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Sorry, are you talking to me?

india Updated: Dec 05, 2008 22:28 IST
Highlight Story

Spook cant for artifice to shift blame down informal or shadowy chains of commands, sparing leaders embarrassment brought on by their dirty tricks departments. Brainchild of Allen Dulles, first civilian director of the CIA.

An urban legend has been floating about the internet, which proposes that Mossad and the CIA are using India as a cat’s paw — with the claws out — to balkanise Pakistan. Like all great fiction, it is founded on plausible grounds. Too many of our troubles have been traced to Pakistani soil and a vast number of Indians would like to see our neighbour drawn and quartered. Even if it means that without the buffer of Pakistan, the gremlins of Central Asia will have direct access to our border.

But it turns out that we don’t have to bother our heads about it. After 26/11, it’s become obvious that Pakistan has split up of its own accord. Its borders now contain three nations ruled by three distinct entities — the elected government and civil society, the jihadis, and the khakis and their spooks. It’s a three-nation theory, a challenge to conventional international relations.

India can legally engage only with the first entity, whose rulers are in a permanent state of denial. They are repeatedly, implausibly demanding proof of complicity in terror which is available in bulk with every major news and intelligence organisation on earth. Civil society is uncomfortable about this. Our perception of opinion over there is moulded by footage from Pakistan’s India TVs posted on YouTube and Hotklix. But there are honest, humane opinion-makers like the Dawn columnist Irfan Husain, who urges Pakistanis to face the reality that their nation has become an “international migraine”, to quote Madeleine Albright.

India’s problem is that Pakistan’s three nations are not completely distinct. For instance, the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba is denying responsibility for the Mumbai carnage, probably under pressure from the government. In the same breath, it promises to bear arms on behalf of the government against India and become indistinguishable from the army, which is believed to be its minder. The perception that the elected government has no say is clearly incorrect, and it’s impossible to engage diplomatically with the shape-shifting, many-headed entity that Pakistan has become.

War between nuclear neighbours is just an elaborate way of committing suicide, so only one real actionable alternative remains — multilateral diplomacy. India is in denial about its failure in this area. Pakistan has successfully internationalised the Kashmir issue, but the community out there was dismissive of Pakistan-based terror in India until recently. They are receptive now because their citizens were attacked in Mumbai. It’s time to build international pressure by making our accumulated evidence public, and force the elected government in Pakistan to take responsibility.

Pratik Kanjilal is publisher of The Little Magazine

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