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Pak faces crisis, India talks tough

delhi Updated: Jan 17, 2013 00:14 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times
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The decision of the Central government to harden its position against Pakistan was based on the assessment of the domestic situation in the neighbouring country, consolidation of army's position and the political leadership not being able to do much for the peace process.

That explains why the government preferred a strong "business cannot be as usual" stand aimed at blunting opposition attack as well public outrage over the brutal killing of the two soldiers.

The change in the tone and tenor of external affairs minister Salman Khurshid's statement over the days explains it better. He was dovish, kept reminding the need to keep the peace process intact and said government would not buckle under the pressure of "wild calls" for revenge. It was a measured position, but on Tuesday he explained why it's not "business not usual"—as stated by PM Manmohan Singh -- after "grave provocation from across the border."

New Delhi changed its tack based on its assessment of the domestic situation in Pakistan. Sources explain that there was a "consolidation" in favour of the Pakistan army, and there were "too many coincidences' that shows the beneficiary was the armed forces.

The flag meeting between the two sides gave reasons to think Pakistan army is not in a
mood to sober down. And on a day when cleric Tahir-ul Qadri was giving enough headache to the civilian government, Pakistan supreme court dealt another blow it with its order to arrest Pakistan prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in a graft case.

The civilian government plunging into another crisis has added to the army's image of a credible institution. And even in Balochistan, Pakistan army's stock has gone up. And dealing with unprecedented crisis within, the civilian government seems incapable of doing much for the peace, even if "New Delhi walks an extra mile," sources reasoned. Pakistan army also sees its importance going up in the context of US efforts to wind up the war on terror in Afghanistan. Without Pakistan army's help, it wouldn't be possible to conclude the US plans for Afghanistan.
Back home, opposition had cornered the government so the government decided to talk tough and put on hold the roll out of a new visa regime.

Gadkari's statement misconstrued: BJP
New Delhi: Two days after BJP president Nitin Gadkari created a flutter by reportedly saying that the killing of Indian soldiers at the LoC should be taken up with the UN, the party on Wednesday set the record straight by saying, "We don't need to approach anybody. We have to expose Pakistan at every forum."

Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar later said that Gadkari's statement has been misconstrued.