India will continue to deal with the civilian democratic government in Pakistan, the elected representatives of the people there and the civilian officials concerned, Indian Foreign Secretary, Nirupama Rao said in an interview with an Indian news channel on Sunday.
Asked whether India would seek to open some line of contact with the military leadership, in particular Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, she told CNN IBN: “I am not prepared to talk about that at the moment. But let me say that the interface as it exists is with the civilian government.”
The foreign secretary said the justification for dialogue with Pakistan was by no means diminished despite the recent revelations on the whistleblower website WikiLeaks about Pakistan’s involvement in instigating and funding terror against India.
“Dialogue is the most intelligent means of addressing points of contention,” she said.
Rao added that Pakistan had, from time to time, made the commitment to India that it would not permit the pursuit and the encouragement of terrorism by groups on its soil or territory under its control.
“It has been made very clear and very emphatically to Pakistan that the atmosphere for the pursuit of this dialogue will never be really conducive until and unless they stop the pursuit of terrorism against India,” she said.
Rao said that, to some degree, there was an acknowledgement by Pakistan that the pursuit of terrorism directed against India was going to have a negative impact on the relationship.
“We have engaged with Pakistan over the last one year in the exchange of evidence and information relating to the Mumbai terror attacks. So, obviously the channels of communication that have remained open with Pakistan have served that purpose,” she explained.
However, the foreign secretary alleged that Pakistan had still not acknowledged that members of the state and the establishment, the ISI in particular, had been directly involved in instigating terror against India.
“Today we are no longer like Cassandras talking about terrorism emanating from Pakistan. There is a widespread groundswell of belief and conviction in the stand that we have taken and the acknowledgement by the international community that we are taking the right position,” she said.
Asked about Gen Kayani, Rao said: “I am not going to comment on personalities...but let me say that it is not just that the WikiLeaks have come up with that revelation. It has been known to us for a long time,” she said.
Asked if there was anything about Gen Kayani that India did not understand, she said, “I think we understand the nature of these institutions and the personalities behind them very clearly.”
She said India had 60 years of a troubled relationship with Pakistan and understood and knew that country better, perhaps, than any other country in the world.
Published in The Express Tribune August 9th, 2010.