Wednesday, July 12, 2006

peace in the time of terror


In the aftermath of the Mumbai bomb blasts, it is important that the Indo-Pak peace initiatives are not sidetracked.

Of course, Pakistani politicians like Kasuri do not help. His statement that the
'best way' of dealing with extremism in South Asia is to tackle 'real issue' of Jammu and Kashmir can only be described as stupid and immature.

Predictably, the Indian External Affairs Ministry is up in arms, prompting Kasuri to deny his statement.

Now whether or not Pakistan had a role in the blasts, it is in our long term interests to take the peace initiatives further. And as of now, most analysts are indeed suggesting that Pakistan had a hand in the Mumbai blasts, as they had in the London blasts and the averted New York blasts. (Details here.)

The international community (which, I suppose, means the US and its cronies) are silently denouncing Pakistan for subcontinental violence. Condoleeza Rice refused to hold a joint press conference in Washington recently. Not that that's an earth-shattering event, but it's an unequivocal singal of Pakistan falling out of favour. India can, and must, build on that sentiment across the world, and force Pakistan to shut down its terror training camps. Leading Pakistani newspapers like The Dawn have cautioned the government against the ISI's unchecked power in the country. It is something that India, and the world must look at too.

Although Kasuri's statement was immatue and in appalling taste, it does have an element of truth in it. We need to look at our long-term interests, and go forward with the peace process which has gained momentum in the past year.

And the media plays a big role in this process of consensus-building, and in avoiding blame game. suspending the peace process will only worsen things, and justify the militants' arguments that India is not committed enough to the cause of Kashmir and other Indo-Pak issues.

Postscript:

Menoncholic has an excellent post about how he's sick of
Mumbaikars being patted on their heads by the world with something approaching avuncular pride and commended for their ‘resilience’.

Incidentally, The Indian Express has an op-ed by Farah Baria on the same subject.

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