Tuesday, March 29, 2011

India-Pakistan Cricket Diplomacy at Mohali

Indian Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh has invited his Pakistani counterpart Mr. Yousuf Raza Gilani to watch India-Pakistan World Cup semifinal at Mohali on Wednesday March 30 2011 for what is being described as "cricket diplomacy" between the two nuclear-armed South Asian rivals.

History of Cricket Diplomacy:

This "cricket diplomacy" goes back to February 1987 when former Pakistani President General Zia-ul-Haq went to India to watch a Test match between the two sides as part of his "cricket for peace initiative". This meeting did help lower the temperature that had been raised when India held large military exercises near the Pakistani border in Rajhastan and Pakistan responded by amassing its troops at the India-Pakistan border. Though Pakistan did win the Test series, the effect of diplomacy did not last long in helping resolve any of the longstanding issues between the two South Asian neighbors.

The last time India and Pakistan engaged in "cricket diplomacy" was when President Musharraf was invited by PM Manmohan Singh on April 17, 2005, and the match ended very badly for India. Pakistan beat India by 143 runs, propelled by Afridi's 134 runs.

Here's how President Musharraf described it:

Unfortunately for my hosts, the match turned out to be an embarrassment for India because one of Pakistan's star batsmen, Shahid Afridi, clobbered virtually every ball that the Indians bowled at him. Many of his hits headed straight for our VIP enclosure. Like any normal cricket fan I wanted to jump out of my seat shouting and clapping, but I had to control my enthusiasm in deference to my hosts.

Before the match was over, we left for our discussions. It goes without saying that I was dying to get back to the exciting match. So during our official one-on-one meeting I suggested to the prime minister that we go back to see the last hour of the match and also distribute the prizes. I made him agree in spite of his concerns about security. But then, as the meeting continued, my staff kept sending in notes informing me about the collapse of the Indian team when its turn came to bat. India's entire team got out long before the end of the game. Tightly repressing any outward signs of my inner joy, I had to inform Manmohan Singh that the Indian team's batting had been wasted and there was no point in another visit to the stadium.

Boys will be boys, some might say, but they obviously don't know cricket, or the importance of a match between Pakistan and India.

Policy Making:

Indian security analysts and politicians regularly blame Pakistan for the failure of past bilateral diplomatic efforts by citing what they believe is the adverse role of Pakistani military in framing Pakistan's policy toward India. This rationale, however, does not explain why the diplomatic initiatives undertaken by Pakistani military leaders from General Zia to General Musharraf have not borne fruit.

A more rational explanation for the policy failures has recently surfaced in secret US embassy cables leaked by Wikileaks and published by The Hindu. After a meeting with India's National Security Adviser and former Indian intelligence chief M.K. Narayanan in August 2009, American Ambassador Timothy Roemer concluded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was isolated within his own government in his “great belief” in talks and negotiations with Pakistan.

Sharm al-Shaikh Summit:

Roemer said that although Narayanan's hawkish stance on Pakistan was well known, his willingness to “distance himself from his boss (Manmohan Singh) in an initial courtesy call would suggest that PM Singh is more isolated than we thought within his own inner circle in his effort to "trust but verify" and pursue talks with Pakistan particularly in the wake of the hammering his government took from opposition for the July Sharm al-Sheikh statement with (Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza) Gilani.”

Agra Summit:

In the aftermath of the failure of the 2002 Agra Summit with former Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, former Pakistani President Musharraf said the two leaders were close to a historic agreement until an Indian bureaucrat Vivek Katju conspired with India's entrenched security hawks to insist on last-minute changes unacceptable to Pakistan.

Resolution of Kashmir:

Kashmir remains the single most explosive unresolved issue between India and Pakistan, and President Musharraf devoted a lot of his energies with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to try and resolve it. The formula envisioned soft or porous borders in Kashmir with freedom of movement for the Kashmiris; exceptional autonomy or "self-governance" within each region of Kashmir; phased demilitarization of all regions; and finally, a "joint supervisory mechanism," with representatives from India, Pakistan and all parts of Kashmir, to oversee the plan’s implementation. It appears now that the hawkish Indian security establishment has succeeded in scuttling the peace efforts based on the Musharraf formula.

Indian Think Tanks:

A new and significant factor that stands in the way of peace and security in South Asia is the emergence and growth of Indian think tanks, making India second only to the United States in numbers of such think tanks.

Out of 422 recognized Indian think tanks, around 63 are engaged in security research and foreign policy matters. These are heavily funded by the global arms merchants. India’s retired spies, police and military officers, diplomats and journalists are hired and handsomely compensated by such national security & foreign policy research institutes.

They exaggerate terror threats with the help of the media and intelligence folks to promote greater defense and security spending. As a result, India has already become the world's largest importer of weapons last year, according to SIPRI. These weapons imports are done at the expense of other far more pressing needs of the world's largest population of poor, hungry and illiterate people who call India home.


Pakistan has to be willing to take bold initiatives for peace and harmony in South Asia. But it takes two to tango. As long as the Indian hawkish security establishment remains in charge of India's Pakistan policy, there is very little chance of success of any initiatives, including the latest round of cricket diplomacy in Mohali.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Top Ten Sledges in Cricket

Pakistan Breaks Australia's 34-Match Winning Streak

Wikileaks on India's Hawkish Policy on Pakistan

Obama on Cricket

Case For Resuming India-Pakistan Peace Talks

Pakistan Punish Aussie 2-0 in T20 Series

Afridi's Leadership

Pakistan In, India Out of T20 Semis

Pakistan Beat India in South Africa

Kiwis Dash Pakistan's ICC Championship Hopes

Pakistan Crowned World T20 Champs

Pakistan's Aisamul Haq Beats Tennis Great Roger Federer


Anonymous said...

Frankly Kashmir can only be solved when you have strong governments on both sides.

Pakistan is currently in flames and India is rocked by corruption scandals.This is unfortunately just not the time to talk on kashmir or any other serious matter.

In any case its officially off the agenda anyway....

Anonymous said...

riaz i think pakistan has its hands full with WoT,Balochistan,NWFP,failing economy and increased radicalization of youth.

Any solution to Kashmir will require large compromises on both sides and it is politically hardly in a position to make these.

India OTOH negotiates from the position of strength an economy slated to be $2 trillion by the end of this financial year with EVERY major world power except China cheering its cause and opening doors.

Anonymous said...

India is not interested in negotiating for the simple reason it has what it wants and the conflict economically does not effect its rise.

Pakistan on the other hand is collapsing USSR style trying to keep some semblance of parity with India and bankrupting itself in the process.It has this year increased its military budget and DECREASED its education budget.

Riaz Haq said...

Congratulations to Indians on a well-deserved cricket win at Mohali today.

Pakistan's bowlers did well as expected by limiting India to 260 runs on a good batting pitch.

But Pakistanis' fielding (dropped catches that permitted Tendulkar to make 85 runs) and batting (irresponsible and ill-timed shots by key batsmen) were sub-par, and led to the loss in the WC Semifinal.

Clearly the better team won as it should have.

I must say that Pakistanis did better than expected and made the WC semifinal after many crises during the last year.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

hmm..4 catches dropped for sachin..Smell of match fixing..


Long time Riaz, since I visited your blog. Hope to see some nice posts on economy

aniketvishwarupe said...

Moreover, Pakistan’s army calls the shots on policy towards India, making intransigence more likely.
This is the statement by Economist in its recent edition of 31st March.
Following is the link.

Also Zia-ul-Haq is famous because he actually help Islamic radicals in Pakistan. Also referencing about what Mr. Musharraf has to say about Indian batting also says lot about how he treated his host (even though what he was saying was true these kind of comments are not in line while diplomatic talks are going on). Musharraf formula was also accepted by RSS the Hindu right wing organization because it thought India is wasting too much money on Kashmir and India has better things to invest into.
Your comments on how India lost the matches only exposes attitude of Pakistani people who are trying to deride India at every possible step. If you were writing about PEACE diplomacy then there is no point in deriding India first.
You have good knowledge but do not try to be blind. I can understand you are defending your own country and I respect that but doing that do not deride India.

Anonymous said...

off topic but very interesting read :


Shows how comprehensively bhutto screwed pakistan!

Riaz Haq said...

A new Wikileak revelation by The Hindu quotes BJP leader Arun Jaitly calling Hindutva as an Opportunistic issue for the party that exploits anti-Muslim sentiments and India-Pak tensions:

CHENNAI: Is Hindu nationalism the raison d'être of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), or just another vote-catching device? In a private conversation with American diplomats in May 2005, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley articulated the view that Hindu nationalism was an opportunistic issue for the party.

Mr. Jaitley, who is now the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, met with Robert Blake, the Charge at the U.S. Embassy, on May 6, 2005, and provided him and the Political Counsel an insightful exposition on the politics of Hindutva. “Pressed on the question of Hindutva, Jaitley argued that Hindu nationalism ‘will always be a talking point' for the BJP. However, he characterized this as an opportunistic issue,” the Charge wrote in a cable dated May 10, 2005 ( 32279: confidential).

“In India's northeast, for instance, Hindutva plays well because of public anxiety about illegal migration of Muslims from Bangladesh. With the recent improvement of Indo-Pak relations, he added, Hindu nationalism is now less resonant in New Delhi, but that could change with another cross-border terrorist attack, for instance on the Indian Parliament,” Mr. Blake reported on the interaction with Mr. Jaitley.

On the basis of these remarks on Hindutva made by Mr. Jaitley, the diplomat concluded that his “credentials with the Sangh Parivar are weak, and he may not have what it takes to mobilize the BJP base.”
On the issue of revocation of the visa of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Jaitley complained that he could not understand how the United States could take such an action against the party that began the transformation of U.S.-India relations.

When Mr. Blake explained the “rationale and legal basis” for the U.S. decision, “Jaitley agreed with the Charge's point that Modi was a polarizing personality, but argued that it would have been better for the US to let the Chief Minister visit the US, where he would have attracted a few demonstrators and then nothing more would be said.”

The Modi issue aside, the BJP leader was upbeat on U.S.-India relations, “emphasizing that ties with the U.S. were no longer a point of controversy in Indian politics.” Citing his own situation as typical, “Jaitley noted that he has several nieces and sisters living in the U.S., and ‘five homes to visit between DC and New York.'”

In private, Mr. Jaitley appeared more willing to give credit to his political rivals where due. “Putting on his hat as a former Commerce Minister, Jaitley confessed that the BJP's opposition to a Value Added Tax (VAT) at the state level was based on a narrow political calculus, and predicted that the BJP states would adopt the VAT soon in order to protect their revenue streams. He gave the Congress government generally positive marks for its handling of economic policy issues, but focused on the contradictions inherent in the UPA coalition.”

In response to the “Charge's pitch for opening of the Indian services sector,” Mr. Jaitley, a Senior Advocate, agreed that legal services should be opened to foreign competition, “noting that the performance of the Indian bar has begun to improve, even though the quality of judges suffers from a ‘Gandhian' mindset that leads to unreasonably low salaries.” On the retail sector, Mr. Jaitley “argued that foreign competition should not seriously hurt the mom and pop stores that form a BJP constituency.”

Riaz Haq said...

Congrats to all Indian cricket fans on India winning the World Cup today....after long drought since 1983.

It's a well deserved victory after great all-round performance by Indian players in Mumbai today.

Riaz Haq said...

DC:"And this after he got a danda up his ass for saying the above."

I don't understand your attack on Afridi for his criticism of the Indian media.

Indian media's hostility toward all things Pakistan is not a matter of dispute.

It's real, and several objective and independent observers have noticed it and talked about it.

Here's just a sampling of it:

1. Alice Albinia in the preface to her book "Empires of the Indus":

"It was April, 2000, almost a year since the war between Pakistan and India over Kargil in Kashmir had ended, and the newspapers which the delivery man threw on to my terace every morning still portrayed Pakistan as a rogue state, governed by military cowboys, inhabited by murderous fundamentalists : the rhetoric had the patina of hysteria."

2. John Briscoe, Harvard Professor and water expert on coverage of India-Pakistan water dispute:

Living in Delhi and working in both India and Pakistan, I was struck by a paradox. One country was a vigorous democracy, the other a military regime. But whereas an important part of the Pakistani press regularly reported India's views on the water issue in an objective way, the Indian press never did the same. I never saw a report which gave Indian readers a factual description of the enormous vulnerability of Pakistan, of the way in which India had socked it to Pakistan when filling Baglihar. How could this be, I asked? Because, a journalist colleague in Delhi told me, "when it comes to Kashmir – and the Indus Treaty is considered an integral part of Kashmir -- the ministry of external affairs instructs newspapers on what they can and cannot say, and often tells them explicitly what it is they are to say."

3. Shekhar Gupta in Indian Express:

Can we deny the fact that every new terror attack on the Pakistani establishment, every development that marks a further decline in the authority of its government is greeted with an utterly unconcealed sense of delight? This is not just the mood of the mobs here. Even the “intelligentsia ”, the TV talking heads, opinion page columnists, government spokespersons, all have the same smug air of “I-told-you-so” and “so-what-else-did-they-expect” satisfaction. And they ask the same patronising question: hell, can Pakistan be saved?

It is time therefore to stop jubilating at the unfolding tragedy in Pakistan. India has to think of becoming a part of the solution. And that solution lies in not merely saving Pakistan — Pakistan will survive. It has evolved a strong nationalism that does bind its people even if that does not reflect in its current internal dissensions. It is slowly building a democratic system, howsoever imperfect. But it has a very robust media and a functional higher judiciary. Also, in its army, it has at least one national institution that provides stability and continuity. The question for us is, what kind of Pakistan do we want to see emerging from this bloodshed? What if fundamentalists of some kind, either religious or military or a combination of both, were to take control of Islamabad? The Americans will always have the option of cutting their losses and leaving. They have a long history of doing that successfully, from Vietnam to Iraq and maybe Afghanistan next. What will be our Plan-B then?

4. Pankaj Mishra, India journalist and author:

Gung-ho members of India's middle class clamor for Israeli-style retaliation against jihadi training camps in Pakistan. But India can "do a Lebanon" only by risking nuclear war with its neighbor; and Indian intelligence agencies are too inept to imitate Mossad's policy of targeted killings, which have reaped for Israel an endless supply of dedicated and resourceful enemies.

Anonymous said...

I am referring to self proclaimed superiority of muslims in the second link I gave. "hindus can never have a large heart like muslims". What a grandiose self delusion. OK it was for public consumption after they were bitter for having lost to India, but still.
Afridi during the post match award ceremony told "allah-u-akbar". I am wondering whether an indian captain can say that in Karacho "jai shri raam".

Riaz Haq said...

DC: ""hindus can never have a large heart like muslims". What a grandiose self delusion."

Shahid Afridi is an ethnic Pashtun.

I think Afridi's frame of reference is probably Pathans' extreme hospitality which is legendary.

Anonymous said...

"I think Afridi's frame of reference is probably Pathans' extreme hospitality which is legendary.

I think Gujaratis business acument is also legendary. So why were you offended when Aakar Patel claimed Pak need more Gujus.

Also do you agree with Afridi's first interview when he questioned why we hate India and Indians when we breathe their movies, songs etc.

This confirms my suspicion that Pakistanis are most confused people on earth when it comes to their identity.

Anonymous said...

Are you following Afridi's foot in the mouth comments , denial, quoted out of context nonsense.

Riaz Haq said...


Afridi should stick to cricket.

Afridi needs some basic media training to avoid being drawn by the media into unnecessary controversies.

Mayraj said...

Peace-loving India, the world's largest arms importer

Defence spending has leapt since the Mumbai attacks of 2008 as Delhi steps up security and deterrence

By Andrew Buncombe, The Independent

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

India, one of the few nuclear powers, is in the middle of a multi-billion-dollar military spending spree that has quietly seen the country of Mahatma Gandhi and non-violent protest emerge as the world's largest importer of arms. It is expected to retain that position for at least five years.

As the country works to expand its regional strategic influence and to counter what it considers existential threats from Pakistan and China, India now accounts for nine per cent of all global arms purchases. Its current defence budget of £22bn – an increase of around 11 per cent on the previous year – is more than double what it spends on education and health combined.

Speaking last week in Delhi, Defence Minister AK Anthony, said: "India has always been a votary of peace and advocated peaceful relations with all nations. [But] we need to ensure optimum deterrence to fully safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation. Peace and security go hand in hand with social and economic progress and depend upon one another."
Yet some analysts and industry insiders detect an uncertainty within the broader Indian establishment about what role it should play. While India might purport to take on a larger regional position there remains an apparent reluctance to take on greater responsibility.

There are also strong voices within India who argue that in a country where hundreds of millions of people are living in poverty, there are more pressing spending priorities.

The representative of one US weapons manufacturer said there was an opportunity for Delhi to do more, such as helping to police Gulf sea-lanes, and other areas strategists refer to as the global commons.

The representative, who asked not to be identified, asked: "Is India happy with the idea of exporting security? There is a fundamental dichotomy... The military/civilian separation is quite wide. But it's coming to a head. The security issue is growing. India feels threatened by China and does not know what to do."


Riaz Haq said...

There was an article in Forbes magazine issue of March 4, 2002, by Steve Forbes titled "India, Meet Austria-Hungary" which compared India with the now defunct Austria-Hungary. Here is an excerpt from the text of that article:

Influential elements in India's government and military are still itching to go to war with Pakistan, even though Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has taken considerable political risks by moving against Pakistani-based-and-trained anti-India terrorist groups. Sure, Musharraf made a truculent speech condemning India's ``occupation'' of Kashmir, but that was rhetorical cover for cracking down on those groups. Washington should send New Delhi some history books for these hotheads; there is no human activity more prone to unintended consequences than warfare. As cooler heads in the Indian government well know, history is riddled with examples of parties that initiated hostilities in the belief that conflict would resolutely resolve outstanding issues.

Pericles of Athens thought he could deal with rival Sparta once and for all when he triggered the Peloponnesian War; instead his city-state was undermined and Greek civilization devastated.

Similarly, Hannibal brilliantly attacked Rome; he ended up not only losing the conflict but also setting off a train of events that ultimately led to the total destruction of Carthage. Prussia smashed France in 1870, annexing critical French territory for security reasons, but that sowed the seeds for the First World War. At the end of World War I the victorious Allies thought they had dealt decisively with German military power. Israel crushed its Arab foes in 1967, but long-term peace did not follow.

India is not a homogeneous state. Neither was the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It attacked Serbia in the summer of 1914 in the hopes of destroying this irritating state after Serbia had committed a spectacular terrorist act against the Hapsburg monarchy. The empire ended up splintering, and the Hapsburgs lost their throne. And on it goes.

Getting back to the present, do Indian war hawks believe China will stand idly by as India tried to reduce Pakistan to vassal-state status? Do they think Arab states and Iran won't fund Muslim guerrilla movements in Pakistan, as well as in India itself? Where does New Delhi think its oil comes from (about 70%, mainly from the Middle East)? Does India think the U.S. will stand by impotently if it starts a war that unleashes nuclear weapons?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune report on Seeds of Peace in Pakistan:

Seeds of Peace, an international youth based organisation established in 1993, aims to empower young individuals from conflict areas to help bridge differences. Aiming to create a better understanding amongst the youth to work towards ‘co-existence’ and ‘reconciliation’, the organisation was the brainchild of American journalist John Wallach. The first such programme involved about 50 young participants from the Arab-Israel conflict zone who were invited to the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Maine, USA.

Fahad Ali Kazmi, the joint secretary of Seeds of Peace-Pakistan, said the basic aim here is to incorporate the voice of youth in conflict areas. “We started the mock parliament last year to sensitise youth in conflict areas to help appreciate the counter narratives of global issues,” said Kazmi, who ‘graduated’ from an international camp in 2002 and returned to Pakistan as a ‘Pakistani Seed’.

Seeds of Peace came to Lahore in 2001, the same year it opened its offices in Mumbai and the next year in Kabul. Every year 10 to 12 young individuals from Pakistan and India are invited to the United States for the 250-day camp where they interact with youth from across the world.

Seeds of Peace-Pakistan’s first mock parliament session was held last year, aiming to acquaint the youth in conflict areas of India and Pakistan with a political understanding of issues on both sides. Last year, a mock Indian parliament was held in Pakistan by the Seeds of Peace-Pakistan and a similar event was held in India whereby Indian Seeds engaged in a mock Pakistani parliament. The concept, said Kazmi, is to eradicate prejudice and build bridges to better understand one another.

This year, Seeds of Peace-Pakistan will organise a Mock Afghan Parliament, whereby Pakistani youths will be educated about the workings of the Afghan parliament and also assigned roles and positions to take. “With Afghanistan and Pakistan engaged in a political conflict, we thought of engaging Pakistani youth in understanding the Afghan perspective,” Kazmi said.

Teams from across Lahore will participate in the event. Between 25 and 30 young people from different schools across Lahore including Beaconhouse School System, Divisional Public School, Lahore Grammar School and Crescent Model High School are participating in the event.

A workshop will be conducted by the Seeds of Peace-Pakistan on November 20 to educate the participating youth about the Afghan constitution and the dynamics of the Afghan parliament.

“The Pakistani Seeds are working in close collaboration with their Afghan counterparts to understand the political dynamics of the Afghan parliament,” said Kazmi while talking about the workshop which precedes the mock parliament that is to be held later in the month. At the end of the workshop a three-day mock parliamentary session will be convened for which three to four major areas of debate will be identified and a sample Afghan parliament formulated. The three-day mock parliamentary session will end on November 27.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's WSJ blog on Indian claims to Kashmir:

OK, so everyone knows that India, like Pakistan, claims the divided region of Kashmir in its entirety.

Everyone also knows that the seven-decade stalemate that has split the Himalayan territory between India- and Pakistan-administered portions is unlikely to change any time soon.

So, why does India get so upset every time a government, company or international body fails on a map of the region, however small, to show India’s territorial claims over the Pakistan-administered portion of Kashmir?
India’s Ministry of External Affairs lamented the “gross inaccuracies” in the map and said it had conveyed its displeasure to the Embassy. The whole of Kashmir is an “integral part” of India, it said, and maps “should depict the boundaries of our country correctly.”

It’s one thing for a customs official insisting on black-penning the Indian version of the border onto a child’s imported globe (yes, this happened.) But for it to reach the level of official, public MEA statements is absurd.

India has become increasingly militant over its cartographic claims. Editions of The Economist magazine, including the current one, have been held up by Indian customs over objections they showed the effective borders in Kashmir rather than only India’s claims.

Why India believes other countries and international publications must show its territorial claims and not the situation on the ground is unclear, and not matched by how map-makers deal with other disputed borders.

Take the 38th Parallel, for instance, the cease-fire line that has divided the Korean peninsula since 1945. Fighting between North and South Korea ended in 1953, but the border has never been formalized. Yet South Korea doesn’t yell publicly when Google Inc.’s maps show the 38th Parallel as the nation’s effective border with North Korea.

When Google did the same thing with India last year, showing its de facto rather than claimed border with Pakistan-administered Kashmir, it caused a furor here. (Google relented and, today, if you access its maps in India, you’ll confusingly see India sharing a border with Afghanistan, which might be India’s claim but is not reality.)

It is now customary to mark a map of Kashmir with dotted lines with labels that say “controlled by Pakistan and claimed by India” and “controlled by India and claimed by Pakistan.” (China controls a part which is claimed by India, but that’s another story.)

But the U.S. State Department map, part of an A-Z of thumbnail sketches of countries with whom America has diplomatic relations, was by no means meant to show this level of detail.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi acknowledged there were “inaccuracies” and said the State Department had removed the map. But he added it “was not meant to represent the same precision and intricacies of a scientific map.”

There was much gnashing of teeth in the Indian press. One Times of India report even went so far as to claim these cartographic missteps are starting to anger not only officials but also journalists.

It’s clear that India will have to move beyond this kind of petty griping if it’s going to take the lead in a peace deal with Pakistan, an unstable country that is fast losing the support of the U.S.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made peace with Pakistan a key plank of his administration, and a settlement on Kashmir will be key.
Brahma Chellaney, an analyst at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research, contacted by the Times of India, went as far as to say the map showed a “pro-Pakistan cartographic tilt.”....


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting account in Dawn newspaper of Sashi Tharoor's visit to Pakistan and discussion at Jinnah Institute:

...It was only his third day in Pakistan, yet it was surprising for him and his wife to see “how much we have in common and how much we differ”. He is visiting on the invitation of Jinnah Institute (JI) to be the first in its Distinguished Speakers series, which is part of the Track-II engagement between the civil societies of the two countries.

Dr Tharoor started by saying that as a member of Lok Sabha he sees the foreign policy in the perspective of improving the life of the poor and the marginalised – for which peace is essential.

“Peace is indivisible and so is freedom and prosperity,” he said.

In the age of globalisation it has become more so and that was why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to resume the dialogue process that India had halted after the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai.

Since the technological tools that benign forces used to bring the world together are used by the malign forces to disrupt the process, nations need to cooperate to fight terrorism, he said, bluntly charging the ISI and Pakistan army with using terrorism as a strategy.

“Pakistan defines itself in opposition to India and the “previously benign forces of religion and culture have become causes of conflict”, he said and decried its `Kashmir solution first` policy.

While other states have army, Pakistan army is said to have a state to itself.

As a consequence the civilian governments live in awe of the army and the few steps they took to improve relations with India were torpedoed by the military, he surmised.

But he welcomed the present government`s decision to grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India because it reflected how important it was for Pakistan to normalise relations with India after ignoring India`s grant of Most Favoured Nation to Pakistan for 16 years.

Dr Tharoor forcefully rejected “the notion that India is a threat to Pakistan and dismissed the Indian military action in support of Mukti Bahini in East Pakistan in 1971 that created Bangladesh as “a very special case”.

Otherwise, according to him, India had been magnanimous to Pakistan, like when it returned the strategic Hajipir Pass in Kashmir after 1965 war and had given up “first strike” in a nuclear conflict.

His discourse seem to hold Pakistan polity responsible for all the troubles and invited riposte from the panelists Nasim Zehra and Ejaz Haider and sharp questions from the audience comprising Pakistani diplomats, academia and some commoners.

“I am disappointed,” blurted out Nasim Zehra, a current affairs presenter on a private TV channel. “Whether it is fact or fiction depends on the narratives. The distinguished speaker has been selective.”

“I too believe India-Pakistan is a must. Here we have been pushing for a new vision. You have to change the narrative,” she said to applause from the audience.

Ejaz Haider, executive director of Jinnah Institute, was more subtle.

“I agree with your poetry but what about the prose,” he told Dr Shashi Tharoor, who is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books. How India has behaved and been doing in the last 60 years should be kept in mind also.

India`s military intervention in East Pakistan is a special case because stronger states use humanitarian and other international laws for their real politik, he said.

As for Hajipir Pass, he noted that post-1965 India had to chose between that pass and Kargil and “chose correctly”.

Dr Tharoor replied to the points raised and questions that followed on the same lines, more as a diplomat than a politician.

“Once trust is built, everything would be solved,” he said....


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Op Ed by Indian diplomat and parliamentarian Sashi Tharoor on his recent visit to Pakistan:

I write these words in Lahore, in the midst of a brief but hugely interesting visit to Pakistan. As one who has always advocated hard-headed realism in dealing with our neighbour, while greatly respecting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s vision that the highest strategic interest of both countries lies in development and the eradication of poverty rather than in military one-upmanship, I have begun to think of how much we could both gain if we replaced our current narrative of hostility with one of hope.
What is the way forward for India? It is clear that we want peace more than Pakistan does, because we have more at stake when peace is violated: we cannot grow and prosper without peace, and that is the one thing Pakistan can give us that we cannot do without.
By denying us the peace we crave, Pakistan can undermine our vital national interests, above all that of our own development. Investors shun war zones; traders are wary of markets that might explode at any time; tourists do not travel to hotels that might be commandeered by fanatical terrorists. These are all serious hazards for a country seeking to grow and flourish in a globalising world economy.
Even if Pakistan cannot do us much good, it can do us immense harm, and we must recognise this in formulating our policy approaches to it. Foreign policy cannot be built on a sense of betrayal any more than it can be on illusions of love. Pragmatism dictates that we work for peace with Pakistan precisely so that we can serve our own people’s needs better.
So we must engage Pakistan because we cannot afford not to. And yet — the problem of terrorism incubated in Pakistan will not be solved overnight. Extremism is not a tap that can be turned off once it is open; the evil genie cannot be forced back into the bottle. The proliferation of militant organisations, training camps and extremist ideologies has acquired a momentum of its own. A population as young, as uneducated, as unemployed and as radicalised as Pakistan’s will remain a menace to their own society as well as to ours.
Let us show a magnanimity and generosity of spirit that in itself stands an outside chance of persuading Pakistanis to rethink their attitude to us.
The big questions — the Kashmir dispute and Pakistan’s use of terrorism as an instrument of policy — will require a great deal more groundwork and constructive, step-by-step action for progress to be made. But by showing accommodativeness, sensitivity and pragmatic generosity, India might be able to turn the bilateral narrative away from the logic of intractable hostility in which both countries have been mired for too long.
The joker in the pack remains the Pakistani Army. Until the military men are convinced that peace with India is in their self-interest, they will remain the biggest obstacles to it. One hope may lie in the extensive reach of the Pakistani military apparatus and its multiple business and commercial interests.
Perhaps India could encourage its firms to trade with enterprises owned by the Pakistani Army, in the hope of giving the military establishment a direct stake in peace.
The world economic crisis should give us an opportunity to promote economic integration with our neighbours in the subcontinent who look to the growing Indian market to sell their goods and maintain their own growth. But as long as South Asia remains divided by futile rivalries and some continue to believe that terrorism can be a useful instrument of their strategic doctrines, that is bound to remain a distant prospect. If India and Pakistan can embrace an interrelated future on our subcontinent, geography can become an instrument of opportunity in a mutual growth story and history can bind rather than divide. It is a future worth striving for, in the interests of both our peoples.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a piece titled "Confessions of a War Reporter" by Barkha Dutt published in Himal Magazine:

I had to look three times to make sure I was seeing right. Balanced on one knee, in a tiny alley behind the army’s administrative offices, I was peering through a hole in a corrugated tin sheet. At first glance, all I could see were some leaves. I looked harder and amidst all the green, there was a hint of black – it looked like a moustache. “Look again,” said the army colonel, in a tone that betrayed suppressed excitement. This time, I finally saw.

It was a head, the disembodied face of a slain soldier nailed onto a tree. “The boys got it as a gift for the brigade,” said the colonel, softly, but proudly. Before I could react, the show was over. A faded gunny bag appeared from nowhere, shrouded the soldier’s face, the brown of the bag now merging indistinguishably with the green of the leaves. Minutes later, we walked past the same tree where the three soldiers who had earlier unveiled the victory trophy were standing. From the corner of his eye, the colonel exchanged a look of shard achievement, and we moved on. We were firmly in the war zone.

It’s been two years since Kargil, but even as some of the other details become fuzzy, this episode refuses to fade from either memory or conscience. A few months ago, I sat across a table with journalists from Pakistan and elsewhere in the region, and confessed I hadn’t reported that story, at least not while the war was still on. It had been no easy decision, but at that stage the outcome of the war was still uncertain. The country seemed gripped by a collective sense of tension and dread, and let's face it – most of us were covering a war for the first time in our careers. Many of the decisions we would take over the next few weeks were tormented and uncertain. I asked my friend from Pakistan, listening to my anguish with empathy, what he would have done in my place? He replied, “Honestly, I don’t know.”

This then, is the truth of reporting conflict and wars. Often we just don’t know. And even more often, whether we like ourselves for it or not, our emotional perceptions of these conflicts are shaped by how our histories have been handed down to us. Whatever textbook journalism may preach, I think the time has come to accept that every story we do is shaped by our own set of perceptions, and thus prejudices as well. National identity is one of the many factors that add up to make the sum total of who we are and what we write or report. It sneaks up on us and weaves its way into our subconscious, often mangled and confused, but still there, determining what we see and how we see it. And, when I speak of national identity I do not mean chest-thumping, flag-waving nationalism. I mean years of accumulated baggage, what we read in school, the villains and heroes in our popular cinema – in fact the entire process of socialization.

The media may not be reduced to being a crude tool of the nation state, but it will always have to fight with itself to find a space that is honest. And sometimes we will make mistakes. At other times, we may never know whether we made a mistake or chose right. But so long as we hide behind the theoretical notion of objective journalism, as long as we believe that journalists are innately more enlightened than others of the human species, the search for that truthful professional space will be a dishonest one. The war taught me that – just how complex and ridden with contradictions this search can be.


Riaz Haq said...

NY Times: "Many analysts say that India is unlikely to achieve prominence on the world stage until it reaches some sort of resolution with Pakistan of disputes that have lasted for decades over Kashmir and other issues."

Here's NY Times on India's growing troubles:

...a summer of difficulties has dented India’s confidence, and a growing chorus of critics is starting to ask whether India’s rise may take years, and perhaps decades, longer than many had hoped.

“There is a growing sense of desperation out there, particularly among the young,” said Ramachandra Guha, one of India’s leading historians.

Three events last week crystallized those new worries. On Wednesday, one of India’s most advanced submarines, the Sindhurakshak, exploded and sank at its berth in Mumbai, almost certainly killing 18 of the 21 sailors on its night watch.

On Friday, a top Indian general announced that India had killed 28 people in recent weeks in and around the Line of Control in Kashmir as part of the worst fighting between India and Pakistan since a 2003 cease-fire.

Also Friday, the Sensex, the Indian stock index, plunged nearly 4 percent, while the value of the rupee continued to fall, reaching just under 62 rupees per dollar, a record low.

Each event was unrelated to the others, but together they paint a picture of a country that is rapidly losing its swagger. India’s growing economic worries are perhaps its most challenging.

“India is now the sick man of Asia,” said Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at the financial information provider IHS Global Insight. “They are in a crisis.”


The Indian government recently loosened restrictions on direct foreign investment, expecting a number of major retailers like Walmart and other companies to come rushing in. The companies have instead stayed away, worried not only by the government’s constant policy changes but also by the widespread and endemic corruption in Indian society.

The government has followed with a series of increasingly desperate policy announcements in recent weeks in hopes of turning things around, including an increase in import duties on gold and silver and attempts to defend the currency without raising interest rates too high.

Then Wednesday night, the government announced measures to restrict the amounts that individuals and local companies could invest overseas without seeking approval. It was an astonishing move in a country where a growing number of companies have global operations and ambitions.
The submarine explosion revealed once again the vast strategic challenges that the Indian military faces and how far behind China it has fallen. India still relies on Russia for more than 60 percent of its defense equipment needs, and its army, air force and navy have vital Russian equipment that is often decades old and of increasingly poor quality.

The Sindhurakshak is one of 10 Russian-made Kilo-class submarines that India has as part of its front-line maritime defenses, but only six of India’s submarines are operational at any given time — far fewer than are needed to protect the nation’s vast coastline.

Indeed, India has fewer than 100 ships, compared with China’s 260. India is the world’s largest weapons importer, but with its economy under stress and foreign currency reserves increasingly precious, that level of purchases will be increasingly hard to sustain.

The country’s efforts to build its own weapons have largely been disastrous, and a growing number of corruption scandals have tainted its foreign purchases, including a recent deal to buy helicopters from Italy.

Unable to build or buy, India is becoming dangerously short of vital defense equipment, analysts say....


Riaz Haq said...

‪#‎Indian‬ PM says Kashmir resolution with ‪#‎Pakistan‬ was close when @P_Musharraf was forced out. http://shar.es/9uu6R via @sharethis

Riaz Haq said...

Dozens of students from Indian-administered Kashmir were ejected from university and threatened with sedition charges for cheering Pakistan's victory over India in a cricket match.

Police have been investigating the students after a complaint from university officials in the northern city of Meerut, in Uttar Pradesh, over celebrations following Pakistan's win in Sunday's Asia Cup clash.

The students at Swami Vivekanand Subharti University (SVSU) have been suspended and were escorted from campus following the match due to concerns about violence with other Indian students, university sources said.

"The SVSU administration on Wednesday submitted a written complaint against unknown persons for indulging in anti-national activities and creating a ruckus on the university campus," Meerut police chief Omkar Singh said. "We have registered a case and the probe is on. If evidence is established against the accused, there is a set legal procedure to be followed in such cases. The law will take its own course."

Police initially planned to charge the students with the more serious crime of sedition, which can earn a life term, but that was dropped after protests from Kashmiri leaders including the state's chief minister.

The minister, Omar Abdullah, said on Twitter: "Sedition charge against Kashmiri students is an unacceptably harsh punishment that will ruin their futures & will further alienate them. I believe what the students did was wrong & misguided but they certainly didn't deserve to have charges of sedition slapped against them."

The trouble began when the students were watching the match on television in the university's community hall. Some of the students were accused of chanting "Pakistan Zindabad" (hail Pakistan), a university official said on condition of anonymity.

In 2012, an anti-government cartoonist was arrested in another sedition case, raising concerns about limits on freedom of speech.

Prosecutors later dropped the charge against the cartoonist, whose online drawings included the national parliament depicted as a huge toilet bowel, a comment against corruption.

Muslim-majority Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan but each claims it in full. They have fought two wars since 1947 over the northern Himalayan territory.

Since 1989 Indian forces have been fighting militant groups seeking independence or the merger of the territory with Pakistan, with repressive policing and human rights abuses feeding into local anti-India resentment.

Many Kashmiris associate more with Pakistan, a Muslim-majority Islamic republic, than with Hindu-majority India which is officially secular.


Riaz Haq said...

A private university in Greater Noida on Saturday expelled six students — four of them Kashmiris — from one of its boys' hostels after a stand-off between two groups over last Sunday's India-Pakistan cricket match.

It's the second such controversy this week after a university in Meerut suspended a group of Kashmiri students for celebrating Pakistan's victory in the Asia Cup match.

Riaz Haq said...

On Thursday evening in an interview to India Today’s Karan Thapar, former chief of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) A. S. Dulat revealed some untold stories about Kashmir politics. Dulat’s book – Kashmir: The Vajpaye Years – is set to be released this month. Here are the seven major points about Kashmir that he shared:

Former Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted to make former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah Vice President of India but reneged on the promise.
“However, Farooq always had doubts whether Vajpayee would fulfil this promise. He told me I don’t trust them. I don’t trust Delhi. Ultimately, Vajpayee reneged on the promise. Because people in Delhi felt Farooq was unreliable. They even suggested he would not spend time in the Rajya Sabha. The other problem was that Farooq becoming Vice President was part of an arrangement whereby Krishan Kant would become President. When the latter didn’t happen the promise to Farooq fell by the wayside. He (Farooq) felt let down. When I conveyed this to Brajesh Mishra and Vajpayee they brushed aside Farooq’s bitterness and said he would be made a Cabinet Minister instead. When I conveyed this to Farooq he said he didn’t believe it. And again this second promise was also not fulfilled.”

The Hizbul Mujahideen and United Jihad Council chief, Syed Salahuddin once contacted the head of India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) in Srinagar (K. M. Singh) to ask for a place in a medical college for his son which Farooq, then Chief Minister, arranged.
“Salahuddin rang the IB head in Srinagar for the favour and Farooq Abdullah actually facilitated the admission. However, this was an exceptional case for an exceptional man. In this instance it was part of what could have been an attempt to lure Salahuddin back which didn’t succeed.”
In 2002, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then Prime Minister, advised Sonia Gandhi against making Mufti Sayeed chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
“This is because Delhi at that time had grave doubts about Mehbooba Mufti. They believed she had links with the Hizbul Mujahideen and Jamaat. As a result during a visit to Srinagar in April 2003 Mr. Vajpayee insisted that Mehbooba should not be on the stage with him and Mufti Sayeed.”
During the India-Pakistan Agra summit in 2001, L. K. Advani in a meeting with Gen. Parvez Musharraf the night before soured the atmosphere. Dulat was told by Brajesh Mishra that they were very close to agreement.
“This is when L. K. Advani surprised Musharraf by asking for Dawood Ibrahim. This took Musharraf back and a shadow was cast thereafter on the Agra summit.” “As Mr. Mishra put it: “Yaar, hote-hote reh gaya … Ho gaya tha, who toh.”
Farooq shouted at him for “hours together” during their meeting after a decision was taken to release three hardcore militants – among which two, Mushtaq Latram and Maulana Masood Azhar were lodged in Jammu and Kashmir, in exchange for the freedom of the passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane in 1999.
“Farooq felt the decision by the Union Government was a mistake and he stormed off our meeting to call on Governor Girish Chander Saxena with an intention to resign. He (Farooq) shouted at me for hours together saying this was a mistake being committed by the Centre. After he ventilated his anger, he stormed off to meet Governor Girish Chander Saxena with an intention to resign. However, the Governor calmed him down and Farooq eventually accepted the situation and agreed to the release of terrorists.”



Riaz Haq said...

On way out, #India's Manmohan gave PM #Modi file on hush-hush #Kashmir talks (backchannel diplomacy) with #Pakistan http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/on-way-out-manmohan-singh-gave-narendra-modi-file-on-hush-hush-kashmir-talks-with-pakistan/ …

Kasuri’s book quotes General Musharraf as stating that the secret Kashmir agreement envisaged joint management of the state by India and Pakistan, as well as demilitarisation of the territory.
The Indian negotiator said the final draft of the framework agreement in fact spoke of a “consultative mechanism”, made up of elected representatives of the governments of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, as well as officials of the two national governments. The consultative mechanism, he said, was mandated to address regional “social and economic issues”, like tourism, religious pilgrimages, culture and trade.
New Delhi, the official said, had rejected General Musharraf’s push for institutions for joint management of Kashmir by the two states, arguing it would erode Indian sovereignty.
Prime Minister Singh’s hand-picked envoy, Ambassador Satinder Lambah, and General Musharraf’s interlocutors, Riaz Muhammad Khan and Tariq Aziz, held over 200 hours of discussions on the draft agreement, during 30 meetings held in Dubai and Kathmandu.
Lambah, a former intelligence official recalled, was also flown to Rawalpindi on a Research and Analysis Wing jet as negotiations reached an advanced stage, travelling without a passport or visa to ensure the meetings remained secret.
“In early talks,” the Indian diplomat said, “Pakistan reiterated its public positions, calling for international monitoring of the Line of Control, and so on. However, it became clear that both General Musharraf and Prime Minister Singh were keen on arriving at an agreement that would allow them to focus on their respective agendas, without conflict over Kashmir sapping their energies.”
“Each paper exchanged between the two sides,” the diplomat said, “was read by him personally, and his instructions were then given to Lambah. There were just two people in the Cabinet, and perhaps three more in the bureaucracy, who were privy to what was going on.”
Later, Prime Minister Singh’s interlocutor on Kashmir, now Governor N N Vohra, was also tasked with briefing secessionist leaders in the state on the looming deal. “I think the agenda is pretty much set,” Kashmir leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said in an April 2007 interview. “It is September 2007,” he went on, “that India and Pakistan are looking at, in terms of announcing something on Kashmir.”
Prime Minister Singh, a former aide involved in the talks said, was scheduled to begin consultations with his Cabinet and opposition leaders on the deal, when a tide of protest unleashed by Pakistani lawyers pushed General Musharraf into a corner in March, 2007. “He seemed confident the talks would soon be able to revive,” the aide said, “but ended up being swept out of office”.

Riaz Haq said...

In the book, “How India Sees the World: Kautilya to the 21st Century”, Mr. Saran records the crucial meeting of the CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) on the eve of India-Pakistan Defence Secretary-level talks in May 2006, where the draft agreement, that had been approved by the Army and other stakeholders, was to be discussed. However, he said two crucial players, the-then NSA MK Narayanan and then Army Chief General J.J. Singh made last minute interventions to cancel the proposal.

“When the CCS meeting was held on the eve of the defence secretary–level talks, [Mr.] Narayanan launched into a bitter offensive against the proposal, saying that Pakistan could not be trusted, that there would be political and public opposition to any such initiative and that India’s military position in the northern sector vis- à-vis both Pakistan and China would be compromised. [Gen] J.J. Singh, who had happily gone along with the proposal in its earlier iterations, now decided to join Narayanan in rubbishing it,” Mr. Saran writes.

According to Mr. Saran both Indian and Pakistani armies had agreed to authenticate the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL), and sign an annexure with maps marking exactly where Indian and Pakistani troops held positions. As a result, Mr. Saran says, Indian troops, who occupy the heights of Siachen would be able to mutually withdraw and be spared “extreme cold and unpredictable weather in inhospitable areas, [where] their psychological isolation was just as bad as their physical hardship.”

Mr. Saran’s revelations are significant as it is the first time that an Indian official of the time has accepted that agreements on Siachen and Sir Creek, often called the “low-hanging fruit” of the Comprehensive bilateral dialogue between both countries, was a reality. In 2015, former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri has written about the agreements in his memoirs “Neither a Hawk nor a Dove”, with an account of the Pakistani side of those negotiations.

During the book launch on Wednesday, General (Retd) J.J.Singh, who was also in the audience, asked Mr. Saran whether it would have been possible, in fact, to “trust Pakistan”, and ensure Pakistani troops wouldn’t return to occupy positions in Siachen. “In matters of international diplomacy, it is a convergence of interests rather than trust that counts,” Mr. Saran replied.

The book also records what Mr. Saran calls a “missed opportunity” to solve the Sir Creek dispute in Kutch, with the solution crafted by the Navy to divide the creek between India and Pakistan according to the “equidistance” principle. When asked by Mr. Menon whether the opportunities to resolve the long-standing issues with Pakistan still existed, Mr. Saran said, “Opportunities are perishable. When they aren’t seized, they don’t return.”


Riaz Haq said...

Jaswant Singh, India’s former foreign minister, who died on September 27 after six years in a coma from a fall at his home, was carrying a history-making sheaf of typed papers in his briefcase on July 16, 2001, in Agra, papers of immeasurable importance to the future history of South Asia.


So powerful were the contents in Jaswant Singh’s draft he had agreed with his Pakistan counterpart that it had the potential to forestall any future war between India and Pakistan. Singh’s far-right colleague and home minister LK Advani torpedoed the draft pact moments before Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pervez Musharraf were to accept it.

The sabotaged Agra summit could have saved India and Pakistan an endless need to procure military hardware at prohibitive costs to their poverty-stricken masses. Had history not played truant that day in Agra, there would be a hoard of money available for healthcare and education for both countries – saved from scandal-tainted Rafale jets in India, for example – which in turn would have enabled both to better fight the coronavirus menace, and perhaps even spare precious resources for the less endowed neighbours.

The French Rafales were meant to deal with the military contingency in Ladakh with China, one might argue. Yes and no. Jaswant Singh’s peace deal carried the power, in fact, to vacate the need for even India and China to think of war or to send hapless men to inhospitable climes for guarding their ill-defined frontiers. There would be perhaps no deaths from frostbite or avalanches in Siachen either. There would be no need to interdict the Karakoram Highway.

There is a humanitarian catastrophe brewing in Jammu and Kashmir. An Agra pact would have made unnecessary the subjugation of Jammu and Kashmir last year. True, there were howls of protest from Hindutva nationalists when Jaswant Singh proposed in a subsequent TV interview that India could accept the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir as a hard border and thus end a core dispute with Pakistan.

The protests had less to do with the logic of peace between nuclear rivals, rather they were needed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its assiduously nurtured hatred for Pakistan. A worried Arun Jaitley, the late partisan of the RSS, told the Americans in as many words, according to WikiLeaks, that good relations with Pakistan were detrimental to Hindutva’s political constituency in northern India. The instructive core of such an argument can imply that the December 2001 terror attack on the Indian parliament or the November 2008 terror attack in Mumbai harmed India but helped the BJP. The logic again came into play with the Pulwama attack last year.

To loosely translate an Indian saying, the horse cannot befriend the grass. That is a likelier reason for the failure of the Agra summit – because peace with Pakistan would destroy the BJP’s plank to win votes. It goes to the credit of Vajpayee and Jaswant Singh that they did not see their politics through the prism of perpetual communal hostility.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex spy chief Amarjit Singh Dulat tells DH why he thinks both India and Pakistan have their best chance at peace now


S. Raghotham of Deccan Herald: What is the legacy that Gen Pervez Musharraf, who passed away recently, has left on the Kashmir issue?

Ex RAW Chief AS Dulat: I was a great admirer of Musharraf. In fact, it was one of my unfulfilled desires that I wanted to meet him, but I never could. Having watched Kashmir for more than 35 years, I feel that there has been no Pakistani leader who has been more reasonable on Kashmir than Musharraf. From our point of view, the most positive thing was that he repeatedly said that whatever is acceptable to Kashmir and Kashmiris would be acceptable to Pakistan. There’s not been anybody else in Pakistan who has said that. Of course, Musharraf got into trouble when 9/11 happened, and he had to willy-nilly join George Bush’s War on Terror. And 9/11 definitely helped us, because it put pressure on Musharraf. And as part of that pressure, he was also told that he had to behave with India. In the years following 9/11, militancy went down. The other positive thing for us (post-9/11) was that the average Kashmiri....


Manmohan Singh is on record that they (he and Musharraf, after Vajpayee and Musharraf in Agra in 2001) were very close to signing an agreement.

Q: What happened that we didn’t?

A: I think we dragged our foot, we took too long…Musharraf kept waiting for Manmohan Singh’s visit to Pakistan. The visit never happened.

Q: So, the recent revelations by Gen Qamar Bajwa, that PM Modi was to go to Pakistan, stay in a temple there for nine days, and then come out with a peace accord that would freeze the Kashmir issue for 20 years. Is that all true? Is it still possible? ...

A: I wouldn’t know. But coming from the (recently retired) Pakistan army chief Gen. Bajwa, there has to be some truth in it. I mean…there may be some exaggeration in it. I think this year -- this is my hunch, my gut feeling -- that something should happen because the Pakistanis are very keen. And they are in a big mess. So, it could be a question of Modi actually bailing out Pakistan. And he could do it…I feel Modi is the right man, he is under no pressure to move forward, but he can move forward.