National security adviser Shivshankar Menon on Tuesday made a strong case for holding talks with Pakistan, despite stiff political opposition to engage Islamabad until it cracks down on terrorist groups acting against India.
He argued shunning dialogue would not change the behaviour of India’s enemies, but “hands them a success that only encourages them.”
Menon took a dig at hawks steering the debate on how to take on Pakistan and advocating an aggressive approach in the backdrop of the neighbouring country’s army escalating tension in Jammu and Kashmir.
“When 40 self-styled experts and some political groups say do not talk to Pakistan until ideal conditions exist and all terrorism stops, it betrays a lack of self confidence,” Menon said, delivering the Sardar Patel memorial lecture on India and the World.
The BJP had criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for walking the extra mile in New York in September-end when he met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, precisely around the same time when the Pakistani Army was backing one of the biggest infiltration bids in the Keran sector of Kupwara district.
“That is precisely what the terrorists and their sponsors in the Pakistani establishment want, for us not to talk to those in Pakistan who might differ from them,” the NSA said.
Peace talks with Pakistan had collapsed for more than two years after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Both sides agreed to resume dialogue only in 2011.
However, only low-level talks have taken place. The two PMs haven’t met on Indian or Pakistani soil after the 2008 Mumbai attacks. They have held dialogue only on the sidelines of global summits in other countries.
Menon argued talking to the “saner elements” across the border could encourage them to stand for the right policies. He said such an approach “could create confusion among our enemies.”
Menon’s comments came a day after HT reported that there was little possibility of a meeting between the director generals of military operations (DGMO) of the two countries due to increased Pakistani aggression along the Line of Control.
External affairs minister Salman Khurshid had last week said no timeline had been agreed upon for resuming the “composite dialogue” with Pakistan, but routine exchanges would continue.