M A I N   N E W S

India, Pak may not share hardcore intelligence
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 19
It is unlikely that India and Pakistan will share any useful intelligence with each other as and when a joint anti-terrorism mechanism comes into existence.

The unprecedented step announced in a joint statement after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf met in Havana will result in a situation which has not happened since the Partition.

The broad contours of the mechanism will be decided by the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan who are expected to meet here next month to resume dialogue.

They will decide at what level this mechanism should be held and where the first meeting should take place.

An important point under the mechanism will be an agreement in principle that both countries will not indulge in blame game in the aftermath of a high-profile terrorist attack but raise issues under this forum.

The mechanism is expected to be a venting ground where the two countries’ security agencies discuss their grievances. It is unlikely that there will be any hardcore intelligence sharing.

The reasons for this are operational. Whenever New Delhi has shared any “evidence” with Pakistan on the latter’s export of terrorism into India, Pakistan has used the exercise for knowing which loopholes are to be plugged. As a result, the ISI operations have become foolproof.

Moreover, mutual suspicion will ensure that neither side shares any worthwhile intelligence.

The out-of-the-box idea of a joint mechanism for combating terror seems to be mooted by India. General Musharraf agreed as it gave an elbow room to manoeuvre in view of increasing problems at home and the situation in Balochistan.

When Dr Manmohan Singh and General Musharraf met in Havana, they had to do some out-of-the-box thinking. Therefore, they condemned all acts of terrorism, agreed that terrorism was a scourge that needed to be effectively dealt with and decided to put in place a mechanism to implement counter-terrorism initiatives.

The mechanism is yet another trial balloon which will, at best, test atmospherics, and at worst, result in a one-step-forward-two-steps-backward situation. A question that the Indian strategic establishment is asking is: will Pakistan cooperate with India on handing over Dawood Ibrahim and United Jehad Council chairman Syed Salahuddin?



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