By K.N. Pandita
The US Congressional Research Service report defining Pakistan as the home of terrorist outfits is of much significance to India. It formally mentions one of the five main Pakistani militant groups targeting India including Kashmir for terrorist attacks and subversion. The report sets at rest a two decade long ambivalence of the United States over India’s repeated allegations of terrorism being sponsored and abetted on Pakistani soil. Although Pakistan has been vehemently denying that her soil is used for terrorist attacks on India, yet the US Congress has now a clear report that should dispel all her doubts. CRS said India-and Kashmir-oriented militants, especially the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), and Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HuM), are based in both the Punjab province and in Pakistan-held Kashmir. This repudiates Islamabad’s plea that there could be non-state activists running the militancy training camps in Pakistan.
The CRS report gives rise to some serious questions for the Government of India. In the first place, the new thinking among the US Congressmen cannot go without direct impact on the overall temper of Indo-Pak talks in which Washington has been pinning hope for quite some time. Our Prime Minister, too, has throughout been a supporter and promoter of continuing talks with our neighbour. But knowing that Pakistani jihadi outfits, determined to bring terror to India including Kashmir, enjoy patronage from her intelligence establishment, there has to be a new approach to the entire gamut of bilateral talks. If Islamabad finds that talks and good relations with India would contribute to normalization of Pakistan’s internal disorder, then it has first to settle its score with the Army and ISI In other words, it has to evolve a mechanism by dint of which all jihadi outfits on Pakistani soil are liquidated. Pakistan can approach India as well for her assistance in dealing with the menace. We come to the conclusion that unless terror structure is dismantled in Pakistan, there seems no real purpose in pursuing the talks. It is one thing to say that talks should continue but its import is different. Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, the terrorist outfit assigned with operations in Kashmir is a long standing beneficiary of Pakistan’s ISI. Therefore its operations in Kashmir and India are essentially sponsored and supported by ISI. This was proved amply by the investigations into the 26/11 incident and the deposition made by Headley in a Chicago court. Islamabad refused to handover LeT chief Hafiz Saeed to India where he would be tried for international conspiracy of subversion in another country. He is receiving full protection of the ISI and is often hosted as the guest of GHQ in Rawalpindi. LeT seems to have now overgrown its size and is bossing over two other militant organizations that are involved in Kashmir fighting.
Now is the time that New Delhi puts its foot down and tells Washington in very clear words that unless Pakistan dismantles the terror structure on her soil, there can be no progress in bilateral talks nor can there be any change in status quo. This will blunt the edge of American pressure on New Delhi. Secondly, there seems very less relevance in inducting the third element in talks with the Kashmir separatists who have been demanding the same. The team of interlocutors has been at the wheel for nearly a year now and its report is awaited. But apparently the report cannot and should not ignore the threadbare analysis carried by the Congressional Research Service report.
Lastly, the CRS report underlines the fact that Pakistan wants to grab Kashmir through internal subversion and by inciting the masses of people in Kashmir by playing up their sensitivities. As this is the part of established policy of Islamabad to wrest Kashmir from Indian hands through the use of lethal weapons and stratagem, India should reserve and exercise the right of retaliation for defending her own position. Any small thinking of making concessions internally or externally will mean dealing a hard blow to country’s territorial sovereignty. No concession is imaginable in view of what the CRS report says. Also what New Delhi should know is that various solutions to the vexed problem are floated day in and day out only to deepen the dilemma and create mistrust among the people of the state. The people in the valley have to realize that they owe responsibility to their future generations. Their thinking has to be clear and they should not submit to any blackmail.