Mumbai 26/11 has changed the immediate goals of Indian foreign policy. Fixing the terror networks in Pakistan has assumed renewed importance after the audacious terrorist strikes in Mumbai.
Getting hold of persons like the Jaish-e-Muhammad (army of Muhammad) chief Masood Azhar, Lashkar-e-Tayyeba boss Hafiz Saeed, and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim have become litmus tests for the success of Indian foreign policy.
Of the three, Azhar and Dawood are fugitives from Indian justice, and wanted by Interpol. Saeed has recently been sanctioned under UN Security Council resolution 1267 after the Jamaat-ud-Dawa was designated a front organisation of the Lashkar.
Can India get these wanted persons to begin with? Unprecedented pressure has been mounted by India and the rest of the world, but will it prove sufficient to bend Pakistan?
These are questions that will be asked everyday by millions of Indians of their government: how come Pakistan delivers to the West, but not to India?
Clearly, when it comes to India, the issue in Pakistan is that of ego. Reason has little to do with the Pakistani response, as has been demonstrated when the issue of wanted persons comes up.
The Pakistani state, which itself promoted the idea of a ‘bleed India’ policy, seems now to have outsourced this to groups like the Lashkar or underworld operatives like Dawood.
All the post-Mumbai evidence suggests that Pakistan is loath to bring these groups to heel given that it’s a low-cost, previously deniable link between the terrorists and the country’s permanent establishment.
But this time it promises to be different. India is not going to return to a business-as-usual approach to Pakistan unless drastic action against wanted persons and their network commences.
Is Indian diplomacy, coupled with some military pressure, up to the task?