Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Over to Mr Narayanan...

Last time it was Islamabad which said that India was not serious about resolving the Kashmir issue. This time, it is New Delhi which is saying that Pakistan is not serious. The blame game loop will probably continue to play on between India and Pakistan, sans new proposals and a looming reluctance to take up the issue seriously. Analysts, both from India and Pakistan will agree, there was nothing new in what Pakistan President Musharraf had said and there is nothing novel in what India's National Security Adviser MK Narayanan has said.

As Pakistan's leading paper Daily Times puts it, "The significance of what Mr Narayanan has said lies, unfortunately, in what may go wrong between Pakistan and India than in what new possibilities there might be for the two sides to move forward meaningfully".
In an interview to a private channel here, Narayanan had talked of various options that would serve as catalyst in solving years of mistrust and issues between the two neighbours. He had talked of making LoC as permanent border between the two neighbours, which Islamabad outrightly rejected. Quite like the way President Musharraf's demilitarisation proposals were put down by New Delhi early this year.
Calling Narayanan's observations "significant", Daily Times says, "…the idea is not new, but this is the first time an Indian NSA has indicated that India could drop its claim to Azad Jammu and Kashmir."


"India seems to be doing three things: It is becoming pro-active to counter a host of proposals put forward by General Musharraf and by bringing in the LoC issue, it is indicating the limits of the dialogue process," the paper observes. he most important statement by Narayanan on entering into a dialogue with militant commanders like Syed Salahuddin has forced Pak media to ask, "What could India possibly achieve by pulling such groups into the dialogue loop?" Jehadi groups like Hizbul Mujahideen have for long remained outside the ambit of any dialogue process.
"They have stuck to maximalist position that India has no business being in Kashmir," says Daily Times. Further, Narayanan's claims that Islamabad was breeding a new form of Jehadi terrorism to fan communal tensions in India, was also refuted by Pakistan foreign office and it led to some harsh reactions from the Pakistani media.

"India needs no alien agent provocateurs to spark communal violence. It has battalions of its own homegrown ones in the large clan of rabid Hindu chauvinists fathered by RSS to do the job," The Frontier Post argues. Considering the issue on a broader level, Daily Times says, "…Simultaneously a new game may be on between the two sides, one which goes beyond the issue of Kashmir. In a strongly worded editorial, Pakistan Observer says, "India is up to some mischief". "Watchers of Pakistan-India scene fully know that New Delhi has often been doing so to misguide Indian public opinion and at the same time malign Pakistan in order to distort its image in the comity of nations," the Observer notes. The most positive aspect in the entire episode is that finally Pakistan won't accuse India of not giving suggestions to solve issues between the two neighbours. Period.

(Written on March 23, 2006 for HT)

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