November 20, 2007Foreign AffairsSecurity

The profound foreign secretary

It was not a good idea to give Pakistan a clean chit on cross-border terrorism

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

India is certainly findit it hard to grapple with the tit-for-tat problem. Here’s what Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon said recently

We know Pakistani territory is used by groups which engage in all sorts of activities—terrorism, drugs. There are groups in Pakistan which export various forms of instability… That is different than saying Pakistan is doing it.” [TOI]

You might not have caught it, but that’s rather profound. Those groups might involve the Jaish-e-Mohammed, ISI, or the Pakistani army, but are they Pakistan’? No, they are just groups that engage in all sorts of activities. The profoundly philosophical point that Mr Menon was trying to make is that there is no government in Pakistan, or even that there is no Pakistan. There are merely groups that engage in all sorts of activities.

Sarcasm apart, Mr Menon’s remarks demonstrate just how much of a high-wire balancing act India has to do between hurting Musharraf & Co and itself being hurt by Pakistani exports. Still, it should have been possible to manage the situation without so clearly absolving the Pakistani government of culpability in cross-border terrorism. The official spokesman of the ministry of external affairs would do well to issue a clarification.

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