OPINION

Why is India Still Talking to Pakistan

February 06, 2010
Sandeep Bansal

This is a billion perhaps even a trillion dollar question and  there are no clear answers. India suspended its talks with Pakistan after 26/11 attacks indefinitely asking Pakistan to stop terrorism from its soil and to punish the accused in the 26/11. Other than the arrest of Lakhvi, there is little to suggest that Pakistan has done anything on that front.

So why then have talks been restarted

I believe one of the major reasons for that are the recent developments at the Afghanistan Conference in London. With a struggling economy at home and lack of public support, Obama is in no mood to fight the War in Afghanistan indefinitely. At the London Conference, it has been decided that the moderate elements in the Taliban would offered a stake in Afghan Govt.

This is where Pakistan can play a major role. It can use its contacts in the Afghan Taliban to bring them to the negotiating table and thus ensure that the Americans can have an honorable exit. But this also means that Pakistan is going to bargain hard to keep India's role in the Afghan reconstruction to the bare minimum. There are some signs that show that the West has agree to it. Furthermore, there was a renewed International pressure on India to resume talks. Afraid of losing all the strategic gains made by India in Afghanistan by investing over $2 billion, it was thought that Indian interests could be best served by re-engaging with Pakistan.

Why are people opposing talks?

Several voices including those in the BJP are opposed to resumption of the composite dialogue process at this point of time. According to them Pakistan's Army continue to be India centric and have done little to contain the anti-India forces.

This is absolutely true and the Pakistan Army continues to view them as strategic assets. Recently LeT organized mass rallies at POK and Lahore. Infact the rally at Lahore was barely a few kms away from Punjab Assembly. The Prime Minister of Pakistan has publicly said that he cannot guarantee that there shall be no further attacks. But why can't he limit such anti-India forces. Is Pakistan really serious about peace?

The Pakistan argument to the above question is that Pakistan is fighting its own war on terrorism. It has already been said that the current operation would take atleast a year to defeat the TTP. At this point of time, the Army does not wants to open another front with the anti-India forces. The LeT, due to its anti-India stand enjoys massive support in Pakistan. LeT has limited global ambitions and is largely focused on India. It has not allied with Al-Quaida. It is because of these reasons that Pakistan isn't too keen on fighting them. There are merely arresting them for a while before releasing them again.

What to expect from talks

Personally, I don't have much hopes from the talks. Pakistan would not allow any progress to made unless Kashmir is discussed. It would raise ridiculous issues such as Balochistan and comparing it with terrorism in Kashmir. Balochistan and India do not share any border and the Baloch population is just 4% of the total population of Pakistan. Even if India ever wants, it cannot bleed Pakistan in the same way as Pakistan bleeds us. As far as the issue of Kashmir is concerned, it is highly unlikely that any solution that is acceptable to all the three parties can emerge anytime soon.

Secondly, I doubt whether Pakistan would really ever go after the likes of LeT or Jaish once its operations against TTP are complete. Once the American Guns in Afghanistan go silent and the US drones are withdrawn, I doubt if the US can exert sufficient pressure on Pakistan to act against the anti-India forces. Let us not forget that India tried to LeT banned by UN Security Council but it was always blocked by China (a Pakistan ally). I expect the Chinese to use their veto power to create more problems for India in the future.

So, if the situation demands that we talk to Pakistan then so let it be. But we should never trust this neighbor. India should build more dams in Kashmir, thereby creating a negotiating point for ourselves and make it difficult to them continue their proxy war. All major rivers in Pakistan pass through Kashmir this building dams can helps in driving our point through.

We must build up additional negotiating points. India has to be prepared to fight its war on its own. Aman Ki Asha can be done without Aman Ki Bhasha from your opponent. This is a game, and that the moment its our adversary who has the advantage.

A management professional.... interested in exploring views of fellow netizens through blogs. I read more than 30 blogs on diverse topics regularly. My personal blog is at http://sandywriter.blogspot.com/.
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