Engagement, not appeasement

Published: January 23, 2013

The writer is a senior journalist and has held several editorial positions including most recently at The Friday Times. He is currently senior adviser, outreach, at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute

Let’s get the baseline straight. Pakistan and India cannot afford a hot conflict. Anyone who thinks or advocates otherwise is either stupid or dishonest.

In Pakistan, we have a politico-military consensus on the following: we face an internal threat which also has linkages, at some levels, with external threats and we have to deal with it; we need zero conflict in the region; we have to normalise and develop meaningful relations with all the neighbours in and beyond the region; we have to focus on economic and social development.

This paradigm requires that we deal with India and Afghanistan, improving and normalising relations with both and expanding outwards to other states. The concept is necessitated by geography and demands that we leverage our placement on the map. For years we have talked about our strategic location. For years we have squandered the opportunities it offers us, turning it into a liability rather than using it as an asset.

Our location demands that we open up to the world; integration, not isolation, must be the thrust. If we are the strategic bridge then it should be clear that bridges work best when they link. They are useless when they don’t.

This is the straight line on the graph. In the real world there are always swings on the ideal line. That brings me to the recent, orchestrated flare-up in India against Pakistan. My use of  ‘orchestrated’ is considered. So here goes.

It will be instructive for a researcher to rewind to the first day when news came about an Indian raid across the Line of Control (LoC) at Haji Pir and then play forward what happened after that in India. This exercise will establish that while the Indian government did not react to the story in the opening phase, the Indian media and the Indian Army began to set the tone for Delhi and pressured the United Progressive Alliance government. In Pakistan, for days, initially, the media had no clue about what was going on.

Play out it did and while the Haji Pir aggression was pushed in the background, we got stories about what Pakistan had done by allegedly sneaking in a team to kill two Indian soldiers, one of whom was ‘beheaded’. Using classic propaganda techniques, the Indian media reduced the issue to the alleged beheading sans any reference to what had earlier happened and the fact that India has been violating the ceasefire agreement at places since last year. TV screens flared up. The Hindu right wing demanded Armageddon. Sane voices in the print were ignored, easy to do that because when it comes to Pakistan, there are very few sane voices in India to begin with.

The government of Dr Manmohan Singh, a walking corpse now, under pressure domestically for several reasons, buckled under. Dr Singh declared it was not business as usual; the normalisation process was hit; Pakistani hockey players were asked to leave; the same happened to Pakistani singers and showbiz people, etcetera. The details are available. Singh has since tried to feebly control damage but he is hardly in control.

Why did this happen? Firstly, unlike Pakistan, there is no real political consensus in India on normalising with Pakistan. Regardless of Pakistan’s concessions, and Pakistan has conceded almost everything India has demanded over the years — trade, investment, MFN without reference to disputes — India demands, though it won’t say so for obvious reasons, unconditional capitulation from Pakistan.

Secondly, India is conscious of, and worried about, Pakistan’s new foreign policy initiatives. For years, but more recently since Kargil, India had relied on painting Pakistan as a belligerent state, responsible for hers and South Asia’s woes. Pakistan’s aggressive diplomacy towards eradicating conflict runs totally contrary to how India wants to present Pakistan to score diplomatic points. Linked to this is the situation in Indian-Occupied Kashmir. In the 90s, India could move the issue away from its oppression of Kashmiris — which continues — to presenting it to the world as a terrorism problem. What to do now? Hot up the LoC, start crying infiltration to cover up its violations of the Line and blame Pakistan.

Thirdly, India is not very happy with Pakistan regaining its position in Afghanistan vis-a-vis the United States as well as the current Kabul government. New Delhi is also concerned about its influence and investment in Afghanistan post-2014. Neither was entirely benign. It helps to try and put Pakistan back in the doghouse.

Fourthly, it is interesting to note how the Indian military, in combination with the media, got into the play. Quite apart from the fact that it makes interesting study to note the Indian military’s rising influence over the years in policymaking — a point I have been making for several years now — the aggression shown first by the Indian Chief of Air Staff (CAS) and then by the COAS have other reasons.

India’s growth rate has gone down; it will fall further. The Indian military budget — maintenance and development — has been growing exponentially. Deeper pockets had allowed the Indian military to move from the labour-intensive to the capital-intensive model. That is under threat now.

There are acquisitions in the pipeline. With pockets shrinking, sceptics in India will question some spending and might even ask to slash some programmes. Militaries hate that. They need an excuse to defend allocations. For the Indian CAS, the Rafale fighter acquisition is crucial, which is why he chose to speak up on a minor tactical issue concerning ground forces at the LoC. [NB: Check facts on India’s military imports and modernisation from SIPRI, IISS and Jane’s.]

In an ironic way, India’s worry is a salute to Pakistan’s new policy, steered by the Foreign Office under the able guidance of Pakistan’s young foreign minister. That’s a separate topic to which we shall return another time. But here, it is important to note that despite India’s provocative behaviour, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has continued to keep her humour and the policy Pakistan has decided to pursue. This is precisely what the Pakistani media must do as well while countering the Indian propaganda. Equally, India must realise that full normalisation is a function of dispute resolution and engagement is not spelled ‘appeasement’, thank you.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2013.

Correction: In an earlier version of this article, India’s military imports were mistakenly mentioned as military exports. The error has been rectified. 

Reader Comments (69)

  • ashok sai
    Jan 23, 2013 - 12:02PM

    Is this a translated article from a Pakistani Urdu media ?

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Jan 23, 2013 - 12:26PM

    “Play out it did and while the Haji Pir aggression was pushed in the background, we got stories about what Pakistan had done by allegedly sneaking in a team to kill two Indian soldiers, one of whom was ‘beheaded’. Using classic propaganda techniques, the Indian media reduced the issue to the alleged beheading sans any reference to what had earlier happened and the fact that India has been violating the ceasefire agreement at places since last year. TV screens flared up. “

    Can Indians point out, how many LIES are there in the above passage.

    Should we consider the above article an opinion piece or a propaganda piece?

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  • Gratgy
    Jan 23, 2013 - 12:42PM

    and Pakistan has conceded almost everything India has demanded over the years — trade, investment, MFN without reference to disputes

    Sir, which trade, investment and MFN are you talking about??? Pakistan has conceded none of these.

    India has given MFN to you 15 years back, and now you consider reciprocation an “Appeasement”??

    Instead India did not object to Pakistan’s concessional agreement with US on Textiles and the new Visa policy for elders. Now that is what I would call Appeasement

    Considering your whole article is based on this premise…. rather misleading I would say.

    The problem is that Pakistan considers Concessions towards it as an “Entitlement” and Reciprocation as “Appeasement”

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  • ashish
    Jan 23, 2013 - 1:13PM

    this writer should read the other column written on ET, named ‘An unpatriotic column’.

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  • gp65 .
    Jan 23, 2013 - 1:13PM

    @Yoghurt lover: No need to be an Indian. There is another OpEd by the Executive Editor of Tribune that clearly and articulately expresses the Indian opinion.

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Jan 23, 2013 - 1:14PM

    India’s worry is a salute to
    Pakistan’s new policy, steered by the
    Foreign Office under the able guidance
    of Pakistan’s young foreign minister

    I wanted to give the article some intellectual consideration till I reached this line.

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  • apk
    Jan 23, 2013 - 1:34PM

    Trade and MFN status?

    Let’s talk about that when it is actually implemented.
    For now, the Pakistanis are only announcing liberalization measures, without actually implementing them, and playing the victim card.
    Mostly, these entire 2 years of CBMs has been a farce. Pakistan has not completely implemented even one measure.

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  • Jan 23, 2013 - 1:53PM

    @Yoghurt lover:

    There a newspaper called Pak Observer. You will see such propagandist stuff ALL the time there. Its really funny.

    You should have seen the editorials and articles when Osama was killed by the Navy Seals or when Kasab was admitted as a Pakistani by the Government itself after months of denial or any event which blows up in the face of extreme Right Wing. So, whenever such events take place I rush to the site and have a hearty laugh.

    English newspapers are read by a tiny, insignificant minority in Pakistan. They are mostly liberal, barring few cases like this guy. Urdu newspapers is where the fun is, supposedly.

    The articles like this give you a glimpse of what is printed in the rabidly anti-India, anti-America articles in the Urdu newspapers.

    I’ve written a big comment about the loopholes in the article. Hoping it will be printed. I am not calling this guy anti-India, but pro-Paksitan, not-neutral and irrationally nationalistic, even to the point of twisting and misrepresenting facts.

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  • Tony Singh
    Jan 23, 2013 - 1:55PM

    And add
    India must realise that full normalisation is a function of dispute resolution and engagement is not spelled ‘appeasement’, thank you.”
    The author must understand that engagement cannot be based on threat of nuclear strike. Mushraff tried that in Kargil and failed misrably. It also cannot be with the use of “non state” actors, fully supported by establishment, trying to create mayhem (Mumbai 26/11 – in case author needs to refresh his memory).
    This new India is indeed ready to face agression with agression.

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  • Naveed Ahmed
    Jan 23, 2013 - 2:06PM

    The article does seem biased towards Pakistan. Many points raised by the writer are dubious and can be argued and differed with. But would agree with the central theme that Pakistan is more aggressive in pursuing normalized relations with India. India not reciprocating back with the same fervor.

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  • Saima
    Jan 23, 2013 - 2:25PM

    @ashok sai:
    No, This is Just Reality portrayed by author.

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  • joy
    Jan 23, 2013 - 2:27PM

    after reading this column, I am reminded of a scene when the author appeared on NDTV wearing a T shirt with Pakistani cricket colours..when he was told that world-cup semi-final was still some days away, he sheepishly said, this was the shirt I got may hands on………remembering that scene and reading this column……need I say any more….
    …..Sir, an intellectual of your standing seems to have written it more in hate than anything else

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  • polwala
    Jan 23, 2013 - 2:29PM

    The author is wrong about a ‘Hot Conflict’. A hot conflict has already happened in 1999 as Kargil adventure. When civilian governments are kept in check by the armies then a hot conflict is a distinct possibility. The initiators may be stupid, dishonest or both. However, the hot conflict thankfully did not become very hot. Kargil and other wars before, proved the point that Pakistan is a belligerant state.
    Author would be totally correct if he used the word ‘RED HOT conflict’.
    Indian economy and its potential to spend on weapon systems may or may not shrink, it is not a field where the author is most competent. India is on a trajectory to medernise its forces and will continue regardless.
    Pakistan wants to keep calm on the eastern front not because she has suddenly become a peace loving nation or an India loving country, it is because it is totally uncertain about the potential threats and opportunities from the western region. If all turns out according to its plans then we will be back to square one with Pak army using jihadis in Kashmir.
    Nobody in the world, icluding all strategists and military planners in Pakistan has a clue about how to settle Kashmir. The only viable solution can be to settle on the LoC with minor area adjustments. Otherwise another 65 years can lapse with no positive outcomes.

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  • Jan 23, 2013 - 2:31PM

    And you sir are the star student of Musharraf’s master class on how to twist a negative to make it sound resoundingly positive. He is reported to have said that Kargil was good because it forced kashmir on the table. And recently he said that Kargil was a military victory and a political defeat.

    So going by this grand theory, the army chiefs sat in delhi and decided to stage this whole episode. So much easier than looking at whether there were rogue elements within the army, whether the solidiers are being exhorted to behead solidiers as a ghazi like action…sadly shahzad saleem is no more.

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  • Palvasha von Hassell
    Jan 23, 2013 - 2:42PM

    Good stuff, enjoyed greatly!

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  • Jan 23, 2013 - 2:43PM

    @Author – Excellent Analysis, our brainwashed Indian friends will never get it!!Recommend

  • Nathoram Godse
    Jan 23, 2013 - 2:46PM

    This is Bal Thackrey’s India!

    Gandhiji’s India of tolerance, diversity and non violence died when we Hindus killed him!!

    We have become a nation of hegemony, belligerence and war-mongerers. We will coerce, blackmail, threaten and beat into submission all our minorities, our poor and hungry, our lowest classes and all our neighboring countries. We have had trouble with ALL our neighbours in the last 65 years, We have sent our trained mercenaries into other countries and used our army to kill unarmed protesters and rape our women. But when Pakistan gives us a taste of our own medicine, we start howling, whining and crying.

    We continue to kill our female in the world’s largest female infanticide, and those lucky enough to grow up are raped and killed by us.

    This is SHINING INDIA!

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  • SM_India
    Jan 23, 2013 - 2:54PM

    “India’s growth rate has gone down; it will fall further”. What a wishful thinking! India is set to grow faster at 6% to 6.5% in 2013 estimated by many international rating agencies which is great news for India keeping in mind the global economic slowdown. By 2030 there are reports of India surpassing China.

    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/india/india-faster-growth-us-economy-developing

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2245987/How-China-India-powerful-US-2030.html

    Also according to US banking group Citi by 2050 India is estimated to have roughly 85 trillion GDP which will make it the largest economy in the world. At present a world economic forum is taking place in Davos, Switzerland. Now one should listen to the likes of Nouriel Roubini, Martin Sorrell, Peter Schiff, David Malone and many other international business, economic experts, authors about India’s economy and count how many times India gets mention because of its rising power status and not delude oneself with erroneous beliefs.

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Jan 23, 2013 - 3:03PM

    @Gratgy:

    The problem is that Pakistan considers
    Concessions towards it as an
    “Entitlement” and Reciprocation as
    “Appeasement”

    Welcome to the ummah

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  • Vikas
    Jan 23, 2013 - 3:21PM

    @Ejaz(Author),
    I saw your views on import of cattle from India. You were complaining lot about the rules and regulation in India. Imagine, the infected sheep which came from Australia, would have come from India, you would have become super senior adviser to the organization who are already “benefiting” from your “invaluable” advise.

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  • observer
    Jan 23, 2013 - 3:21PM

    Regardless of Pakistan’s concessions, and Pakistan has conceded almost everything India has demanded over the years — trade, investment, MFN without reference to disputes

    Can we examine all the elemnts one by one please.

    A. Trade- According to PILDAT the balance of trade remained in Pakistan’e favour till its disruption on account of 1965 war. Trade resumed in 1978 and the balance of trade remained in Pakistan’s favour till 1996. If that is a ‘CONCESSION’ by Pakistan, I need a new a dictionary. See page 9 of the link below.

    http://www.pildat.org/publications/publication/fp/MFNStatusandTradebetweenPakistanandIndiaPakPerspectiveJan2012.pdf

    B. Investment- India allowed Pakistani businesses to onvest in India in 2012. Please note it is India that has allowed it, not the other way round.

    http://www.dnaindia.com/money/reportindia-allows-fdi-from-pakistan1722752

    C. MFN Status- India accorded MFN status to Pakistan in 1996 and is still waiting for reciprocal arrangement. Another ‘Concession’ bites the dust.

    In an ironic way, India’s worry is a salute to Pakistan’s new policy, steered by the Foreign Office under the able guidance of Pakistan’s young foreign minister.

    You actually want me to believe that the Afghanistan and India policies (or for that matter NWA policy) of Pakistan are run by the civilians?

    Sir, India is not spelt G-U-L-L-I-B-L-E or N-A-I-V-E. Thank You.

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  • Braki
    Jan 23, 2013 - 3:49PM

    Great article!!!Recommend

  • SM_India
    Jan 23, 2013 - 4:14PM

    @ejaz haider—Have you forgotten our engagement with Pakistan in 1971? It seems you do not like that kind of engagement in which case there is no other option for you than to appease.

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  • MSS
    Jan 23, 2013 - 4:23PM

    @author
    “Normalisation of relations is a function of dispute resolution”…
    This function must be of the continuous type (inverse exponential) for Pakistan has an inexhaustible capacity to generate disputes. Even if India & Pakistan resolve all current disputes, there is plenty where that came from. The problem is not the disputes, the problem is more fundamental than that and that is, Pakistan’s burning desire to be India’ equal in all areas especially military and international. Pakistan is aiming for the moon by exploring caves.
    Both nations have huge deficiencies but India is more likely to adjust as it becomes richer and more open. Pakistan’s reluctance to tackle its financial and social problems head on is going to cost it in the longer run.
    Mr Haider is a good analyst in matters military, but he has his limitations like all of us. I would like to hear his impartial views on the causes and origins of all Indo-Pak wars and the real outcomes.

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  • bharatvarsh
    Jan 23, 2013 - 4:45PM

    Conservative projections by various neutral agencies like WB, IMF, ADB estimate Indian economy to grow at an average 6% for the next 25-30 years. The spending on military hardware is not going to shrink given this growth rate. The author has got facts wrong regarding indian economy.

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  • Vish
    Jan 23, 2013 - 4:52PM

    There is an article titled “Land of myths and make believe” just below this write-up. No wonder.

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  • Gratgy
    Jan 23, 2013 - 5:01PM

    @Nathuram Godse

    We have become a nation of hegemony, belligerence and war-mongerers. We will coerce, blackmail, threaten and beat into submission all our minorities, our poor and hungry, our lowest classes and all our neighboring countries. We have had trouble with ALL our neighbours in the last 65 years, We have sent our trained mercenaries into other countries and used our army to kill unarmed protesters and rape our women.”

    You seem to have an identity crisis, but you gave a perfect description of Pakistan

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  • murali
    Jan 23, 2013 - 5:08PM

    @Nathoram Godse:

    Despite your best to hide behind a fake name
    the venom spread in the entire theme foxed your original identity.

    Go on crying foul my friend.
    But a tiger can never gloat as sheep for ever.

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Jan 23, 2013 - 5:25PM

    @BruteForce:

    whenever such events take place I rush
    to the site and have a hearty laugh

    That’s the reason why I never miss even one Jawed Naqvi article. But, once for every ten articles or so, he does write something very humane, insightful and honest.

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  • Jan 23, 2013 - 5:30PM

    Comments not being approved. I don’t understand why..

    Too many loopholes, that I cannot ignore.

    “Firstly, unlike Pakistan, there is no real political consensus in India on normalising with Pakistan. “

    1) Being a status quo state, peace is ALWAYS in the status quo state’s interest. ALWAYS! That is why all the 4 wars were started by Pakistan, even 1971(I believe ’71 was a retaliation and payback for ’65). Charges of India violating ceasefire constantly and without provocation is ludicrous, it would serve no purpose.

    2) There is no real consensus because its not important. Don’t get me wrong, its not like peace is not important. But, since India has nothing to gain, in realistic terms, by talking to Pakistan, many think if there is a peace process or not, it doesn’t REALLY matter. India has all it wants, Pakistan wants what India has. Simple. The guy who wants stuff(like peace, territory) wants to war war, then jaw jaw. The guy who has it all couldn’t care less what happens, especially if he is as powerful as India. If the weaker, I-want-something-from-you party wants to talk, he will say, “why not”.

    “India had relied on painting Pakistan as a belligerent state”

    Thats a strange charge. Its like arguing India is poor and hence wants to punish Pakistan. Two unrelated things being linked to prove some inane point!

    Do you really think there is something called an image war between India and Pakistan? India has already won it hands down,if there ever was one, and it is winning it handsomely every year, every month, every day. India need hardly strain and sacrifice peace to malign Pakistan. Come on..

    ” India is not very happy with Pakistan regaining its position in Afghanistan”

    How!! What!! Really!!

    India is not happy, granted. But, how would violating ceasefire, as is your charge, constantly, fix that? How are Afghanistan and LoC, realistically related?

    What Strategist, on the Indian side, would think violating the ceasefire will help India? Did India fire and provoke Pakistan, when Pakistan supported Taliban ruled the roost in Afghanistan in the 1990s?

    “Quite apart from the fact that it makes interesting study to note the Indian military’s rising influence over the years in policymaking — a point I have been making for several years now”

    India is no Turkey or Bangladesh or Pakistan. If you have said such things, then you have no idea how India works.

    This is a pathetic attempt to make uninformed Pakistanis believe that there is going to be some Military rule within India and things will get hot.

    Question: What happened to the last Army Chief who wanted an extension of one year? Hint: This event took place under a year ago..

    “India’s worry is a salute to Pakistan’s new policy, steered by the Foreign Office under the able guidance of Pakistan’s young foreign minister.”

    Let see. You create the Mujahideen to fight India. They turn on you. India is angry with you. You cannot fight India or maintain hostility, as that would mean militants will eat you up within Pakistan. Obvious enough. So you begin giving rosy sounding statements to placate the big,powerful neighbour, so that you can concentrate on your homegrown threats.

    The only credit FM of Pakistan should get is doing what is obvious – Make peace with India(at least for the moment) and divert the resources to fight the Taliban.

    Isn’t this the same Govt which fired a top advisor for admitting Kasab is a Pakistani only 5 years ago?

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  • Jan 23, 2013 - 5:34PM

    @Indians, you are proving yourselves to be completely consumed by your media; that your military is above and beyond being culpable of making mistakes; that Brig. Singh did not send his men on 6th January across LOC to raid a Pakistani post and kill our soldier. Pakistan offered a UN-led inquiry in the incident, but India didn’t give it any attention. And Pakistan recently decided that India is not its number one threat. At least in Pakistan, the media questions everything, and even the public opinion in such matters is growing and maturing. I am sure there would be saner voices in India as well, but they are probably drowned out in the noise

    There are Pakistani journalists who criticize Pakistani military more than you Indians ever do (Kamran Shafi, Najam Sethi etc.) Every time they do that, I read praises from Indian commentators, like ‘why can’t Pakistan have more the likes of you?’ etc. But when they call a spade a spade, identifying Indian mistakes, you drop all your cool and allege them of being ‘Pakistanis.’

    If you do not like what Pakistani journalists say, then why don’t you stay within RSS discussion groups and facebook pages?

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  • Milestogo
    Jan 23, 2013 - 5:37PM

    Seems like Zaid hamid’s following is increasing by the day…

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  • Diggvijay Singh
    Jan 23, 2013 - 5:55PM

    I don’t agree with some of the points the writer has raised. Still I agree with him on the point that Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar has done a very competent job is pushing the Pakistani case. Her emphasis on “uninterrupted and uninterruptible” dialog process between India and Pakistan is the right stance, since the neighbors can’t change their geographical location. Pragmatism in foreign policy has to replace silly jingoism. More trade, regular cricket series, exchange of writers and artists are the need of the day.

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  • karma
    Jan 23, 2013 - 5:59PM

    Author is absolutely right. India-Pakistan can’t fight a ‘hot conflict’ as it is economically disasterous. But, Pakistan army has decided to keep a ‘cold conflict’ going, so India has no option but to figure a way to fight this ‘conflict’.

    Indian govt’s solution is to take absorb the ‘cold conflict’ from Pakistani territory and make Pakistan pay higher price in terms of even further reduced credibility in world opinion, in the hope it’ll see sense sometime. Not sure this is the most effective strategy, but Indian govt. has to display more patience & maturity than US, which would’ve already done an attack by now.

    Over long periods India will be able to absorb any hits coming from Pakistan, but Pakistan will not be able to sustain its state with such venom filled ideology.

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  • Raja
    Jan 23, 2013 - 6:05PM

    “In Pakistan, we have a politico-military consensus”
    Another very important component ” Jhidais/ non state actors” are missing from this. Bring them on board if Pakistan wants a friendly neighborhood and peaceful Pakistan. No analysis is honest unless it takes into consideration the Jihadi brigade.

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  • zoro
    Jan 23, 2013 - 6:20PM

    My comments never show up … wwhhyy ?? any explanation from the Tribune ???

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  • adeel qadri
    Jan 23, 2013 - 6:41PM

    to all my Indian friends.. can you reply to the fact that a Pakistani soldier was killed first on 6th of january? Read stories of your own reporter Barkha dutt writing in HIMAL magazine in 2001 that the indian army decapitate the opposition solider..in this case paksitani soldiers. Editor of Kolkata telegraph Mr Sankarshan Thakuray wrote “Guns and yellow roses” about the brutalities of indian army in Kargil war. Read india today “diary of a soldier” Mr Haryaand Rasi writes the same kind of stuff….

    India just wants pakistan to accept what their media is saying, and dont want an independent investigation from UN or a third party as it will unravel the lies India telling to the world.

    on the other hand Pakistan can not afford to open a new front, as we already occupied by internal threats, why Pak will provoke india?

    please grow up and try to understand the facts.

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  • F
    Jan 23, 2013 - 6:46PM

    India’s worry is as real as the real “strategic” policies of Pakistan that emanate from the GHQ – without open debate, and not the able office of the young FM.

    Perhaps Pakistan did not start the latest flare up. Perhaps it did not behead the Indian soldiers. But Pakistan cannot demand that India and the world trust it this time when it has a sordid record of acting in the most irresponsible manner – a conduct unbecoming of a civilized state in the modern world. Just look at how the LET, LEJ etc. are killing Shias, Ahmedis and non Muslims – inside their own country – and the State refuses to do anything meaningful. We don’t have to visit genocide in the East, past mutiliations of enemy soldiers and refusal to accept bodies of its own faujis. The accusations fit in with the past and current actions.
    Appease and Engage: Pakistan wants to engage as long as India gives Siachen, Sir Creek, Kashmir if not all of J&K. Anyone would want to engage if other other party has to give and not receive anything. So why would Pakistan want to “appease”?!! Get real. On the issue that most bothers India – export of “strategic” terror from Pakistan which has claimed countless human lives in Kashmir and other parts, Pakistan has yet to arrest much less prosecute anyone. There is never “sufficient” evidence and never will be. A case in point: 26/11 Mumbai attacks. The “able” foreign office, under the guidance of the GHQ, has done a remarkable job of frustrating India.
    Pakistan’s Geography: it is what is it is and in a very advantageous situation. If you mean levergaing the situation to get investment, favorable trading rights etc. and becoming a responsible tolerant state inside and outside.

    Overall, it is very hard and gratuitious to just ask India, other neighbours and the world to “trust” Pakistan’s sudden good intentions when the record has been anything but trouble. Even now Pakistan’s worldview is rooted in Islamist thinking that seeks to dominate not tolerate.

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  • Shameema
    Jan 23, 2013 - 7:10PM

    Wow! Many many Indians on this site but no Chief. Good One Ejaz Haider to get them crawling out of the woodwork. Just poke them a little amd see how their pseudo – liberal masks fall of revealimg the true face of Hindutva.

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  • Raja
    Jan 23, 2013 - 7:40PM

    The supposed difference in the ‘behaviour’ of Pakistani and Indian media during this episode is interesting. The (visual) media in both the countries is accused of being reactionary, immature and lacking in depth. The veractiy of this statement will be clearer when non Indo-Pak issues come up.

    It would have been interesting to see how Pakistani media would have reacted to this episode if they did not have the Hazara Shia carnage happening around the same time. In India, the LOC issue was obviously the top news item. In Pakistan, it wasn’t.

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  • James Jackson
    Jan 23, 2013 - 8:20PM

    @Shameema:

    Many many Indians on this site but no Chief. Good One Ejaz Haider to get them crawling out of the woodwork. Just poke them a little amd see how their pseudo – liberal masks fall of revealimg the true face of Hindutva.

    The unfortunate part is that you don’t have any minority left in your country which can speak favorable about Pakistan, but that is not the case of India…..If you think that it is Hindus who always come on ET and comments, then make yourself correct………There are many Christians, Muslims, Sikhs who routinely shows up in ET (being myself one of them).

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  • Basit Khan
    Jan 23, 2013 - 8:25PM

    To sum it up : Hina Rabbaani Khar is in the good books of Pakistan’s military.

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Jan 23, 2013 - 8:38PM

    @author: “…In an ironic way, India’s worry is a salute to Pakistan’s new policy, steered by the Foreign Office under the able guidance of Pakistan’s young foreign minister. …”

    Hardly. She was fumbling for words and responses in the recent Charlie Rose interview.

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  • Candid 1
    Jan 23, 2013 - 8:41PM

    This article is right on the money! The Indians have adopted the Nazi propaganda technique (or the Nazis learnt it from the them – I am not sure which, since the Nazis identified themselves with the Indian swastika) that if you tell a lie long enough then it will become the truth.

    Well done, Ejaz Haider. Speaking plainly is the often the best way to go.

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  • Arian
    Jan 23, 2013 - 8:47PM

    “Thirdly, India is not very happy with Pakistan regaining its position in Afghanistan vis-a-vis the United States as well as the current Kabul government. New Delhi is also concerned about its influence and investment in Afghanistan post-2014. Neither was entirely benign. It helps to try and put Pakistan back in the doghouse.”

    Pakistan regaining its position in Afghanistan is a pipe dream that will never see the light of day. The current Kabul government is vibrant and dynamic and it has learned to keep Pakistan at an arm’s length.

    Afghan media and civil society perceives Pakistan and Iran as enemy number one and two and this fact is lost on the average Pakistani journalist. Policy is shaped by the prevailing narrative that is propagated in society and this narrative is not in favor of Pakistan and to a lesser degree Iran.

    Afghanistan and India were immediate neighbors before the creation of Pakistan and they enjoyed good neighborly and trade relations since the early 1900s. Indian professionals and experts were employed in all fields in Afghanistan and this trend will continue into the future. Unfortunately Afghans don’t have this relationship with Pakistan and they will never forge any relationship beyond trade and commerce because of the trust deficit.

    All Afghans consider Pakistan an enemy and a necessary evil that it has to deal with and this is something that eludes Ejaz Haider, his narrative is irrelevant and out of sync with the ground realities in Afghanistan.

    Pakistan is in the doghouse as far as Afghanistan is concerned and will continue to remain there for the forseeable future.

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  • Raj - USA
    Jan 23, 2013 - 9:21PM

    The Author is correct. India has always been the culprit. It has always been India who were the first to hit-back. To make it worse, they hit-back very badly.

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  • shabbir vohra
    Jan 23, 2013 - 9:23PM

    @Gratgy:

    Appros! Well put: “Pakistan considers Concessions towards it as an “Entitlement” and Reciprocation as “Appeasement”

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  • Enlightened
    Jan 23, 2013 - 9:42PM

    A poor commentary by the author for whom I had high regards. Ceasefire fire violations by Pakistan is nothing new for India which the latter has been facing for the past three decades but the barbarity of beheading Indian soldiers by professional army on the other side is totally unacceptable and the same need not be orchestrated to start a conflict as asserted by the author. The reaction of Indian military and media was indeed appropriate as such inhuman actions which are quite common in Pakistan are unacceptable to the Indians. Moreover, there have been 117 ceasefire violations in 2012 as compared to 57 in 2010 which has caused a great concern to New Delhi as these are considered to step up militancy in the the Valley which had almost died down for the past two years. Not-withstanding above, positive attitude has been shown by the civilian govt of Pakistan which has been duly reciprocated by India but the main obstacle which still remains in completely normalising relations between two countries is cross-border violations which needs to be addressed immediately otherwise a high intensity short war cannot be ruled out.

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  • Jalib
    Jan 23, 2013 - 9:56PM

    Phantasmagorically brilliant. Mr. Haider as always I commend you for your forthright truthfulness. As you can see the Indian trolls areon a rampage against you. I have come to the conclusion, having studied in an Ivy League school with many Indians (from India not diaspora members born & bred in the US), that they have a deep hatred in the confines of their bosom against Pakistan. Even the liberal types who will affirm a deep contempt for the likes of BJP will tell you what a horrendous idea it was to create Pakistan. The other things Indians have a lot of is hubris about their own greatness. And the myhths of all regions of the old world tell us what happens when to peoples and nations that are arrogant…

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  • gp65 .
    Jan 23, 2013 - 9:56PM

    I had written a long response that was disallowed but Yuri, observer, Gratgy, Bruteforce, deep and polwala have effectively articulated what I intended to say. Sorry I can endorse only once.

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  • Asjad
    Jan 23, 2013 - 10:05PM

    Lets hope people from both sides understand :)

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  • gp65 .
    Jan 23, 2013 - 10:06PM

    @Shameema: Most of the Indians have rebutted the author citing actual facts or pointing to flaws in his logic. Your argument against Indians relies neither on facts nor logic but simply your own personal prejudice that you choose to label as facts.

    Also neither the author nor the commentators have brought religion into the picture – so the relevance of Hindutva is completely unclear.

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  • ParvezM
    Jan 23, 2013 - 10:25PM

    Ejaz, I salute you for writing a very realistic narrative of Indian policy and comments by Indians prove that.

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  • shabbir vohra
    Jan 23, 2013 - 10:29PM

    @Shameema:

    Touche! The truth would have got the non-state actors(read: your co-patriots, TTP) crawling out of “N Waziristan” for the auther.

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  • Maula Jut
    Jan 23, 2013 - 10:40PM

    I wonder what obliges the Indians to read the articles they cannot digest and then start throwing up all over the place?

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  • Rajeev Nidumolu
    Jan 23, 2013 - 11:03PM

    You are correct in stating that there is no consensus in India about normalization of ties with Pakistan.
    Indians in policy circles are concerned that the change of heart in Pakistani Politico Miliitary establishment is temporary and forced because of internal developments in Pakistan . They feel the articulate glamorous face of its Foreign minister is temporary and conceals the hard fist .
    Indians realize that because of ideological differences which caused Two Nation State, Kashmir issue cannot be solved . Pakistan will never give up its claims and agree to status quo and Indian will never concede to Pak claims .
    You do not need India to paint Pakistan as a belligerent state, responsible for hers and South Asia’s woes. The conclusion was arrived independently by Russia , US and its allies after assessing Pakistani role in Afghanistan, North Korea and non state actors

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  • Falcon
    Jan 23, 2013 - 11:58PM

    Agreed…we can not afford to have a hot conflict…and the sooner both sides understand it the better…and oh…I loved the beating author gave to the Indian media and establishment for being so irresponsible.

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  • DilliNiwasi
    Jan 24, 2013 - 1:18AM

    Author like other Pakistanis cites Pakistan’s strategic geographic location as the reason to improve its relationship with neighbors. I don’t understand this idea. In the past also, Pakistan has been touting its “land use” to China (for access to Central Asia and Gwadar & making itself available as a proxy to counter India), central Asia, US (in 1981 for launching attacks against USSR) and Iran(for pipelines). This is like prostituting oneself. India has never done that nor any other country for that matter. There is no rocket science involved with maintaining good relations with other countries. There are very basic common principles- a)don’t meddle in internal affairs b)Cooperate and trade to increase economies and quality of living, to be of mutual benefit of one another c)avoid sycophancy (use of deep adjectives) d)become self reliant economically e)Have decent governance inside the country based on equality so that you earn the respect of others.
    Why can’t Pakistan understand this? Why can’t it learn from India?

    He talks about India’s army rearing its head to protect its defense allocations. Indian army was never short on funds and it never went on an indiscriminate, reckless purchase of weapons and planes like Pakistan has been doing. India has only in the past few years embarked to build up which is inadequate when measured against China.

    India’s response to Pakistani terrorism should have been intense in last 20 years but for strange, stupid reasons, India has been mollycoddling Pakistan despite several dastardly terror strikes originating from ISI.

    Finally Pakistan seems to have an air of righteousness in supporting Afghan Taliban/Pushton when there is nothing good about those guys but everything evil. Just them bein in majority does not mean they should be allowed to trample on rights of women and children as is happening inside Pakistan.

    With the jungle-raj law & order situation and completely broken down governance as well as economy in Pakistan, statements emanating from Pakistan even at the level of FM, PM, etc have little meaning. It appears as NOISE nothing more.

    What does Author expect India to do under the circumstances?

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  • Absar
    Jan 24, 2013 - 5:22AM

    There are acquisitions in the
    pipeline. With pockets shrinking,
    sceptics in India will question some
    spending and might even ask to slash
    some programmes. Militaries hate that.
    They need an excuse to defend
    allocations.

    Brilliantly put.

    This column of Ejaz Haider is a masterpiece.

    Hardly would any Indian concur how Indian media went into absolute frenzy, nurturing hate among Indians against Pakistan.

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  • Absar
    Jan 24, 2013 - 5:57AM

    A recemt column in Dawn by Najamuddin Shaikh has raised some of the same issues EH has presented here.

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  • gp65 .
    Jan 24, 2013 - 6:46AM

    @Absar: “Hardly would any Indian concur how Indian media went into absolute frenzy, nurturing hate among Indians against Pakistan.”

    Indians do not hate PAkistanis but distrust the Pakistani army due to a long history. It is this distrust that the media articulated and forced the government to pay attention to Pakistani army and its proxies’ actions rather than be swayed by empty words of politicians who have no control over Pakistani foreign policy.

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  • observer
    Jan 24, 2013 - 9:34AM

    @Absar:

    A recemt column in Dawn by Najamuddin Shaikh has raised some of the same issues EH has presented here.

    Perhaps they are using the same handout as the source material.
    Can you guess where this handout may have come from?
    Try the custodians of Afghan and India policy of Pakistan.

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Jan 24, 2013 - 11:22AM

    @Maula Jut:

    I wonder what obliges the Indians to
    read the articles they cannot digest
    and then start throwing up all over
    the place?

    Indians are smart enough not to consume this article. All they are doing is to warn those who fancy consuming this intellectual plastic-fruit that they will throw it out, in one or the other direction.

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  • Absar
    Jan 24, 2013 - 9:36PM

    Perhaps they are using the same
    handout as the source material. Can
    you guess where this handout may have
    come from? Try the custodians of
    Afghan and India policy of Pakistan.

    @Observer

    You need to go through the columns of Najamuddin Sheikh to understand the impartiality of his views that goes well along with the emphatic criticism of military establishment whenever it is due.

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  • Milestogo
    Jan 24, 2013 - 10:31PM

    Zaid hamid’s analysis are equally intelligent but more entertaining.

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  • observer
    Jan 24, 2013 - 10:48PM

    @Absar:

    OK. Now let us try this for size.

    A. In April Gen Kayani makes certain observations regarding the nature of threats confronting Pakistan.

    B. Gen Kayani follows up on this in August 2012.

    C. In January 2013 there is some talk of revising the Green Book.

    D, Meanwhile, on the Indian side, bunkers were being dismantled in Srinagar and a liberal Visa regime was ready for implementation.

    E. This does not suit certain powers and their backers. One of them, namely Hafiz Saeed tours the area.

    F. And Bingo! LOC erupts over the establishment of an observation post that does not even open towards Pakistan.

    Elementary. Isn’t it.

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  • Binbin
    Jan 25, 2013 - 12:28AM

    Perhaps the most amusing bit in this entire “rant” (calling it a “joke” would shame comics everywhere!) is the casual irony in claiming that there are no “sane” voices in India when it comes to Pakistan while ridiculous bravado and ponderous blather is pushed as the “sane” Pakistan’s reaction to India! The casual belief that Pakistan’s “diplomacy” is working is just the icing on this “fail”.

    If this is the caliber of “analysts” in Pakistan, people swept up in self delusion and bereft of any contact with reality, well Indians can rest assured.

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  • Komal S
    Jan 26, 2013 - 10:01PM

    @adeel qadri:
    If you really want to discuss about Barkha Dutt quoting an incident during Kargil, you should think about the fact for many years after Kargil, Pakistani government denied there were any soldiers involved in Kargil war. It was all Kashmir freedom fighters and Pakistani Army had no role in it. As a Pakistani you should be more concerned while the Indian Army was beheading the Pakistani soldiers your Government was denying ther role in the event. Beheading of any soldier is wrong and no country should tolerate it and no army should commit it.

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  • Queen
    Jan 28, 2013 - 2:39PM

    After reading all the above comments, i just want to say that it is REALLY hard for Indian to face fact eh ;))

    Well Done Mr Haider for such brilliant article.

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