By Sudip Talukdar*
A hyper excited media went to town hailing the Indian and Pakistan prime ministers’ joint declaration condemning terrorism in Ufa, southern Russia, projecting it as a new breakthrough in ties. But the western neighbour’s past history of abrupt U turns, including outright rejection of the demand for voice samples of 26/11 mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Pakistani envoy Abdul Basit’s defiant invitation to separatists for the Iftar party, just days after the Narendra Modi-Nawaz Sharif handshake, has shattered the misplaced euphoria.
Commentators are already presenting laboured analyses on why India should walk the extra mile to befriend Pakistan, even insisting that all the mayhem, bloodletting and devastation wreaked on its soil, should either be forgotten or forgiven. Pakistan is also a victim of terror, so goes their logic, making it incumbent on India to apply the healing touch. The rationale is specious and infantile, fraught with unthinkable consequences. It amounts to emboldening an entity, described as the global fount of terror, to trample on Indian sensitivities and launch even more devastating attacks on a ‘soft state’, as part of its proxy war.
Pakistan’s so-called victimhood, for all its hype, is actually the unintended fallout of a Frankenstein it had conjured against India, but which turned against its master.
The media seems to have completely missed the point that Prime Minister Modi, left to himself, might have felt extremely disinclined to entertain Pakistan. But the moot question is what factors brought about a sudden change in his outlook? One that is completely at odds with his avowed stand on national interests. Was he arm twisted into accepting a contrived bonhomie with Pakistan by the United States, which remains the rogue state’s biggest patron and protector-in-chief and a permanent fixture in Indo-Pak ties.
Peaceniks and pro-Pakistan sympathizers, with a voice and influence quite disproportionate to their size, wish to stampede India into a spurious friendship with its neighbour at all costs, oblivious of the history of extreme hostility and several wars, besides sponsorship of countless acts of terror from across the border, not to speak of a festering sore like Kashmir. No degree of goodwill can ever erase chapters drenched in decades of bloodshed, bitterness and perfidy on our soil.
Peaceniks also insist that both China and its proxy Pakistan should be humoured for the sake of a peace that ensures India’s marginalization and necessitates its self-abasement. Their blinkered outlook, especially when the government is poised to act firmly against the latter, evokes the story of the boy who cried wolf, but got caught up in the web of his own lies when the danger actually materialized. Nobody responded to his cries for help, even as he lost his life to the predator.
There is enough evidence floating in the public domain and elsewhere about Pakistan’s real intentions, which no amount of sugarcoating by a section of the media will ever camouflage. It is bent on bleeding India by inflicting a ‘thousand cuts’ on its body, as a punishment for the creation of Bangladesh and over ‘Azad Kashmir, destroying its economy through drugs and fake notes, despite periodic professions of peace and amity. It is a different story altogether that the Pakistani Army must bear the responsibility of breaking up the country, besides massacring three million Bengalis in one of the worst ever genocides and saddling India with 10 million refugees.
Former diplomat Hussain Haqqani has unmasked the sinister face of the ‘rogue state’ in his book ‘Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military’. He writes: “Pakistan’s two-track policy – clandestine operations to weaken India while simultaneously appearing to seek a durable peace remained operational throughout the period Zia-ul-Haq was in power as well as in subsequent years.” Nawaz Sharif, like Pervez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto, is known to launch tirades against India and inciting fanatical groups. Kargil happened under Sharif’s watch as the prime minister.
Why have successive political dispensations maintained an ominous silence on Pakistan’s blatant occupation of Gilgit-Baltistan, including Chitral, even declaring it as its sixth province, in gross violation of UN Resolution? Modi should ask Pakistan to return nearly 12,000 sq km of Karakoram sub-region it ceded illegally to China in a 99-year lease. The UN Resolution clearly mandates that the Indian Army should look after J&K, which includes Gilgit-Baltistan and ‘Azad Kashmir’. It is rather surprising that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which boasts of pursuing national interests, should abandon its principles so readily and keep mum like other political outfits, governed by matters of mutual interests and divisive vote bank politics.
Islamabad threatens India with exercising its nuclear option, should the latter carry out Myanmar-style military operations across the Line of Control, as if it were a matter of mere rhetoric. It is time India firmly told Pakistan that the consequences would be too catastrophic to contemplate if it attempted anything as juvenile. It may be recalled that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), being extremely canny political players, outsmarted the Sri Lankan government for many years by insisting on ceasefire, especially when they were on the verge of certain defeat.
The pioneers of suicide bombing even roped in their Norwegian mentors to intercede on their behalf, always buying enough time to regroup and counterattack. But waves of bomb blasts, carnage and devastation finally forced then president Mahinda Rajapaksa into calling the LTTE’s bluff. He gave army chief General Sarath Fonseka a free hand to crush the fanatical cadres. His forces decimated the LTTE and eliminated their chief Prabhakaran, ending the reign of violence and mayhem that had wracked the island state for decades.
*Sudip Talukdar is a senior journalist, author and columnist. He can be contacted at [email protected]