Friday, December 7, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Afghanistan without Taliban shadow: India’s options in J&K

I must compliment Mr Hari Jaisingh for the thoughtful article on Afghanistan "Afghanistan without Taliban shadow" (Nov 30). Pakistan has given the USA all the help that it wanted, in that it gave bases as well as logistic support to the US Army/Air Force and Navy and condemned the Taliban. Pakistan did so to keep an eye on the J&K problem so that the USA gives Pakistan necessary help.

The Indian government was correct in offering verbal assurances to the USA to improve mutual relations keeping in view the Pak-China axis. Unfortunately, some Indian politicians and intellectuals react sharply even if a US aircraft is given refueling facility in an Indian air base. The Indian government feels helpless in such circumstances. If the USA does not condemn Pakistan in cross-border terrorism in J&K, we Indians would condemn the USA. However, in international politics, there are no free lunches. Our politicians should understand it.

MAJ GEN RAJENDRA NATH (retd), Chandigarh

India's options: Pakistan's recognition of the Taliban, its active and direct military support to the Taliban malitia in the current Afghanistan war and calendestine links of Pak nuclear scientists with maverick terrorist bin Laden to help him acquire nuclear devices are ample testimony of the fact that Pakistan is the epicentre of international terrorism. One hopes that the USA takes note of it, though for the present, Washington needs Islamabad for its war in Afghanistan.

In the present international scenario, recasting of our foreign policy and overhauling our diplomacy to counter the gameplan of Pakistan to wage a proxy war in Kashmir is the need of the hour. Time is ripe now to solve the Kashmir imbroglio through proactive policy and hot pursuit so that the unfinished task of annexing PoK is completed once for all and further bloodshed in Kashmir stopped. This needs a strong political will and a result-oriented approach. Mere poetry and oratory will not work.

WG CDR GURMAIL SINGH (retd), Chandigarh


Follow US policy: The ousting of the Taliban from Afghanistan offers us the most opportune time to catch the bull by the horn. We must follow the US approach i.e "those who support terrorism against us must be prepared to face the consequences.” We must also track terrorists and terrorism against us wherever it takes place.


Test for diplomacy: We must play an active role in Afghanistan's post-Taliban dispensation. The USA & Pak should not be allowed to dominate and steal the show. This is time for our leadership to be alert and active to work for a broad-based, progressive, democratic, secular government in Afghanistan. Here lies the test of our diplomatic performance.

PROF. K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar

Fight it out: To put an end to militancy in Kashmir, India will have to fight it out with Pakistan on its own as Pakistan is hell-bent on keeping militancy alive in Kashmir to divert the attention of its people from the numerous internal problems with which it and its people are beset with. And perhaps India will have to toe the line of America if it is to keep Pakistan away from Kashmir. Stability or instability in Afghanistan is no guarantee that Pakistan will stop fomenting trouble in J&K.


US help: India should realise that the USA would never help it in its endeavour to combat terrorism and that too against Pakistan, which is its all-time friend. The Indian government should take stern steps to eradicate terrorism on a permanent basis. It should not look for any foreign help. It is India's problem and it would have to fight the same on its own. Sooner it does, better it would be.

D. P. JINDAL, Mandi Gobindgarh

A soft state: Kashmir is the classic example of India being a soft-state. India's status quoism since 1947 in spite of it being attacked in Kashmir by the Talibanised forces nurtured consistently by Pakistan since its inception is a clear-cut proof of it.


Global terrorism: The USA has no doubt won the battle against the Taliban but not the war against terrorism for which it has to go a long way. Washington has to open a wider aperture in its policy to combat the scourge of global terrorism. Unlike in the pas, it should now conduct itself in the fast changing global scenario with much thought and deep foresight. After all, terrorism is terrorism whether it is in Srinagar or in New York.


Don't wait: India should not wait for Pakistan to relent. Every nation is duty-bound to protect its borders and internal security. America has set up an example. Every nation should take a lesson from it. India's defence forces are strong enough for the purpose. There should be no doubt on most disciplined and dedicated rough and tough Indian forces. India should take benefit of anti-terrorism sentiments prevalent all our world and strike immediately without wasting more time.


No option: There is no option other than to strike the shelters of militancy across the border and this can only be done if we have today a politician of Sardar Patel's calibre and not the soft leadership like the one we have today. Pakistan is capable of manipulating any government in Afghanistan in its own favour against the policy of India.


Assembly sessions

I was more amused than enlightened to read the middle “Assembly session or choreographed theatre” by Mr Ram Varma (Dec 3). While Mr Ram Varma may try to come across as a wise and well-meaning person having great concern for democratic values, his loyalty to Mr Bansi Lal is an open secret betrayed even by the present middle him. While tracing the political history of ills affecting the body politic of Haryana he has conveniently forgotten that the shortest session in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha was held on June 21, 1986, which lasted only one hour six minutes when he was the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr Bansi Lal.

He opens his middle by condemning the short session of two-day Haryana Assembly held on November 7 and quickly labels it as a “quick-fix” to save the constitutional edifice resting on the provision that not more than six months should intervene between two sessions. While this was surely true during the period he remained Chief Secretary, his comment is unwarranted for the current session since this session had been held after only four and a half months, the last session having concluded on June 12, 2001.

He is right in his opinion about lip service being paid to this important provision perhaps because the first session called during his tenure as Chief Secretary was on January 19, 1998, just four days before the said provision would have made the constitutional edifice fall as the previous session had ended on July 23, 1997. The next session during his tenure was called on July 21, 1998, just a day before the constitutional heavens would have fallen, even on him since as Chief Secretary he was the ex-officio Secretary to the Cabinet whose duty it was to call the session, since the previous session had ended on January 22, 1998. His opinion was fortified as even the next session was called on January 28, 1999, when even an hour’s delay could have invited constitutional trouble since the previous session had ended on July 28, 1998. Of course, the session after that was called when only five months had elapsed on June 25, 1999, but thereby hangs another tale, the session having been necessitated by the government of Mr Bansi Lal being asked to prove the majority on the floor of the House thanks to the withdrawal of support by the BJP.

Thus Mr Ram Varma is right in that opinion but he should not assume that others also lead their lives by the opinion he has acquired from his political master. All your readers know that Mr O.P. Chautala had called this session on November 8 (and not November 7 as wrongly mentioned by Mr Ram Varma) after having publicly invited the Congress to fix the date of the session for over two months. When the Congress, despite seeking convening of the session on the issue of house tax, failed to fix the date, Mr O.P. Chautala unilaterally called the session though the previous session had ended only four and a half months ago on June 12, 2001.

May I also remind Mr Ram Varma that while agreeing with Mr Bhajan Lal on subterfuge and guile curtailing the duration of session he loses sight of the fact that the second shortest session of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha after the June 21, 1986 session was held on July 13, 1992, which lasted only for a day when Mr Bhajan Lal was the Chief Minister.


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