Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley in a recent debate in Parliament on the Italian marines case quoted a line from an Ian Fleming book which was later adapted into a movie called ‘Goldfinger’ – ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it is enemy action’. Though he was referring to Bofors and chopper deal scam and the latest standoff between New Delhi and Rome, the quote from the famous James Bond movie fits the bill as far as our neighbour Pakistan is concerned. And forget the third time. Pakistan has rubbed us the wrong way umpteenth time and if all of this is not enemy action then what is.
March 12, 1993 - Mumbai serial bomb blasts, also known as Black Friday in which more than 250 people were killed when 12 blasts rocked the financial capital of India. Dawood Ibrahim, said to be the key conspirator of the dastardly act, is living the life of a king in Karachi.
December 13, 2001 – The attack on the Indian Parliament carried out by Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed escalated tension between the two nuclear-powered nations which saw India mobilising its armed forces along the border in `Operation Parakram`.
November 26, 2008 - Attacks on Taj and others strategic locations in Mumbai were carried out allegedly by members of Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Pakistan-based militant organisation. Ajmal Kasab, the lone attacker who was captured alive, did confess later that the attacks were conducted with the tactical support of Pakistan`s ISI. The mastermind of the mindless bloodbath Hafeez Saeed continues to spew venom on India while the authorities the
re continue to look the other way.
February 21, 2013 – Twin bomb blasts rocked Dilsukhnagar area in Hyderabad, leaving 17 people dead. The modus operandi of the blasts pointed towards the involvement of Indian Mujahideen and its operating commander, Yasin Bhatkal. It is an open secret that the IM has full support of Pakistan and the terror organisation dances to the tunes of its Pakistani masters.
And which Indian can forget the Kargil war of 1999? The list goes on and there seems to be no end in sight. The latest provocation by the Pakistani National Assembly which passed a resolution on the execution of Afzal Guru is another case in point. Though nothing is shocking any more as far as Pakistan is concerned but it does get a little difficult to digest when our neighbour condemns the hanging of the Parliament attack convict and demands that his body be returned to his family. For a nation which has always been in a state of denial, this is like finally accepting the truth that Afzal was its man and it is the perpetrator of terror in India. Wonder what happened to the bizarre term that they had coined – ‘non-state actors’.
The Indian Parliament did the right thing by terming the Afzal Guru incident as interference in India`s internal affairs, asking Pakistan to refrain from supporting extremist and terrorist elements. The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha also passed a resolution to declare that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, including PoK, was an integral part of India. However, the question to be asked is whether it is high time that we declare Pakistan as an enemy state and build consensus at the international level to declare Pakistan as a terrorist nation.
The Afzal Guru incident or the recent attack on a CRPF camp in Srinagar on March 13 in which five jawans were killed and in which all the fingers point towards our neighbour, as reiterated by our Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, is also in violation of the Simla (now Shimla) Agreement signed between India and Pakistan on July 02, 1972 after the 1971 war broke up Pakistan. It bound the two nations “to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations” and though there was no open mention of the Kashmir issue, there was an implicit understanding between the two that LoC should be converted into the international border. However, Pakistan continues to violate the LoC and seems to be in no mood for peace talks.
In a situation like this Simla Agreement too needs to be revisited by India as it has not led to strengthening of relations between the two but has only deteriorated over the years.
Yes, a friendly neighbour is in the interest of peace and trade in the subcontinent. But when Pakistan is not interested in holding our hands, then how prudent is it on our part to walk along the path of confidence building and dialogue with our neighbour? Pakistan will continue to consider J&K as a disputed territory, it will continue to send militants in the Kashmir Valley (supposedly more than 3000 militants are waiting across the border to cross the LoC, as per intelligence reports), it will continue to indulge in cross-border terrorism, and to give financial and moral support to groups like IM.
Given the above scenario, what is the point of hosting Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik on our soil who only came here to make a peculiar statement about Indian Army`s Captain Saurabh Kalia dying due to weather. Or, for that matter, letting Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf come to India even if he was on a personal visit. How can we forget the brutal mutilation and decapitation of two of our soldiers on the Line of Control by Pakistan as was proven by the intelligence agencies and the photos that our Army has.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been the frontrunner as far as carrying out the dialogue process with Pakistan is concerned. He even put his reputation on the firing line when he signed the Sharm-el-Sheikh joint statement with Pakistan in 2009 which had delinked the composite dialogue process from terrorism and the mention of Baluchistan in the joint statement. But it is time now for the Congress-led UPA government and the subsequent government which follows after the 2014 General Elections to do a rethink as far as its foreign policy with respect our neighbour is concerned.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)