Friday, September 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



India, America and Pakistan: mixed signals, new pointers from New York

Hari Jaisingh's recent visit to New York provided him a good opportunity to assess Indo-US relations from close quarters. In the past India has had a complex relationship with America — a deeply ambivalent relationship marked by a mixture of love and hate. However, after Mr Clinton's visit to India during his second term noticeable changes were set in motion and it was hoped that the renewed Indo-US relations would spell the end of ambivalence. But this remained a distant dream.

In courting the Pakistani ruling elite, Washington has been in the past (as well as at present) grossly over-estimating the capacity of the generals, and the feudal and tribal chiefs, to rein in the terrorist subversives, who operate in the name of religion with flagrant official abetment, indeed with official budgetary support. It is gratifying to learn that Mr Vajpayee has vigorously tried to persuade President Bush that they are all part of the same political family, who are together taking the USA and the democratic world for a ride.

But this does not appear to be sufficient. India will have to essay a course of diplomacy quite different from the one it has traditionally pursued. This calls for a vastly different policy imagination and dimension from that prevailing. A significant element of policy under Mr Vajpayee is seeking Washington's active (not merely verbal) support against Islamabad's subversive activities in Kashmir and its harbouring and guiding international terrorism networks.

India and the USA have common security interests for ensuring peace, stability and economic development in the Asian region. Both should be interested in safeguarding the trade routes and the sea lanes linking Asia with the Far East and the West. There is a common interest in safeguarding fair access to natural and energy resources in the Asian region. There is the shared interest of sustaining democracies, respecting human rights and protecting human environment. Despite differences of opinion on the working of the WTO, both share the desire for a workable and fair international economic and trading order. There are substantive matters which can attract non-polemical discussion and if agreements emerge, it would lead to a durable Indo-US relationship.



No more hue and cry: The first phase of elections — in most sensitive constituencies of J&K — has gone well with only sporadic incidents of violence. Our security network deployed to avert the impending terrorist threat has conducted well by plugging every loophole — demoralising the Pakistan's designs. It is hoped that the remaining poll phases in J&K will be violence free and more and more electorates — similarly as in the first phase — will turn up for casting their votes.

Now the nation can hope that our security forces can meet any violent threat. The nation must not forget that when Pakistan launched an aggression, Lal Bahadur Shastri had raised the slogan: "Force will be met with force." The time has come to redeem this spirit.

Like Islamabad, New Delhi is not a "puppet" in the hands of any world power. The USA is a votary of democracy in the world. Any form of aid — arms or monetary — to Pakistan will certainly be used against India to prolong the proxy war. Why is America aiding a country that is ruled by a military dictator?

IQBAL SINGH, Bijhari (Hamirpur)

Pak-centric obsessions: Hari Jaisingh has made the most timely and pragmatic suggestion that India needs "to come out of its old Pakistan-centric obsessions and explore new areas of relationship and cooperation with various countries."

No doubt the Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in J&K and the USA's biased approach in favour of Pakistan are the harsh realities, but at the same time let us also not forget that India's growing economic potential and technical strength are the factors the USA cannot easily overlook.

If India needs support, but no orders or instructions from the USA in eliminating the menance of terrorism, the USA also realises the significance of building stronger bilateral economic and strategic relations with India, particularly when China and Japan are its strong competitors in the Asian market.


US bias: There is no doubt that the Prime Minister is an excellent expert in exposing the misdeeds and manipulations of Pakistan's President at the UN where he spelled the most pending problems like a dignified diplomat. But as we have read so often that you can take the horse to the river, but cannot compel it to drink water. This applies very much to the US-Pak relations since 1947.

The US leadership, barring of course the late President Kennedy, has adopted an ardent approach to support whatever Pakistan does against India, irrespective of being right and wrong so far it favours the interests of the USA.


Vajpayee disappoints

Prime Minister Vajpayee's address at the UN, especially his rejoinder on the Kashmir issue, was disappointing. He should have told the assembly that the Shimla agreement as signed by the two Prime Ministers was the latest and the only valid agreement on the subject. Being latest, it necessarily supers edes all earlier agreements on the subject. General Musharraf, he should have stated, might find it convenient to ignore the agreement; India cannot, because it was after the Pakistan PM put his signatures on that agreement that India returned to Pakistan all the Pak territories our forces had conquered.

He should have told the assembly that Pakistan had denied its hand in the attack on J&K in 1948, as it denies its hand in cross-border terrorism today. Then it was blamed on the so-called tribals, as it is blamed on the so-called freedom fighters now. Pakistan was telling lies then, as it is telling lies now.

Nehru had tried to build his image as a world leader at the cost of national interest; Vajpayee tried to look a gentleman at the same cost. Talking in Hindi at the cost of effectiveness was also a wrong decision. How can Hindi prosper, if India does not?

L.R. SHARMA, Jalandhar

Diplomatic victory

Mr Vajpayee deserves kudos for displaying a bold posture at New York where he made it clear that the international coalition against terrorism had belied our expectations as very little had been done to pressurise Islamabad to see reason. He unmasked the duplicity and hypocrisy of Musharraf, who on the one hand claims to be an active partner in the coalition and on the other hand he continues to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy against India.

It is a great diplomatic victory. We have come out successful in foiling Islamabad’s crude attempts to mislead the world community and in conveying to the world leaders that Musharraf has on his side neither facts now the law, and ours is the voice of sanity.

K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar

Army rebuttal

Apropos the item "Kargil type situation emerging: militants build concrete bunkers in Lolab valley" (Sept 14). No concretised bunkers exist in the forested areas of Lolab and the adjoining heights and ridgelines surrounding the Lolab valley. The thick jungles and the adjoining heights are regularly sanitised by the security forces. In fact no concretised bunkers, constructed and used by terrorists, exist in the Kashmir valley.

There could be shallow, temporary hideouts made of wooden planks and branches, used by terrorists in groups of three/five to escape the dragnet of the security forces. The forested areas like Rajwar are regularly sanitised. That is why a number of terrorists had also been killed in this area in various encounters in the past.

As regards the possession of anti-aircraft guns, it is clarified that the security forces have no such reports. Also there was no attack on the funeral procession of Mushataq Ahmed Lone. The comparison of the concrete bunkers with the ones discovered in the Tora Bora area of Afghanistan appears to be a figment of the writer's imagination.



Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |