November 18, 2005Foreign AffairsSecurity

The dawn of realisation

It goes in cycles

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

The Indian Express has changed its editorial stance after the Delhi Diwali blasts. Any reasonable person would do that. While its taking a hard-nosed attitude on the approach towards Gen Musharraf is a welcome development, especially if it reflects (or leads) public opinion in India, the fear is that such an attitude may not survive the next historic gesture’. Hardening of attitudes after being attacked is always followed by a premature outpouring of forgiveness and goodwill that accompanies the next Indian attempt to find peace. India will find that peace elusive until it learns how to break free from this cycle.

By turning the other cheek to Pakistan’s provocations, the UPA government is in fact undermining its own ability to negotiate purposefully with Pakistan. If Delhi now responds to some of the more reasonable Pakistani demands on Kashmir, it would encourage the misperception in Rawalpindi that terrorist violence could be leveraged to extract political concessions from Delhi.

If India listlessly continues with the peace process — too angry to move forward but too anxious not to break it — it would be asking for more terrorism from Pakistan supported militancy in Kashmir. The time has come for Delhi to dispel the impression in Pakistan that India has no option but to stay with the peace process. Delhi must convey in unambiguous terms to both Islamabad and Washington that if Musharraf does not rein in the Lashkar and order an end to terrorist violence in India, it would be free to think of unpleasant alternatives. If Musharraf fails to act on his own promises to end terrorism, India will have to conclude that Musharraf is either too weak or too untrustworthy to be a credible interlocutor. [IE]But Musharraf has already failed to act on his own promises, so India (and the Indian Express) should already have concluded that Musharraf is either too weak or too untrustworthy to be a credible interlocutor.

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