After days of will they, won’t they, Indian PM Manmohan Singh met with his counterpart Nawaz Sharief in New York. That the meeting was not going to result in anything positive was always expected and in the light of the repeated violations of the LoC and the killings of Indian soldiers in cross border raids, opposition to the meeting in India was very high.
The meeting was not without controversy with Nawaz Sharief calling the Indian PM a “dehati aurat” for complaining about Pak sponsored terror before the meeting was to be held.
The Indian PM set the tone with a hard hitting speech in the UNGA calling Pakistan the epicenter of terror. So when the meeting happened, precondition for better relations was clearly set, stop ceasefire violations on the LoC, crackdown on terror outfits, bring perpetrators of Mumbai carnage to justice.
Once this was done, the outcome was a foregone conclusion. Nawaz Sharief cannot promise or deliver on Indian demands. While many in India including the government wants to trust and give him a chance, it has to be borne in mind that Nawaz Sharief (“democratic government) is part of a well oiled Pak terror machine that is run by its Army, its intelligence agency ISI along with the terror outfits. Nothing happens without all of them working in sync.
Nawaz Sharief also used the terror outfits and radicals in the election campaign and certainly cannot go against them.
All that India ended up doing was provide visibility to Pakistan which it will use at the international stage to say it is trying to have better relations with India while actually doing nothing. There is not political price to pay for Nawaz Sharief for the talks as he knows he cant deliver anything, but there will be a political price to pay in India for any government for anything that appears to be giving Pakistan a long rope.
So the meeting has failed and the relations are where they are. India has a lot to ponder on and do on home front.
First being that the recent leaks on Gen VK Singh operating a covert wing named Technical Service Division (TSD) that undertook covert ops both in Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir. This was followed by a sensational revelation Gen VK Singh that money was being paid to ministers in Kashmir. This has severely undermined the democratic process in Kashmir. Since the 90s, India has worked hard to organize free and fair elections and built credibility around it which was attracting Kashmiris to the democratic process. Many of those who still doubted it now get a reason to shout against the democratic process as being stage managed and paid. India has been hurt badly in this regard and years of hard work has now been wasted. It is going to take a massive effort to restore the credibility of the democratic process in Kashmir. There are only two “Kashmiri” parties of note, National Conference and the PDP. Neither Omar Abdullah or his father, nor does Mehbooba Mufti have any stature to pull along the Kashmiris in the democratic process that has been dented by all the leaks. How India manages, remains to be seen.
Secondly, as 2014 nears and the US looks to pull out its troops from Afghanistan, Pakistan will redouble its efforts on the Indian side of its borders. All ready the violations along the LoC have increased and so have the attempts to push militants across into India with support fire by Pakistani Army. But on the Indian side, many want the Indian Army to be pulled back, the AFSPA be withdrawn and most importantly the question of the morale of the armed forces is a huge question given that mistrust has been brewing between the military and the civilian government. Relations between the two appear to be at the lowest. There is growing politicization of what always was an apolitical organization.
Adm Arun Prakash clearly mentioned all the issues in his article where he said
In such a daunting scenario, Indians would wish their powerful military to be at the peak of combat-readiness, morale and motivation, ready to react swiftly to orders of the political leadership to meet every national crisis; whether internal disorder or external threats. Let us pause to consider if such a response can be expected from a military which suffers low self-esteem because its leadership is publicly excoriated and humiliated with regularity and snidely accused of disloyalty, by proxy, through the media.
He goes on to say
A pertinent question that arises at this juncture is how and when did the veterans become politicised? The short answer is they have actually been driven to politics over the past five to six years by the indifference of politicians and the hostile manner in which the MoD bureaucracy has handled problems relating to pensions and allowances of aging veterans, war widows and battle casualties. Forced to go to courts, they were stunned to find a litigious MoD fighting them at every step through appeals to higher courts. In a bizarre development, the MoD has perversely refused to implement even Supreme Court judgments favourable to the veterans.
But he does mention that all is not lost
Retrieval may be possible even at this late stage if the government initiates urgent action to assuage disquiet among veterans and send a message of reassurance to troops in the field.
India will have to be proactive and aggressive in protecting its territorial integrity and secure its citizens for which India will have to get its act together so that its Military,Intelligence along with the Diplomats can counter the serious threat posed by the Military Jihadi nexus of Pakistan.