iconimg Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 17, 2013
The Biblical adage of noting the speck in one’s brother’s eye but not the log in one’s own eye is clearly quite alien to Pakistan’s way of thinking.

It has quite gratuitously passed a resolution in its parliament condemning the execution of Afzal Guru, accused in the attack on India’s Parliament in 2001.

And with this, it has evoked a sharp response from India which has condemned Pakistan’s condemnation.

But Pakistan’s strategy is clearly to prove to India that it has the capacity to annoy and also unsettle peace by sponsoring terrorism as seen recently in Jammu and Kashmir.

Of course, those who feel that we should engage in a fight to the finish with Pakistan for its continual intransigence and aggression seem to forget that they are talking about two nuclear nations.

It is no secret that Pakistan is unofficially a terrorist State. Its army and civilian government seem to be pulling in different directions.

Its shadowy intelligence agencies — the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Federal Investigation Agency — are quite content to extend their patronage to so-called non-State actors.

Its leading intellectuals, or at least those we see on television, appear to have a visceral hatred of India and a very narrow vision for the future.

The futile subject of resolving the Kashmir issue is trotted out in relation to every issue including that of Afzal Guru’s hanging. And frankly, all this is getting beyond tedious.

As some experts recommend, the best way out would be to be vigilant to Islamabad’s trouble-making propensities and focus on other foreign policy initiatives.

No doubt peace with Pakistan would be a prized legacy for the UPA 2 government but that simply is not going to happen in a month of Mondays.

We are neglecting other countries in the neighbourhood like Bangladesh and Nepal. We are not giving much attention to the Asean countries or even China in our obsession to hammer out a peace agreement with Pakistan.

Peace with India would take away Pakistan’s only trump card, that of enmity with India. It is already facing trouble from the so-called jihadis it has nurtured who seem to while away their time blowing up places and people in Pakistan when they cannot get at India.

The whole of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation has been held hostage to the bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan.

India really needs to move on. Given India’s growth trajectory and the aspirations of its youth demographic, Pakistan cannot take centrestage in our thinking.

Pakistan may be trying very hard to point out the speck in India’s eye. But New Delhi must firmly set its sights on its relations with other countries and other agendas which will prove constructive and beneficial to our well being as a nation.