Major gains for India

The Tribune

Major gains for India

THE intensification of coercive diplomacy vis-a-vis Pakistan has brought certain major gains for India. The just concluded visit of US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to New Delhi and Islamabad has made India feel that everything has begun
moving towards the easing of tension on the border. India has officially reacted in a positive manner to Pakistan’s promise of ending “immediately and permanently cross-border infiltration of terrorists” into Kashmir, describing it as a “step forward and in
the right direction”. External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh has made it known to US Secretary of State Colin Powell on the telephone that India has taken an otherwise undependable Gen Pervez Musharraf’s pledge on the question of cross-border terrorism on
its face value. The pledge was conveyed to India through Mr Armitage. But first let us have a look at the outcome of India’s diplomatic efforts. One, the country has succeeded in securing a categorical promise from Pakistan’s military ruler to bury the monster
of Kashmir-related terrorism forever. This means that terrorism should no longer be used as an instrument of state policy by Islamabad. Two, Pakistan has agreed to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure on a permanent basis, indirectly accepting India’s viewpoint
that the terrorist training camps that had come up in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and elsewhere in that country were a reality and got sustenance officially. Three, General Musharraf has expressed his willingness to hold talks with India without any preconditions,
contrary to Pakistan’s earlier insistence on the centrality of the Kashmir issue.

All this shows that Pakistan is inching towards a clear U-turn in its Kashmir policy, of course under tremendous international pressure, as it did in the case of Afghanistan under the Taliban. Since General Musharraf has made his commitments to US, UK and other
world leaders, it is their responsibility to ensure that there is a quick change in the ground reality accordingly. India has to wait and watch what follows now. There is no question of withdrawing the troops ready for a decisive battle near the border. There
is need for utmost caution as this country is dealing with a crafty ruler on the other side. We are faced with a tricky war of nerves. The USA is trying to convince India that there has been a decline in terrorist infiltration since May 27 when the General
made a vague promise on the subject in the course of his televised address to his people. The immediate international purpose is to make India reciprocate in a manner it deems fit. It is learnt that an exercise is on to restore the strength of the Indian High
Commission in Islamabad to the level that existed before the December 13 terrorist attack at the Parliament complex in New Delhi. There is no harm in taking such a step provided Pakistan gives an undertaking that staff members will not be victimised as it
happened in the case of Mr Kulwant Singh at the hands of ISI operatives. However, India cannot change its military position at the border without satisfying itself that the specific purpose for which the troops were deployed in such a large strength has finally
been achieved — ensuring the demise of cross-border terrorism.

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