"Why on earth are elements of the Pakistani military supporting the Taliban?" asks Time
magazine columnist Joe Klein.
And here's his answer: "In a word, India. India is, first and last, the strategic obsession of the Pakistani military. The US has come and gone from the region in the past; the perceived Indian threat is eternal."
In other words, regardless of the number of times we sue for peace, we will always be seen as 'Enemy Number 1'.
So given that, what is there to talk about?
Kashmir? It's Indian territory. What's there to discuss?
Afghanistan? They love us, and they hate Pakistan for foisting the Taliban on them, and the Taliban hates Pakistan for betraying it post 9/11. Deal with it.
Talks? Only after terrorist swine like Hafiz Saeed are either hanged in public or locked up permanently. Only after the jihadi networks in Pakistan are completely, and convincingly shut down.
Only then can we actually work towards bridging the so-called 'trust deficit'. If we don't trust them, and they don't trust us, what's the point in talking?
Of course, we don't have anyone in the government willing or able to take such a step.
But suppose we did... what would happen?
First, obviously, Pakistan would go crying to Uncle Sam, saying unless Washington forced India back to the negotiating table, it would have to divert troops currently fighting 'extremists' on the border with Afghanistan towards the Indian border.
Suppose New Delhi still refused. And pointed out that:
a) America plans to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2012 anyway.
b) The Wikileak expose clearly shows that America is - knowingly - giving money and military aid to a country that is using them to attack American interests in Afghanistan. Why should India be a part of this foolishness?
And c) Instead of asking India to step up to the plate each time for talks, why couldn't Washington pressure it's "front-line ally in the war against terror" to act against known terrorists like Hafiz Sayeed and co?
What could Pakistan's next step be then?
To organise more terror attacks on India?
That happens regardless of peace talks, (in fact, every peace talk is usually followed by one, ostensibly by elements in Pakistan opposed to peace).
Kargil, after all, happened months after Prime Minister AB Vajpayee made his historic peace trip to Lahore.
Why should we continue to offer the olive branch, or beg and plead for peace each time, time after time? Why should we send our foreign minister to be humiliated in Islamabad?
Then what? Would Pakistan make impassioned pleas at international forums about India's intransigence? Let it. Any nation that prefers Pakistan to India, is welcome to it.
Would the much-maligned Inter-Services Intelligence then try to hit at Indian interests in Afghanistan? They've already done that, and will continue to do so, talks or no talks.
Islamabad believes Afghanistan is its fiefdom, that a friendly Afghanistan, like when the Taliban was in power, gives it 'strategic depth'. In other words, plausible denial:"Poppy cultivation? What can we do? It's a free country!"
"Terrorism? Not us! it came from those pesky Talibs now ruling Afghanistan. If the all powerful US, and earlier the Soviet superpower, could not do anything, you expect us poor Pakistanis to fix it? Ok, ok, we'll try... Could you please give us a submarine or three, some F-16s, and of course truckloads of dollars, to fight them terrorists?"
But coming back to intransigent India, what else could Pakistan do? Run and whine to its all-weather friend China?
Would Beijing be willing to go to war with India, just because it refused to talk with Pakistan?
Would Pakistan then rattle its own nuclear arsenal? And tell the world that it was planning to nuke India because New Delhi was not talking to it?In an earlier column
, I had argued that we need to step away from the three-step routine we invariably follow when it comes to Pakistan:"One: Pakistan (and let's not fall for that nonsense about the ordinary Pakistani loving India, or the ISI being a rogue element outside the government's control) initiates, aids and abets terror strikes in India.
Two: In response, India makes a lot of noise, pledges to hunt down the perpetrators, and insists that talks will not take place till the terrorists are dealt with by Pakistan.
Three: Following Pakistan's nuclear sabre-rattling and US orders to act with restraint, India offers to forget the past and continue the talks. Public memory is short..."
Right now, our government believes that 'dialogue is the only way forward'.
Right now, our television channels gleefully bring us sneering soundbytes from Hamid Gul, the former ISI chief and one of the key players in the Pakistan-Taliban nexus, and a known India-baiter.
Right now, some Pakistani terrorist swine is plotting yet another strike against India.
Although Washington is currently defending Pakistan, and asserting that Islamabad had actually been brought to heel, the WikiLeaks expose might just provoke, or force, the United States to rethink its Af-Pak policy.
Isn't it time we too reviewed our Pakistan - and perhaps even our US - policy?Terror Map
| Time to divide Pakistan?
| Hey Ram: Let's give away Kashmir
| Pakistan-based terror outfits
| Your views: What should we do?
| 'This is Radio Pakistan from New Delhi'