‘Stable Pakistan in India’s best interests’
“Pakistan is like a man sitting on dynamite with lightning striking all around him.” That’s how leading foreign affairs expert Stephen Cohen described India’s neighbour at a media interaction on Friday.mumbai Updated: Oct 09, 2010 02:33 IST
“Pakistan is like a man sitting on dynamite with lightning striking all around him.” That’s how leading foreign affairs expert Stephen Cohen described India’s neighbour at a media interaction on Friday.
He cautioned that Pakistan’s collapse would prove catastrophic for India.
“A stable government in Pakistan is in India’s best interests… You can’t rejoice when your neighbour’s house is on fire,” said Cohen, a senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution in the US.
He said Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were spread out across the country and well guarded; it was a fallacy to think that the US could “take care” of them in case of an emergency.
Cohen spoke on a range of issues, from the proxy war in Afghanistan to the Indo-US nuclear deal over an hour.
He said that despite the 26/11 attacks, India could not afford to speak the language of retaliation.
Cohen said it is very difficult to predict the future of Pakistan given that there is no clear leadership and it is the fundamentalists who are running the country. In a recent study on Pakistan, academicians and experts presented 12 papers, all foreseeing a grim future for the country.
On Kashmir, Cohen said, Pakistan would have to be engaged. But, given the current political situation, it was best left to a later stage. “For now, India and Pakistan can try and cooperate in Afghanistan. There can be engagement on sharing of water and trade. Kashmir does not define India-Pakistan relations,” Cohen said.
He also felt that the US should not intervene in Kashmir or play a more active role on the issue. “That would frighten the Indians away,” he said.