A group of former top diplomats, military and intelligence officials on Friday asked the government not to rush into a dialogue with Pakistan, and cancel the proposed meeting of Prime Manmohan Singh with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York next month.
In a joint statement, the former top officials said: “At a time when Pakistan is day in and day out using terrorism against us, it would be ill-advised for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to meet Nawaz Sharif, as it would signal that relations between the two countries are in a business-as-usual mode."
The statement came after the killing of five Indian soldiers by a Pakistani Border Action Team in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.
Prominent among the 40 signatories to statement were former army chiefs – NC Vij, Shankar Roy Chowdhury and VN Sharma, former IB chief Ajit Doval, former diplomats Kanwal Sibal, G Parthasarathy, Satish Chandra, M Rasgotra, JC Sharma, Prabhat Shukla, Rajiv Sikri, Rajiv Dogra, former air chief S Krishnaswamy, former home secretaries Anil Baijal and Dhirendra Singh and former Research and Analysis Wing chief CD Sahay.
After releasing the statement, former deputy national security advisor Satish Chandra said there is no need to be afraid of “nuclear blackmail” as India is also a nuclear power. He added that there was a need for new bipartisan policy, as the policy of appeasing Pakistan had failed.
Former intelligence bureau chief Ajit Doval said India has always tried to move forward despite provocations, but the response from Pakistan is not encouraging. The attackers at Poonch could not have crossed the Line of Control (LoC) with the help of Pakistani establishment and India should never focus away from terrorism emanating from across the border.
Former army chief Gen NC Vij said a low-level war along the LoC is a “purposeful Pakistani strategy” that can be sustained indefinitely. "Pakistan is a rational actor; they will not risk nuclear escalation. This nuclear bluff should be called by India. The answer is for India to raise the stakes," he said.