INDIAN ‘MUNICH’ AT HAVANA?
"Human blunders…usually do more to shape history
human wickedness." A.J.P. Taylor
Roughly around the same time when
Mumbai Police were unravelling the 7/11 train blasts case and pointing out the
clear leads to Pakistan
came the bolt from the blue in terms of Indo-Pak
agreement to establish a joint mechanism to fight terror. Terror
that is being unleashed by Pakistani establishment against India
since 1980s, ie for 26 years. First it was the
pre-text of Khalistan and later Kashmir.
With one stroke Indians have managed to equate the victims of terrorism with
the principal originator of this scourge.
Appeasement policy of last several years ( under rule of different parties) is responsible for the
terrorism is instinctively understood by most Indians. Our leaders have been
offering concessions, at the expense of Indian citizens
life. Have we realized that we are
dealing with a state with a insatiable territorial
appetite. Appeasement is being packaged as a sensible "middle ground" that would be a highly sensible
foreign policy in the light of India's
economic problems. With the arrival of present UPA
govt. fear of nuclear war seems to have given way to the desire to avoid
conflict or violence altogether. While military inadequacy is often cited as
justification, little effort seems to be going in the direction of creation of
appropriate capability to deal with a rouge neighbour.
The Indian people are perceived as
totally war weary and generally pacifists.
Examples are various TV
debate, Peace Ballot and various elections in which this is not
an issue at all. Indian indifference
towards various terrorist acts, all the crowds at Sonia Gandhi’s meetings , politicians have the impression that "the
country would not allow us to take drastic action in what they regard as a
global problem." Hence they geared their foreign and defence policy towards their perceived
sense of public opinion.
Such conclusions are debatable.
TV debates are openly rigged by leftist and pseudo Peaceniks. Most opinion
polls show that the people would support a strong line against terrorism. .
Mystery behind the
Most security analysts in India
were mystified by the sudden about turn of our PM on the issue of Pak sponsored
terrorism in India.
Just as the gory details of Pakistani involvement in 1993 Mumbai blasts were
being proved in court of law, the police and intelligence agency had found
definite leads to 7/11 train blasts that led to Pakistan.
At this stage the
Indian PM agreed to have a joint mechanism with Pakistan
to tackle terror. But Musharraf capers in the US has
solved that mystery. First is the PM’s rather cautious tone at the CM’s conclave in Nainital shows
that he himself does not believe that much would come out of this initiative.
As a starter, India
would ask for Dawood and Azhar
Mehmood ( the Jaish E Mohammad chief) and Pakistan
has already refused, even without us asking. But the Havana
declaration did have a salutary effect in Pakistan.
Prior to Havana,
Musharraf was under tremendous domestic pressure
after the killing of Akbar Ahmed Bugti,
failure to amend ‘Hudood law’ (
that punishes rape victim for adultery unless she can produce four male
Muslims as eyewitness) and opposition getting together. The life line thrown by
Indian PM has certainly bolstered his position in Pakistan,
for there is now a genuine peace constituency there. Musharraf
wasted no time in claiming it as a diplomatic victory of sorts. But our PM was
obviously aware of pitfalls and Musharraf’s game plan
in US, for despite being at virtual doorstep of US, he skipped the UN General
Assembly session. Then why did a sceptical Prime Minister do a ‘Munich’
at Havana? (
Munich Sep 1938 when Hitler outmanoeuvred Neville Chamberlain).
The answer to this ‘mystery’ is
to be found in the fact that today the Americans desperately need Musharraf. With enough on their plate in Iraq,
the US has no
stomach for facing another front in Pakistan.
Over the years Musharraf has succeeded in selling the
idea that only he can prevent
‘Talibanisation’ of Pakistan.
This was witnessed by me and Lt.
General Eric Vas even in April 2000. During our discussions with chief advisor
on South Asia, he constantly brought up the point that New
Delhi must help Musharraf
consolidate his power and he is the only chance to stop radicalisation of Pakistan.
Interestingly at that very time, in another room, this same person was having a
Lt. Gen Mehamood ( the then ISI
chief who was later sacked due to his alleged links to Al Quiada)
for he would every now and then would flit in and out of the room. The US
establishment regards Musharraf as ‘their’ man in Pakistan.
With the Havana agreement, the
Indian PM has probably collected an IOU from the Americans to be en-cashed
elsewhere, may be on nuclear deal?
There is a precedent to this kind
of real politik. Readers may recall that post nuclear
tests in June 1998 Pakistan
was in dire economic straits. India
( despite false dooms day predictions by some economic
writers) on the other hand had been able to ride the storm of economic
sanctions and actually got greater inflow of foreign exchange through the
‘Resurgent India Bonds’. At this time Mr. Vajpayee bailed out Pakistan
by importing sugar worth $200 million.
The real question is will India
also pay as heavy a price for the ‘Munich’
as the British did?