Friday, July 23, 2010


You got it right. When it comes to the impossible task of dealing with Pakistan, a hack can always fall back upon a dictionary full of clichés and yet have room for some of the more tired ones. The one I have stumbled upon this time gives a slightly wicked twist to that old one about hoping for the best. When it comes to Pakistan, it is high time (another damn cliché!) that India hopes for the worse and is prepared for the worst. The real reason for this conclusion is based upon another old one: those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. And yes, we in India are on the verge of repeating history in a manner that will only confuse, befuddle and eventually humiliate the nation.

Look at what happened recently in Islamabad when the former Chief Minister of Karnataka and former Governor of Maharashtra and current Foreign Minister S.M Krishna was holding ‘peace’ talks with his Pakistani counterpart S.M Qureshi. I still fail to understand how the word ‘peace’ is so badly misused and rammed into the agenda of talks between India and Pakistan. I mean, both you and I know that the real chances of peace (at least if you interpret the word honestly) between India and Pakistan are more remote than Rahul Gandhi joining the BJP – as long as the existing ruling establishment in Pakistan rules the roost (another damn cliché!). What happened in Islamabad was predictable, if you know your history. The Foreign Minister of Pakistan was least interested in ‘peace’; his agenda was to play to the gallery (oops, another one!) – a gallery that seats the ruling military establishment and its principal strategic ally, the group of Jehadi outfits whose declared aim is the destruction of India. Semantics about whether Qureshi broke diplomatic protocol and niceties and whether Krishna should have given a fitting reply are useless; the problem is, we persist with the vain hope that Pakistan might one day stop giving two hoots about niceties when it comes to India.

The second decade of the 21st century looks ominously similar to the last decade of the 20th century when the retreating Soviet Union left a vacuum in Afghanistan. It is a matter of time before American and NATO forces will do something similar in this decade. In both cases, the ruling military establishment of Pakistan had, and has, strong and credible reasons to be convinced that its policy of forging a strategic alliance with the Jehadis is paying spectacular dividends. Despite tall talk from America and feigned bluster from the generals in Islamabad, the fact of the matter is that Pakistan has never severed its ties with Jehadi groups even after 9/11.

And now, when the generals in Islamabad sense an opportunity to once again acquire strategic depth in Afghanistan a la the 1990s, it makes no sense for them to stop mollycoddling the Jehadis, particularly the ones that are most viciously disposed towards India. So please stop nursing silly notions of our neighbour actually dispensing justice and punishing those guilty of 26/11. In fact, they will be rewarded.

And brace for more terrible terror attacks as this decade progresses.