People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIV

No. 10

March 07, 2010

Editorial

 

On Indo-Pak Talks

 

THE resumption of talks between India and Pakistan at the level of foreign secretaries on February 25, 2010 comes after the four rounds of composite dialogue between the two countries which were severed in 2007 following heightened activity of cross border terrorism in India. Reports suggest that this meeting is to be followed up with another in Islamabad at the same level in March 2010. By this it is now clear that India has correctly decided to press its case across the dialogue table for firm action on terrorism. India has reportedly conveyed to Pakistan that the steps taken by the latter to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks to book in an expeditious and transparent manner did not go far enough to unveil the full conspiracy behind this attack. Further, India has pressed the need for Pakistan to take effective action against organisations such as Jamaat ud Dawa and others who have openly declared an agenda of violence and terrorism against India. Despite repeated assurances by Pakistan and its political leadership that its soil would not be allowed to be used for terrorist activities against India, the infrastructure of terrorism that continues to exist in the territory of Pakistan has not been dismantled yet. India has correctly reiterated that the composite dialogue process can only be restored when such measures are undertaken by Pakistan and an improved atmosphere of trust and confidence is created between both the countries.

These talks have resumed despite the concerted efforts made by various quarters that provide mileage for terrorism. The lack of a dialogue between the two sides interpreted as India’s reluctance to engage with Pakistan has often been used to detract and dilute Pakistan’s efforts on its western borders against the activities of the Taliban. The horrendous killings of Indians in Kabul last week, in the background of the earlier attacks on the Indian embassy, has shown that the Taliban are as opposed to India as the Lashkar e Taiba or other terrorist groups. This resumption of dialogue in Pakistan has called the latest bluff on tackling the Taliban on its western front.

Informing the parliament, the minister for external affairs has said that the “two sides held a frank, constructive and useful meeting.” Further, the parliament was informed that, “if we are to build upon the past discussions held between the two countries at an appropriate time, trust and confidence between the two countries must be restored. The sincere and genuine efforts made in the past years in this direction by India have, however, been repeatedly thwarted by acts of terrorism.” Further, it was stated that “Government is convinced that we must not shut the door on dialogue with Pakistan and that such a dialogue if it gathers momentum holds tremendous potential for the progress and well being for the people in our region. This however comes with the important caveat that “India’s engagement with Pakistan will be predicated as it has been since the Mumbai terrorist attack, on the response of Pakistan to our core concerns on terrorism.”

Soon after these talks the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Saudi Arabia has generated a controversy with the junior minister for external affairs, shooting off his mouth once again in cyberspace suggesting that India is seeking the role of an interlocutor from Saudi Arabia. India has firmly maintained all along that the issues between India and Pakistan are entirely bilateral and can only be resolved bilaterally without broking any interference by any third party. India needs to ensure that this understanding is not breached. The prime minister on his part on the return journey from Saudi Arabia told the media that he did not seek anything else from Saudi Arabia except that the latter uses its good offices “to persuade Pakistan to desist” from the path of permitting terrorist activities against India from its soil.

Terrorism of any variety is simply unacceptable for India and there can be no compromise on the efforts required to exterminate this menace. Fight against terrorism is non-negotiable. Through dialogue Pakistan must be told this firmly to take firm action against terrorism emanating from its soil against India.

(March 3, 2010)