Brahma Chellaney shares some important points on what issues face India in its Pakistan policy. He is of the view that India has presented itself as a weak nation and has abandoned the vigor to go after the main issues, including terrorism. It is a shame that in a hurry to resume talks India has delinked them from Terrorism itself.
The Pakistani military is drawing encouragement from two factors. The first factor is that the US-Pakistan relationship, after being on the boil for more than a year, has gradually returned to normalcy. That the US-Pakistan rift has healed is apparent from Washington’s resumption of large-scale military aid and its coddling of the Pakistan army and ISI.
US aid to Pakistan is now at a historic high — at more than $3 billion a year. US policy, because of the exigencies of an exit strategy from Afghanistan, has permitted political expediency to trump long-term interests vis-a-vis Pakistan. The US has allowed even a key issue to fade away: how was Osama bin Laden able to hide deep inside Pakistan? The reason for that is the same as to why the US didn’t pursue the AQ Khan case.
The second factor is the series of unilateral political concessions by India, including delinking dialogue from terrorism, and recognising Pakistan, the sponsor of terror, as a victim of terror. Whereas US policy has increased the Pakistani military’s room for maneuver against India, Indian policy has both solidified Pakistani reluctance to bring the Mumbai-attack masterminds to justice and emboldened the Pakistani military to commit yet another act of aggression.
India has considerably eased pressure on Pakistan, both on the Mumbai-attack issue and on Hafiz Saeed, the militant leader who still preaches terrorism against India. India has also pursued a host of goodwill gestures, including resuming high-level political exchanges and cricketing ties and introducing a less-restricted visa regime for Pakistanis. All these moves, unfortunately, have sent the wrong message to Islamabad.
Being nice with a determined adversary in the hope that this will change its behavior is not strategy.
India needs more solid engagement of the world and of its own resources. It cannot just sit on one side and see things go out of hand everytime.