Sunday, September 10, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

US Diary
Of Musharraf, Kashmir & diplomacy
From Hari Jaisingh

NEW YORK: From conflicts and subversion to the intricacies of diplomacy, Gen Pervez Musharraf is having the first taste of global diplomacy in New York. He arrived here two days before Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee landed in the USA’s swinging city and is likely to remain here for the next three days or so. Selling of the Pakistani line on Kashmir apart, his main concern seems to be to establish legitimacy for his military regime. How far he will succeed in this task is difficult to say at this juncture. But then he is trying hard. We can’t fault him on this count.

He spoke at the General Assembly on the very first day of the three-day UN Millennium Summit. As expected, he lived up to Pakistan’s sole obsession of Kashmir. He probably does not seem to realise that most diplomats at the UN are increasingly getting bored with Pakistan’s jehad and its continuous tirade against India on Kashmir.

To say this is not to deny the fact that Islamabad too has its friends and promoters, tied either on religious bonds or strategic considerations.


General Musharraf has brought only a small team of officials and media personnel. Probably 20 in all. Apparently he wants to create the impression of austerity back home. He is staying at the PIA-run Roosevelt Hotel on the ground of economy! Not a bad thing at all. I only wish General Musharraf gives up his unproductive proxy war in Kashmir and tries out the advantages of peace, cooperation and economic well-being. But then this will be too much to expect from the General who has his own set agenda to destabilise India. Well, herein lies the Pakistani tragedy!


It is no secret that the Clinton regime has been pressing the military regime in Islamabad for a detailed road map for a quick restoration of democracy in Pakistan. Naturally, the ruling clique in Pakistan is desperate and wants a win for the Republicans in the November US election. They are probably nearly convinced that it is futile to curry favour with the Democrats, for they fear that a Gore win will mean a continuation of President Clinton’s policies. Therefore, they wish for a Republican victory. Even otherwise, they think that the Republicans had been generally soft on military regimes.

No wonder, Pakistan Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi has been cultivating the electoral establishment of Republican candidate George Bush. She has even invited his chief foreign policy advisor, Dr Condoleeza Rice, for a briefing on Pakistan’s problems!


It is rather too early to predict the outcome of the US presidential poll. But one thing is sure: India will click well whichever party occupies the White House. I understand that Indian leaders have the best of equations with both Democrat and the Republican candidate. While Vice-President Al Gore is hosting a lunch in honour of the Indian Prime Minister, Governor George Bush rang up Mr Vajpayee on Friday and spoke to him for 10 minutes.

In this context, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh made it clear to Indian journalists on Friday that “India’s relations with the USA are not individual or government oriented. They are based on common goals and interests”. He made it a point to repeat the Prime Minister’s declaration that “India and the USA are natural allies”. Indeed, looking at the current mood here, this is a fairly correct assessment of bilateral relations between the world’s two largest democracies.


Interestingly, Mr Jaswant Singh has repudiated emphatically what General Musharraf has been saying on Kashmir.

“Kashmir is not the case issue”, he states and adds that its “analogy to East Timor is untenable. East Timor was occupied temporarily. But Kashmir is an integral part of India and it is Pakistan which has occupied a part of the State”.

The External Affairs Minister was equally categorical on the question of jehad. “We refuse to accept the concept of jehad as a new instrument of foreign policy. If we accept it we would only be advocating global anarchy”.

Well done, Mr Jaswant Singh. What India needs is clarity of thoughts and concepts and conveying them clearly and emphatically.


Najma addresses UN

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 9 — For the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Mrs Najma Heptulla, it was a unique honour to address the World Millennium Summit on Friday in her capacity as the president of the governing council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

“We are also committed to allocating the resources which the United Nations and the other inter-governmental institutions need to accomplish their noble mission,” she said, while addressing the Millennium Summit.

She expressed unhappiness with the status of non-governmental organisation (NGO) given to IPU which, she said, was a unique instrument to relay the views of national parliaments.

Mrs Heptulla used the occasion to draw the attention of world leaders to the denial of visas by the USA to Yugoslavia and Cuba to participate in the presiding officers conference.

“The denial runs counter to the spirit on which the IPU and the UN are founded and is contrary to the principles of democracy.”                                             — A B


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