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Over to Mr Prime Minister...

india Updated: Aug 18, 2006 19:54 IST
Highlight Story

Prime Minister's Independence Day speech is seldom complete without a reference to terrorism -- the never-ceasing battle India has fought since 1947 -- be it within or outside.

And since India has consistently believed that the subject has its roots in the foreign soil, Pakistan remains very much a part of the address to the nation on every August 15.

In his 50-minute power-packed speech on this Independence Day from the ramparts of Red Fort, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave a clear warning to Pakistan to stop cross-border terrorism — much to the neighbour's repugnance.

"It is unfortunate that the Indian Prime Minister should have chosen his country's Independence Day to malign Pakistan," Pakistan's leading daily Dawn says.

It has become routine for it (the Indian leadership) to do so whenever it is called upon to justify the stalled peace process, The Nation says in its editorial.

The media further opines that the refrain bodes ill for the Indo-Pak peace process, which has already been on its lowest ebb since Mumbai blasts and diplomats' expulsion.

"Rhetoric and hyperbole are a part of any politicians language…but in the case of India and Pakistan even rhetoric can touch off a bilateral crisis, says The News International.

"…By doing so, Indian leadership is missing a unique opportunity to resolve the Kashmir issue that is the bone of contention between the two countries and a constant threat to peace and stability in the region," says Pakistan Observer.

It is the "warning" by India that has become a refrain and not the "accusation" as the Pakistan media puts it.

Last year, PM Singh had told in his strongly worded I-Day speech that "if violence continues, then our response too will be hard...Pakistan has put some checks...(but) it is necessary that the entire infrastructure of terrorism is totally dismantled".

Clearly that has not happened. Despite the warnings, violence has continued unabated and from what one could make out, it is spreading its fangs -- from Kashmir to Delhi to Mumbai.

And interestingly, this year too things have been let off with a warning. Both the neighbours need to take some hard-hitting decisions and redefine concepts.

Contrary to what most strategic analysts think, it is just not Kashmir that is the issue between India and Pakistan. It is also, as President Musharraf himself puts it, "lack of trust".

In a recent interview to a magazine, the president says: "We think that we are destroying each other or creating trouble for each other either at the government or intelligence level".

Also, Pakistan Muslim League Secretary General Mushahid Hussain Sayed believes that for his country Kashmir is not the issue, but the narrow vision with which India sees things.

Sayed further says, "Like Israel, India believes in expansionism and wants its neighbouring states to live under constant Indian fear".

But had India followed Israel, things would have been a lot different between the nuclear-armed neighbours than they stand as of now.

It took Israel just two of its soldiers to declare a war with the Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon…

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