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India cannot always be at Odds with Pakistan

By Kuldip Nayar September 14, 2011 Former national security adviser MK Narayanan, now the governor of West Bengal, has always been a hawk. That he differed with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on i mproving relations with Pakistan, does not come as a surprise to those who have followed his career from the days of his service in the intelligence agencies. E ven then, his reports are said to have been anti-Pakistan. Such bureaucrats, on both sides, have not allowed normalisation between the two countries. And they a re still at it. I was amazed when Narayanan was appointed as the national security adviser (NSA) . I could tell why, when I was told that he was close to the dynasty. His loyalty was tested during Mrs Indira Gandhis authoritarian rule and he came out on top. I n the beginning, there were two advisers, one for politics and another for secur ity. When former foreign secretary JN Dixit, heading the political side died, bo th segments came under Narayanan, thanks again to his proximity to the dynasty. I admire the patience of Singh who put up with Narayanan for such a long time. M aybe, the prime minister could not convince the dynasty that Narayanan should be m oved elsewhere because he was not on the same page with him when it came to rela tions between India and Pakistan. Probably, the history of rapprochement between the two countries could have been different if Narayanan had not been the NSA. A US diplomat cable released by the WikiLeaks says that when Mamohan Singh spoke about Indias shared destiny with Pakistan, Narayanan reportedly said: You have a shared destiny, we do not. There is no reason to disbelieve the report, particula rly when Indias Foreign Office (FO) has expressed its inability to comment on it. Narayanan is the one who can throw light but he has preferred to keep silent on this aspect, although he has said that India wanted the custody of David Headle y, a US citizen, who has had a hand in the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Narayanans successor, Shiv Shankar Menon, was high commissioner at Islamabad. I f ound him to be a person who believed that India and Pakistan should be on the be st of terms. I believe he has, of late, undergone a change, not on people-to-peo ple contact, but the limit to which India should go to make up with Pakistan. He was not in favour of separating terrorism from talks as Singh had agreed at Sha rm el-Sheikh. Menon is not yet a hawk, like Narayanan, but reportedly differs wi th Singh, who is willing to go the extra mile to make up with Pakistan. Even during a memorial lecture that Menon delivered at New Delhi recently, he wa s equivocal on Indias future relations with Pakistan. He gave all credit to Singh for the positive, forward-looking policy and for his keenness in burying the ha tchet with Pakistan. But Menon was diffident to share his vision. Therefore, our FO and the NSA are often seen at loggerheads with the prime minis ters office on relations with Pakistan. I can understand the burden of history be coming too heavy for a north Indian or a Punjabi who has suffered because of Par

tition. But both Narayanan and Menon belong to Kerala, the tip of the south and it is strange that the two top officials, particularly Narayanan, who even sabot aged the prime ministers effort, should continue to occupy key positions in the g overnment. But them and others, who oppose friendship with Pakistan, do not seem to realise that India cannot always be preparing for a war or defense of its territory if it has to grow economically. They may come to the conclusion one day, as some fa natics in Pakistan are realising now, that there is no alternative to peace. Eve n a hardliner like General Pervez Musharraf, who started with a policy of fire a nd brimstone, ultimately came to infer that Pakistanis and Indians had to live a s friendly neighbours. He agreed to the present borders but proposed how to make them irrelevant. His formula is still lying somewhere in Pakistans FO, accumulat ing dust. But the formula should have been the starting point for the talks goin g on behind the scenes. That Singh remains positive is a plus point to our otherwise wishy-washy foreign policy. The writer is a syndicated columnist and a former member of Indias Rajya Sabha Source: The Express Tribune, Lahore URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamCurrentAffairs_1.aspx?ArticleID=5495

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COMMENTS

9/16/2011 2:27:04 PM satwa gunam

I really would not know when our author will come with terms of reality of proxy

terrorist war done by Pakistan. It can talk with Pakistan but keep the guard o n for the own benefit and survival. PAKISTAN IS NOT WORTH TRUSTING A PENNY. They are playing double game with USA and china at this point of time and USA and Ta liban.