Hindustan Times, 22 Aug 2013
debate over our Pakistan Policy swings between two extremes of jingoism and
over-enthusiasm affording us little opportunity to examine on merits the peace
proposals which are conceptualized through track two diplomatic channels. India
While during track two dialogue Indian side has repeatedly rejected Pakistan’s proposals of “redrawing of borders” and “joint administration of Kashmir valley”, the idea of making the LoC “irrelevant” has fascinated many in India.
It has often been argued that India-Pak peace process shall be de-linked from terrorism as various terrorist groups operating from Pak soil have vested interests in sabotaging it. Though there may be some truth in this but without going into debate surrounding this argument we shall take it up on practical terms. Making borders irrelevant for achieving peace in
involves withdrawal of both the armies from LoC and relaxation of restrictions
on free movement of people across the LoC. Such a scenario will be disadvantageous
to India as long as terrorist infrastructure remains intact on Pakistan’s side
of LoC. Pakistan will be able to pursue its strategic aims in Kashmir valley by
unleashing the jehadi machine it controls as well as by stoking trouble through
separatists in Kashmir valley who are increasingly working in synchronization
with ISI’s policies and openly sharing stage with jehadists like Hafiz Saeed.
Out of the four wars
Pakistan fought with India,
three broke out due to Pakistan’s
attempts to militarily redraw its borders with , either directly or through
its proxies. While in 1947 India Pakistan
pushed tribals into Kashmir valley, in 1965
Pak Army itself came dressed as ‘Rajakars’. Kargil war also was a Pak Army-
Mujahideen joint operation to shift the LoC. Even in Siachen we had a close
shave in 1984 when an intelligence tip-off alerted us just in time about
Pakistani plans to occupy the glacier in a Kargil kind of perfidy.
As all these attempts failed badly, Gen Musharraf started to lure
into this “irrelevant border”
trap. Indian leadership encouraged by deescalating militancy in India Kashmir and fall in cross-border infiltration attempts
after 2003 ceasefire has been responsive to this proposal.
The reliability of diplomatic accords which we sign with
has always been poor. Pakistan has always
flouted Shimla agreement, buried the Lahore Joint Statement in Kargil and
continues to flout Jan 2004 joint statement. Pakistan will miss no opportunity to
exploit an irrelevant LoC by pushing in jehadis, stoking secessionism and again
calling for international intervention. Pakistan
Dismantling of terrorist infrastructure on Pak soil must remain necessary pre-condition of any meaningful and sustainable dialogue. Lasting peace like an embryo must pass through sequential stages. Any attempt to change the sequence is sure to result in disaster.
(The writer is a national security analyst.)