New Delhi, unlike many commentators falling over each other to ‘demand justice’ from Islamabad, knows what not to expect from Pakistan. India’s handing over material that links the November 26, 2008, terrorist strikes on Mumbai is hardly expected to get the Pakistani establishment to suddenly sit up, shake its collective head and own up to the fact that Pakistani citizens were indeed the perpetrators of the horrors. It would be naive to think that Islamabad will be convinced of such a scenario even if the facts — as they have been presented by the Government of India — are staring it in the face. And even if the Pakistanis are convinced that the lone surviving terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab’s interrogation statements are kosher, along with recovered weapons and equipment all pointing to Pakistan, it is foolish to expect them to not keep denying and parroting the words ‘not enough evidence’ for everyone else to hear.
Which brings us to why New Delhi, despite knowing that it will still be listening to a stuck record from across the border, has presented Pakistan — along with the US, Britain, China and Israel — a dossier of incriminating material. For one, it puts serious pressure on Pakistan to keep itself busy fighting a PR war in the face of a barrage of some pretty strong evidence. For another, it puts Pakistan further into the corner where repeating such denials simply looks silly on the diplomatic front even to friendly countries. India’s ‘spreading the word’ strategy sits well at a time when a changing-regime Washington is in limbo. There’s little that the US can do at this juncture to lean a little heavily on its old subcontinental ally. But with other countries within global groups like the P5 at the United Nations Security Council and the G8 on board the train that has Pakistan travelling in the opposite direction, the new dispensation under President Barack Obama will already have its Pakistan policy map charted out. The signs of a post-26/11 critical mass support for India’s position were visible when China, a strong ally of Pakistan, was forced to remain neutral in the UNSC resolution vote to outlaw the Jamaat-ud-Dawa.
India is diplomatically showing more maturity than it did after the terrorist attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001. The Indian troop build-up along the border allowed the Pakistani army to pull itself out of the Afghan-Pakistan border area in its (unwilling) fight with the US against al-Qaeda and focus on the Indo-Pak border. This time round India must ensure that Pakistan doesn’t wriggle out of the world’s attention.