Friday, July 17, 2009

No “forward movement” this…

Statement 1:
Excerpt from the Joint Statement issued by India and Pakistan in Egypt: "Action on terrorism should not be linked to the Composite Dialogue process and these [sic] should not be bracketed."

Statement 2:
Excerpt from the Prime Minister's answer to a query later in the day: "..dialogue cannot begin unless and until the terrorist acts of Mumbai are fully accounted for and the perpetrators are brought to book"

So, now, can someone tell me how both these statements are the same?! Which statement should we give credence to? The first one issued by the two governments, or the second one by our Prime Minister? Or is there going to be a third statement in Parliament after he returns?

According to The Hindu report, Indian side interprets the first statement like this: "Pakistan should not wait for the resumption of the composite dialogue to take action against terrorism" And the Pakistani side interprets like this: "..this meant the future of the dialogue process should not be held hostage to the perception in New Delhi that Pakistan had not done enough to stop the activities of terrorists operating from its territory". And therefore both sides see this statement as a breakthrough!! Wow, diplomacy and interpretation just took a new turn towards naiviety.

There is a third way to interpret this. With statement 1, we have tried to please the International audience. With statement 2, we have tried to please the National audience. My question is – why should we please the international audience?! How can we even agree not to link the action on terrror to talking to Pakistan on "outstanding" issues? Why are we sounding even more eager than Pakistan to talk? Our point till today, was very clear – we will not talk till something is done. And we are talking to them when nothing was done (oops sorry, something was done – Hafeez Saeed was let off!).

The Pakistani side sees this as a victory to its diplomacy. The head of GEO Television in Pakistan has this to say on rediff: ""It was a great victory for Pakistan but not a defeat for India. Surely, India gave concessions to Pakistan keeping in mind a long term goal. I think Dr Singh has made a sacrifice to gain bigger things in future. We understand he has taken a risk by going against public opinion in India. Dr Singh has shown some flexibility.""

I would suggest you to read the full article here , but here's another excerpt from there "When asked why and how the Indian stand changed dramatically in Egypt when compared with its stand during talks between Singh and President Asif Ali Zardari in Yekaterinburg, Russia on June 16, Mir responded, "According to our information the meeting of India and Pakistan foreign secretaries in the last 48 hours in Egypt has been crucial. Pakistan's Bashir took a tough stand against Menon. Bashir told Menon if you bracket the Mumbai attack with the comprehensive talks between the two countries then there is no possibility of a joint statement.""

Pakistan took a strong stand against us?!?! Seriously?! If true, I don't even know how to react! And if false, isn't our climbdown on the "delinking" giving them enough leeway to make these statements? Why is it us, who always end up making compromises. What are we losing if there is no joint statement?! What are we losing if we don't to talk to a country that has least respect to our concerns? Some of the media still sounded optimistic ( The Hindu, CNN-IBN, NDTV ), and some gave the true picture ( Times of India, Indian Express ). Whatever the coverage is, the fact that the Indian side wants to generate a "feel good" factor is what disturbs us.

Optimism is good. I am not denying that. Till recently, even I was a big supporter of the dialogue process. Peace is what brings ever lasting prosperity, and therefore I sincerely believed the talks will lead to such peace. And each time, that peace was broken, we have returned to the table after a while. I thought this time would be different, but it did not turn out to be.

Ohh, and here's something I found hilarious. Apparently, the two countries have agreed to share intelligence regarding terror! Yeah right, ISI and RAW will work together!! You know what actually; the day ISI genuinely co-operates with RAW is when there will be forward movement. This summit in Egypt is no forward movement.