This is BS served by PA to people and even Pakistani experts know that, if you dig deeper. Kashmir binds Pakistani, gives survival advantage to military for controlling civilian govt since they run terrorist organizations, which gives them control over civilian govt and gets Pakistan money from the West. This is an industry. Is there still a doubt—these terrorists chiefs are Pakistani state guests but still the terrorists are called non-state actors. JeM chief Azhar released from India jail in plane hijacking is an established killer and is given kid-friendly facility in S.Punjab.

@ This is not to suggest that a deal on Kashmir could magically solve Afghanistan overnight. But among the questions people are asking: Can you stabilise Afghanistan without stabilising Pakistan? And can you stabilise Pakistan without a settlement with India?
– So that means you are waiting to stabilize Pakistan and India-Pak relations for fixing Afgh. That’s good for media discussion but at ground when each days costing lives and $$$$, I do not think the generals are waiting to fix Pakistan and India-Pak relations for Pakistan;s help in WOT. Pakistan is really making the Western media who asks such questions dance on its tune. Myra, let us say K-deal is done, but the terrorists issue is not solved and they strike in India; then Pakistan still faces the same threat from Indian attack. So-K-deal is an excuse and completely relevant for getting Pakistan’s participation in Afgh.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

“Before 26/11, media was not “belligerent” and many common Indians have never been to such blogs. 26/11 changed all that—that is an important day and this attack was of serious threshold value” – Posted by rajeev

That is so true & I’m an example of such an Indian/Person of Indian origin. Before last year’s Mumbai attacks, I had never taken the time to visit the website of a Pakistani newspaper, watch a Pakistan related video, comment on a Pakistan-specific blog or interact with a Pakistani, online. I feel that in just a few months following the Mumbai attacks, I learned more about Pakistan & Pakistanis, than I had done during my entire life prior to that. I’m sure that event certainly had threshold value for many others, as it did for me.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

Good News!

India and Pakistan agree to work together in Pakistan.

Krishna said that he was pleasantly surprised by Pakistan’s suggestion, and has expressed India’s willingness to work together for rebuilding Afghanistan.

Is ISI on board?

http://www.sindhtoday.net/news/1/56225.h tm

Posted by Ramin | Report as abusive
 

@Rajeev: “Have you missed Pakistani media? Who is more belligerent here?”

I think Myra has overlooked a big chunk of the Pakistani media because by & large, the real hard-core Pakistani media communicates in Urdu & not english whereas in India, english is the primary language of communication across the board. The english faction of the Pakistani media i.e. Dawn, Daily times etc represent the liberal/moderate minority of Pakistan. The western media is oblivious to the Zaid Hamid type nut jobs that you mention because those guys, by and large, only communicate in Urdu.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

“his is not to suggest that a deal on Kashmir could magically solve Afghanistan overnight. But among the questions people are asking: Can you stabilise Afghanistan without stabilising Pakistan? And can you stabilise Pakistan without a settlement with India?” Myra

For those who have tried and continue to push Kashmir into every problem besetting Pakistan and now even Afghanistan, would someone please enlighten me on some facts.

India Pakistan is a 60 year old problem area, Afghanistan just a few years. How come Pakistan suddenly showed instability only a few years ago even though it has a 60 year old problem with India? So isn’t this the old ‘link everything to Kashmir’ Pakistan card it has always played and its supporters have dutifully sympathised. Pakistan destabilised because it reared a monster which is now devouring it.

“With Pakistan now signalling that it is willing to pick up where Musharraf’s envoy Tariq Aziz left off, does it serve India’s interest to snub it?”

Myra, India has stated time and again, which so many pretend not to hear….start action against terorism emanating from Pakistani soil and we will walk the extra mile. For discussions sake, suppose India gives up even this stand, what in return will Pakistan bring to the table?

As for Pakistanis seeing an India threat. Will someone please tell me how many lives have been lost due to murderers and thugs trained in Pakistan attacking India and how many have the Pakistanis lost to Indian hoodlums?

Finally is India alone responsible for solving the Kashmir problem or is it Pakistan’s responsibilty too?

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive
 

What was the man doing as he cycled near the aeroplane? Who’s the guy looking at Obama with contempt as Karzai wears a worn out look probably bored by Obama speech? The soldier is doing something which is like making indian hand made chewing tobacco. Do these picture really convey the real story that everyone in world is now fed up with AfPak, one of sources of perennial misery in world? When did talk resolve perennial misery of world also needs to be ascertained? I did some googling, but nothing came up. This problem and problems for Israel exist due to secularism practiced by westerners. If both problems can go away by talking then UN should construct a new auditorium with retiring room for talkers so that they leave with agreements in hands. Till that time, they should debate it out continuously in presence of learned judge, United States of America + Great Britain.

Posted by Rohit | Report as abusive
 

world knows pakistan is major root cause of terror. world is allowing pakistan to bully others and legitimize its militant activities. if you don’t tell pakistan with a some tough words they will keep being themselves. juggling one terror after another. blaming india and stuff. it is not india needs to talk peace but pakistan need to lay down their illegal activities. now that they declared india’s nuclear test was a blow up. what non proliferation they are talking about ? india doesnt have any dangerous nuclear weapons. we had some dummies until our scientist exposed it.

Posted by vivek | Report as abusive
 

myra, when are you giving northern ireland to the irish ? how does this question sound to you ?

Posted by vivek | Report as abusive
 

Mortal:

The article in Dawn “On screen, out of touch” by Nadeem F. Paracha tells the story of popular media of Pakistan.

http://nadeemfparacha.wordpress.com/2009  /06/18/on-screen-out-of-touch/

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Lots of questions, but here as some brief answers:

1)How would I respond if militant groups in France were attacking Britain?

There are many answers to that question but the obvious one would be to say: Can you invade France? If the answer is ‘no’, you would then need to take a very cold dispassionate look at what it would take to persuade the majority of French people, and French institutions, to turn against those militant groups.

2) Why has Kashmir become such a big issue now?

Kashmir is a historical problem; the more recent rivalry has been over Afghanistan, especially since the Soviet invasion, with blowback into Kashmir:

Steve Coll makes the point about Afghanistan here:

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db90 0SID/SNAA-7WF7DC?OpenDocument

3) Is India alone responsible for solving the Kashmir problem or is it Pakistan’s responsibilty too?

One would assume that both countries are responsible, and that is the whole point of negotiations

4)Where is the discrepancy on the media coverage?

Over the outrage at the Sharm statement. Ask people outside of Delhi and they will often say they don’t care – that doesn’t mean they trust Pakistan – but they are far more concerned about the economy and don’t really care if the prime minister decides to talk to Pakistan or not.

5) When are you giving Northern Ireland to the Irish? Well if the people of Northern Ireland wanted to be part of Ireland and voted in a referendum to do so, I’d be quite happy – but that’s a misleading analogy as I’m sure many people who comment on this blog would argue

6) On different perceptions of history.

This is a subject for a whole different post but every country has a different view of history.

Many people in India think Britain deliberately divided the subcontinent to permanently weaken India; in Pakistan they think Britain deprived it of Kashmir to permanently weaken Pakistan & that Mountbatten favoured Nehru over Jinnah for personal reasons; in Britain people think it left India because it was crippled and bankrupted by World War Two.

You can argue about this at length – and many do – both about the history of partition as well as what happened before and after. But I’m not convinced there is room to reach a common view of history without a peaceful settlement that would allow so much people-to-people contact that everyone would start revising their views. But you can’t get a peaceful settlement with such different views of history, which creates a Catch 22.

7) Is it not good that Pakistan’s threat perception may have increased post-Mumbai?

Don’t know. You can equally argue that it would make Pakistan even more reluctant to turn against militant groups if it believed it might need to use them as a first line of defence against India. So it’s another Catch 22. I made this point here:

http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-Afgha nistan-Pakistan/idUSTRE55K0TO20090621?sp =true

8) India has a different threat perception than the west about the Punjab-based militant groups.

Are you sure? Why assume this?

Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

Crossing the Lines: Kashmir, Pakistan, India
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LLnuglrW 34

Pay attention to what Praveen Togodia VHP leader says at @17:00 onwards, i haven’t been to India but now i have a better idea of anti-Pakistan sentiment originating source.

It is bad if the threat perception in Pakistan have increased after Mumbai attacks. That means Pakistan will remain on offensive.

Difficult job preaching common sense to Indian friends.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Myra:
@ 6) On different perceptions of history.
This is a subject for a whole different post but every country has a different view of history

Myra: I agree it is hard to agree on common history but the crux of the discussion is that Pakistani people’s “threat perception” is based upon distorted history taught to them in school and lies told to them by Pakistani Army.

To say “every country has a different view of history” will be disagreeing with Pakistani scholars A. H. Nayyar and Ahmad Salim, Ex-Pak Air Marshal Nur Khan— who led PAF in 1965 war—and ex Ex-Pak Air Marshal Asghar Khan—-all of them say that Pakistanis have been taught distorted history and told lies that India invaded Pakistan. This is the background of why Pakistanis are such suckers for PA/ISI lies that India invaded Pakistan in the past and continue to be a threat to Pakistan.
Here are the links, which I am sure you are aware of:

1. Pakistani scholars A. H. Nayyar and Ahmad Salim prepared a report about history being taught in Pakistan schools. The report is named “The Subtle Subversion: The State of Curricula and Textbooks in Pakistan.” They have spent a lot of time and energy and arrive at a conclusion that Pakistani students have been taught a distorted/deleted history—the falsehoods and there needs to be a serious change in the curriculum. This includes India-specific distortions.
http://www.sdpi.org/whats_new/reporton/S tate%20of%20Curr&TextBooks.pdf

2. Ex-Pak Air Marshal Nur Khan who led PAF in 1965 war against India says:
“The 1965 war was based on a lie in which Ayub Khan and his generals misled the nation that India rather than Pakistan had provoked the war and that “we were the victims of Indian aggression”,
http://www.pakistaniaviationforum.com/in dex.php?showtopic=378&mode=linear

3. Ex-Pak Air Marshal Asghar Khan says:
“The fact is that in the last 60 years of our existence, India has not started hostilities against Pakistan unless provoked to do so, or until we created conditions, as we did in 1971 in East Pakistan, for India to interfere militarily….”
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn -content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/colu mnists/16-ardeshir-cowasjee-wise-words-f rom-an-old-warrior-hs-04

Let us call spade and spade. Myra, if these caring Pakistanis are saying that why not you?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Mortal: The article in Dawn “On screen, out of touch” by Nadeem F. Paracha tells the story of popular media of Pakistan.

http://nadeemfparacha.wordpress.com/2009   /06/18/on-screen-out-of-touch/
- Posted by rajeev

@rajeev: Thanks

@Myra: You should check out Rajeev’s link as well.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

“Pay attention to what Praveen Togodia VHP leader says at @17:00 onwards, i haven’t been to India but now i have a better idea of anti-Pakistan sentiment originating source. Difficult job preaching common sense to Indian friends”
- Posted by Umair

Thanks for the video link. I respect Dr. Hoodbhoy & Dr. Hameed Nayyar & feel they are amongst a few voices of reason in Pakistan.

Talking bout the video, I really wonder whether you, yourself ever read/see the articles/videos that you post here.
Did you see the anti-India hate mongering by Mullahs, jihadis, adults & children on the streets of Pakistan? Did you hear the acknowledgment that Pakistan invaded Indian territory in all wars fought & how your army projected them as victories, although they weren’t?
Did you hear the reference Dr. Nayyar gave from a Pakistani school text book which said that a Hindu can never wish well for a muslim?
Did you hear Ms. Rehman talk about how the Pakistani army keeps alive the fake perception of ‘Indian threat’ through it’s propaganda machinery?

This video is from 2004 & a lot has changed since then in both India & Pakistan. India has out rightly rejected right wing communal fundamentalism & the BJP lost 2 elections since then (the last one, decisively). On the other hand, Pakistan has become more radical than it ever was. You point out at the VHP fellow in the video. I don’t know who he is & I guarantee that 99% of Indians don’t know anything about that nut job either. People like him have an extremely minor following in India & are shunned by a vast majority of Indians whereas a delusional & moronic hate-monger like a Zaid Hamid is considered as a national hero by a majority of Pakistanis.

I agree that India still has many many problems to solve; at the communal level & at the socio-economic level but it is definitely moving in the right direction whereas Pakistan is definitely not & that’s the basic difference between the 2 at this time.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

—–>That means Pakistan will remain on offensive.

Difficult job preaching common sense to Indian friends.

- Posted by Umair
===============
:=|

HAS pakistan ever been NOT on the offensive???
You don’t want to look, see and think where it has taken you!

India has survived and come out the winner in response to your “on offensive”.

Many parts if not most parts of India if you ask an average Indian on the street who is Praveen Togadia, the chances are high he wouldn’t know. Praveen Togadia is fringe in India, the euivalents of Togadia run the army, ISI and government in pakistan.

I don’t expect you to see this truth since you want to be “on the offensive” all the time.

 

Myra,
“One would assume that both countries are responsible, and that is the whole point of negotiations”

I don’t think anyone here says no to dialogue and negotiations.

In fact the Coll testimony referred to by you actually supports this view when he says that US policy in the region should be directed towards “…. and most critically of all, to persuade the Pakistani military and intelligence services that it is in Pakistan’s national interest to pursue normalization and economic integration with India and to abandon its support for proxy Islamist groups such as the Afghan Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and others.”

What India is saying right now right now is please show us some effort being directed towards this end. Otherwise, no amount of dialogue is going to be effective or lasting.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive
 

“They are far more concerned about the economy and don’t really care if the prime minister decides to talk to Pakistan or not.” Myra

Well I am out of Delhi, living in a second/third tier city and please believe me when I say, ‘yes, we are more worried about the economy but we certainly do care about how the PM handles Pakistan, specially at this juncture.’

In fact I am off for a few days to a small coastal village, given the opportunity, I will try to understand what people there think about this.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive
 

Judging India by what Praveen Togodia says is like judging the US by what the Grand Dragon of Ku Klux Klan says or like judging Pakistan by the ramblings of the former Baitullah Mehsud. Let’s leave such ridiculous characters out of civilized dialogue.

Umair,

If you are truly interested in peace with India, you and other Pakistanis need to get past the fringe elements and give weight to the statements and aspirations of the vast majority of moderate Indians. Giving weight to statements by fringe leaders in India only makes Pakistanis look paranoid, delusional and on occassion comically so. Would you suggest that the Indians should judge every Pakistani according to what Hafiz Saeed says?

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Myra/Dara:

@“They are far more concerned about the economy and don’t really care if the prime minister decides to talk to Pakistan or not.” Myra

Well I am out of Delhi, living in a second/third tier city and please believe me when I say, ‘yes, we are more worried about the economy but we certainly do care about how the PM handles Pakistan, specially at this juncture.’
-posted by Dara:

Myra: So does it mean that economic recession and loss of jobs in US makes Iran, North Korea, OBL, Al-Qaida any less important? My amswer is NO and that means Obama got one more job to do (fix ecomnomy). In Detroit where the unemployment is in double digits, do people give a damn to Afghanistan/Pakistan, but tomorrow when they do get the jobs they will start asking Obama about what he is doing about Af-Pak. In India it is PM Singh’s job to address all the issues.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Umair:

Nice documentary by Pervez Hoodbhoy and Zian Mian.
@Pay attention to what Praveen Togodia VHP leader says at @17:00 onwards, i haven’t been to India but now i have a better idea of anti-Pakistan sentiment originating source.

— Indian sentiment is against Pakistan govt, not Pakistani people.
Praveen Togodia is a fool because only fools will dream of occupying Rawalpindi or elsewhere in Pakistan. I see no motivation even BJP is not working on his agenda—remember Vajpayee/BJP—Kashmir deal/Backchannel. But even assuming your point, Togodia’s mass appeal is less than the number of Indians criticizing Pakistan. So what’s the source of the remaining vast majority (like me for example) for criticizing Pakistan? The answer is Pakistan sponsored terrorism that has killed Indians since last 20yrs.
Now, could you also come out and address the Indian reason for the anti-India hate in Pakistanis and comment on 3 points in my post to Myra October 2nd, 2009 10:34 pm GMT. I will appreciate if you do without jingoism.
I noticed this in the video:

@11:28: One guy wants to fly the Pakistani flag at the red fort.

@11:52: In Islamabad, lots of people fantasize that “Kashmir will become Pakistan.” It seems plebiscite has already happened. The same statement is in Azad Kashmir constitution. Only those who “Kashmir will become Pakistan.” are permitted to be part of the Kashmir govt.

@21:40: A text book in Pakistan says that Hindu can never be a well wisher of Muslim.—Did you study that?———-In India no student is taught this about other religions.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Pay attention to what Praveen Togodia VHP leader says at @17:00 onwards, i haven’t been to India but now i have a better idea of anti-Pakistan sentiment originating source.
- Posted by Umair

When did Praveen Togodia send terrorists to attack civilians in Hotels, Train stations or Parliament buildings in Pakistan? How many times?

How many madrassas Praveen Togodia runs and what kinds of trainings do people get in his madrassas?

How many Interpol/UN/US arrest warrents and ban orders pending against Praveen Togodia or his madrasssas?

How many times Praveen Togodia closed previous madrassa and opened a new one to conceal his hideous activities?

If you can answer above questions, you will find the difference between an Indian politician and a Pakistani terrorist?

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive
 

Myra,

After reading many of your articles I have a series of questions I hope that you and others can weigh in on, thank you.

1. It appears that after mumbai that Pakistan and India have backed themselves into corners based on their positions on Saeed. The statement at the NAM conference seemed like a way to reach out but was shot down by the opposition in India. If pakistan doesn’t move on terrorists and Saeed what other concessions could they give, to induce India into broader talks.

2. The US seems to want India and Pakistan to start talks. Specifically what type pressure could they exert on each nation individually to start talks.

3. Mcchraystal seems to praise India for its aid to afghanistan and views it with potential caution due to pakistani sensitivities. What type of role does the US deem acceptable for India in afghanistan, and how does it view the Indian consulates?

4. Since Americans also died in mumbai, I was wondering what the US position on Saeed is. Do they subscribe to the view that there isn’t enough evidence to prosecute him, or that he is being protected by powerful elements in pakistan.

5. Do you think the US will stand firm on the conditions in the Kerry Luger bill, or will they rewrite it to accomodate pakistani concerns?

6. Mcchrystal wants more troops for afghanistan, but there are significant numbers of fighters coming and going from pakistan. How is this strategy supposed to work if the US and pakistanis can’t/won’t reach haqqani, Mullah Omar, and Hekmatyer?

7. Can the pakistani government survive if it attempts to prosecute Saeed, or will it be viewed as caving to India.

8. What do India and pakistan each lose individually by not talking. If a cold peace emerges, trade is kept at the same level (or marginally increases), people to people contact is maintained as is, and other non essential government cooperation is maintained.

9. In the comments section on one of your articles you indicated that the Indian media was making to big of a deal about the fact that Saeed dined with the 10th corp commander.

“That TV report makes it all sound so simple, when we all know it is not. This is not to make a comment on Hafiz Saeed. But at the same time, watching that video, do people actually believe that’s the way it is?”

I was wondering if you could expand on the first and last sentences in the quote.

10. If Obama chooses to reorient strategy to primarily focus on Al-qieda how will he proceed. Since Al-qieda is mainly in pakistan now, will the US expand drone strikes and rely on pakistani forces for ground operations (in pakistan), or will we openly see US forces and special forces engage in hunt/kill (counterterrorism) operations in pakistan.

Thanks,
Nameless

Posted by nameless | Report as abusive
 

Hi, in answer to your questions:

1. It appears that after mumbai that Pakistan and India have backed themselves into corners based on their positions on Saeed. If pakistan doesn’t move on terrorists and Saeed what other concessions could they give, to induce India into broader talks.

As discussed in this article

http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/1 0/05/pakistan-and-india-looking-beyond-t he-rhetoric-redux/

and in this editorial in The Hindu:

The important question is to watch what happens in the trial of Lakhvi and the other six men – it’s due to resume, I think, on Oct. 13

2. The US seems to want India and Pakistan to start talks. Specifically what type pressure could they exert on each nation individually to start talks.

Pakistan has already called for the resumption of talks. Any pressure from the United States on India would be indirect – India has asked Washington to help convince Pakistan to crack down harder on groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. Those groups are mentioned in the Kerry Lugar bill among the conditions attached for military aid.

I haven’t been able to find a final version of the Kerry-Lugar bill in the Senate website, but All Things Pakistan has what it says is the final draft:

http://pakistaniat.com/2009/10/07/full-t ext-kerry-lugar-bill/

3. Mcchraystal seems to praise India for its aid to afghanistan and views it with potential caution due to pakistani sensitivities. What type of role does the US deem acceptable for India in afghanistan, and how does it view the Indian consulates?

I don’t know the answer on that. But it’s a good question.

4. Since Americans also died in mumbai, I was wondering what the US position on Saeed is. Do they subscribe to the view that there isn’t enough evidence to prosecute him, or that he is being protected by powerful elements in pakistan.

I’ve spoken to American analysts who say there should be pressure to act against Hafiz Saeed. That said they have not made any specific comment on the nature of the evidence, which is for a Pakistani court to decide. I’ve also spoken to analysts who acknowledge the difficulties of moving against Lashkar, including in this article:

http://www.reuters.com/article/reutersEd ge/idUSTRE55K0TO20090622?sp=true

5. Do you think the US will stand firm on the conditions in the Kerry Luger bill, or will they rewrite it to accomodate pakistani concerns?

As far as I understand it, it can’t be rewritten.

6. Mcchrystal wants more troops for afghanistan, but there are significant numbers of fighters coming and going from pakistan. How is this strategy supposed to work if the US and pakistanis can’t/won’t reach haqqani, Mullah Omar, and Hekmatyer?

According to the people I have spoken to, you can still do population centric counter-insurgency in Afghanistan. The question of what to do about fighters based in Pakistan is, as you know, subject to a very long discussion in Washington.

7. Can the pakistani government survive if it attempts to prosecute Saeed, or will it be viewed as caving to India.

I’m not sure I can answer that without giving it a bit more time for thought.

8. What do India and pakistan each lose individually by not talking. If a cold peace emerges, trade is kept at the same level (or marginally increases), people to people contact is maintained as is, and other non essential government cooperation is maintained.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has argued that by not talking, India is reduced to passing messages through a third party – ie relying on the Americans, and to a lesser extent, the British. Some would also argue that a refusal to talk may even raise the risk of more attacks since the two countries would be unable to raise trust levels enough to share intelligence.

According to the analysts I’ve spoken to, for Pakistan it makes life trickier for the civilian government and leaves the army nervous about Indian intentions.

9. In the comments section on one of your articles you indicated that the Indian media was making to big of a deal about the fact that Saeed dined with the 10th corp commander.

“That TV report makes it all sound so simple, when we all know it is not. This is not to make a comment on Hafiz Saeed. But at the same time, watching that video, do people actually believe that’s the way it is?”

I was wondering if you could expand on the first and last sentences in the quote.

I think I answered that in an earlier blog. My comment referred not to the video but to the voiceover which seemed to give only one side of the story, in a very complicated situation.

10. If Obama chooses to reorient strategy to primarily focus on Al-qieda how will he proceed. Since Al-qieda is mainly in pakistan now, will the US expand drone strikes and rely on pakistani forces for ground operations (in pakistan), or will we openly see US forces and special forces engage in hunt/kill (counterterrorism) operations in pakistan.

I have no clear idea on what Obama will decide to do. But there have been reams of speculation written about this by Washington pundits.

Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

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