Look who's talking

Pakistan does not sponsor terrorism. We have their word for it!

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Ashish Sharma | February 9, 2010



Ignore the self-congratulatory statements from Pakistan soon after India offered to resume bilateral talks suspended in the aftermath of the 26/11 massacre in Mumbai. Turn a blind eye to the anti-India terrorist organisations that openly paraded in Pakistan on the day India sent out the invite. Pay little heed to Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi who claim that international pressure and Pakistan's resolve forced India back to the negotiating table. Try as you might, though, you will find it difficult to fathom the strategic wisdom of our government to willy-nilly absolve Pakistan government of sponsoring terrorism against India.

“Hostile groups and elements operate from across the border to perpetrate terrorist acts in our country. The state of Jammu & Kashmir bears the brunt of the acts of these groups,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in his address at the chief ministers' conference on internal security on Sunday. What the prime minister did not care to detail was his government's failure to bring perpetrators of the 26/11 massacre to justice because of systematic stonewalling by Pakistan government. Speaking as he did just days after his yet unexplained turnaround on the talks, the prime minister appeared to be making a clear distinction between Pakistan-based anti-India terrorist groups and the government across the border. Home Minister P Chidambaram referred to the terrorist groups as well and, much like the prime minister, took care to not blame the Pakistan government either.

Does it really serve India's strategic interest to absolve Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism? What do we hope to achieve by talking to a country that claims little responsibility over what happens within its own territory? Would Pakistan, or any other country for that matter, accept such a farce if positions were to be reversed?

Whatever the government's motivations or calculations, diplomacy cannot forever be treated as a substitute for self-interest.

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