Saturday, July 28, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


Agra summit: every dark cloud has a silver lining

THE Agra summit reviewed against the Simla agreement and the Lahore declaration need not be pooh-poohed for the stiff postures adopted by the leaders of the two countries because not only every dark cloud has a silver lining, but also after the Kargil fiasco the summit for the first time brought the two countries face to face with the basic prevarications that stalled the joint declaration towards which people from both countries were eagerly looking forward.

The summit has definitely opened a new vista along with a very bright prospect that ushers both countries towards the denouncement of the political and militaristic bog, and having addressed themselves over the outstanding issues, including Kashmir. So that the two countries with their scant resources can care for the world’s largest chunk of population which need better facilities in education, healthcare and a secure future.



The government must focus its attention on the genuine grievances of the Kashmiri people, whose legitimate grouses against the Centre need effective redressal with due concern and undiluted sympathetic attitude. This is possible only if the political leadership of the moderates from the entire cross-section of all political parties, could be rescued from the ravages of militancy. Such parties, with genuine concern for the welfare of the masses, particularly youth, need to be provided with political and moral support in addition to the release of liberal grants for the rehabilitation of the disgruntled youth who have taken to aberated paths both socially as well as psychologically. If this is achieved with sincerity, it will prove a bulwark against the trans-border indoctrination supporting cessation, violence and the gun culture.


Diplomacy of back-tracking: This has reference to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s article “A General’s warped history lecture" (July 20). When Islamabad talks of the so-called right to self-determination for the Kashmiris, it is a direct meddling in the internal affairs of our country.

If the present government in Islamabad does not recognise the two previous agreements — Simla summit and Lahore declaration — any future government in Pakistan may or may not recognise any treaty signed with the present ruler. This will set a wrong precedent.

IQBAL SINGH, Bijhari (Hamirpur)

A wrong perception: Behind the mindset of Pakistani officials and people there is a perception that Pakistan today is negotiating from a position of strength and that it is very close to annexing Kashmir and thus dismember India. This perception may not be correct but that is irrelevant.

Under the circumstances it will be foolhardy to expect Pakistan to withdraw cross-border terrorism. Therefore, no useful purpose is likely to be achieved by Prime Minister Vajpayee’s next visit to Pakistan. To succeed in such a scenario, it is necessary for the Indian security forces to effectively demonstrate to Pakistanis that India has the upper hand in the valley and for the Indian polity to clearly show that they are ready for a long haul and have strong resolve that they will not allow Pakistan to devavour Kashmir whatever maybe the costs and consequences.


Musharraf’s spots: A leopard does not change its spots. It can’t even if it wants. Whether Musharraf will change his spots, only time will tell. What prompted Mr Vajpayee to raise this unscrupulous man to the dizzy heights of a Head of State is a mystery. Was he on the lookout for something dramatic and spectacular to refurbish his own soiled image after the Tehelka exposures and the BJP’s poor showing in the recent assembly elections?

A. S. JAMWAL, Jammu


Common culture: The people are really disappointed over the outcome of the Agra summit. They have many things in common: language, culture and memories of the past. To millions of people on both sides of the border, not Kashmir but poverty is the core issue. The people’s desire to live in peace must not be ignored by the rulers of India and Pakistan.


Media tamasha: Whatever both sides may say, the Agra talks proved full of sound and furry signifying nothing. Definitely too much media involvement proved counter-productive. It appeared, as if it is a festive occasion for the electronic media. Panelists were sitting round the clock and indulging in discussion without knowing what is actually taking place and uselessly debating, trying to secure points over each other. Sadly, an initiative has been lost due to over enthusiastic electronic media.

JYOTIKA MATHUR, Ambala cantt

Look beyond Agra: General Musharraf has declared the Simla accord and the Lahore pact as unacceptable. There is thus no shame for India to rescind the Indus Water Treaty because of the compulsions created by Pakistan itself.

K. L. NOATAY, Shimla

Vajpayee can deliver: I beg to differ with those who say General Musharraf overstretched himself and lost. It was India that fumbled. General Musharraf went home as a hero and Mr Vajpayee is a lost figure nowadays.

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala

Core issue: It is really interesting that Musharraf has discovered a core issue after 54 years of the creation of Pakistan.

S. K. CHIBBER, Dalhousie


Lahore declaration

India and Pakistan signed the Lahore declaration on February 21, 1999, and not February, 2001, as inadvertently published in "The Agra summit factsheet" on this page on Friday.

It was a farce

You have failed to make a case for peace as an objective observer in your editorial. The Agra summit was a farce. The Indian approach to the Kashmir crisis is like that of Israel or the US: “It is my way or highway”.

Mr Vajpayee’s insistence on resolving cross-border terrorism first is a typical diversionary, evasive and dishonest tactic that the Indian leaders have been using for years. Are you telling me that these leaders would have been willing to discuss Kashmir before cross-border terrorism started in 1989? Of course not. It is most unfortunate that even the media is following the official line.

Let’s be honest enough to admit first that on August 15, 1947 Kashmir was not a part of India. Second, we promised a plebiscite after the Kashmir raja was coerced into accepting Indian rule. Third, Kashmir became a state much later in 1964. In short, Kashmir became a part of India under rather fuzzy conditions.

All this of course does not mean that Pakistan had any right to Kashmir in the first place. The much-touted case of India rushing to come to the aid of Kashmir with pre-conditions in 1947 could be compared to say the USA telling France during WW II that it would send troops to fight the Germans only if France became a US state.

What we need is a statesman like Nelson Mandela, and Mr Vajpayee is no statesman.



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