Mushu Mushu haasi

Mushu Mushu haasi deo” must be the song on the lips of the Indian diplomats who were all gaga over the recent paltry visit of the Pakistani Dictator. I think if it achieved something, it was the dilution of the tough stance against cross-border terrorism, the existence of which was gradually being acknowledged publicly by Pakistan and the rest of the World (read USA) post 9/11. In effect, the erstwhile BJP government was perhaps better off dealing.

Analysts such as Dileep Padgaonkar say that Musharaff has progressed from an “obdurate soldier” at Agra Summit to an “astute politician” of today, with a vision. We hope this is true. Nobody can deny his efforts at projecting Pakistan as a moderate forward-looking nation (whether he is actually working towards that, Khuda only knows).

More than anything, I was taken aback by the unwarranted hype. The prior visit of Chinese Premier, probably more significant, attracted no buzz. First, there is no comparing the current visit with the Agra one. This one was no summit! There was nothing that could have emerged. With no diplomatic homework being done at all, this was just not the right occasion. It was no wonder that both the sides were so flexible. Watching the press briefings even a layman could have seen that the outcome was cipher. “We achieved much more that I expected”, said the General with a dim face. As if he had come here with the belief that Kashmir will be handed over to him in a platter.

The only positive steps taken IMHO are the efforts on restoring the two Ts, trade and travel, between the nations. The best way to coerce a misbehaved child is either thrashing or making him busy and happy. The former has not worked, so we must try the latter. Though, it?s difficult to view such steps without wariness; we have been brought up to hate Pakistan. Atanu worries that projects such as the Indo-Iranian pipeline would only let Pakistan arm-twist us later, I don?t fully subscribe to this. An economically progressive and politically stable Pakistan certainly means less trouble for us.

Swaminathan Aiyar has no faith in the summits and the bus-diplomacy either, which he says, “creates an illusion that Pakistan is a key player in the issue”. He raises another valid question on the way Kashmir problem was dealt with right from the beginning (“it was New Delhi and not Islamabad that created the problem”). He cites the example of Punjab Terrorism that was successfully tackled by the local Police rather than the Army, the latter he rightfully says, “is simply not suited to tackle civil militancy”. Hello! Is anybody listening?


Oddvani and the eno-effect

The PM to be, L.K.Odd-vani is a great movie buff and like most stereotypical Hindi film characters is a hopeless blusterer. In last many posts I had talked about his and BJP's poll strategy of passing the Indo-Pak friendship lollypop to the minorities and the feel-good lollypop to the majority urban masses. This, he hopes, can work wonders. So founded is his view that he has started talking about its eno-effect to the Ayodhya and Kashmir issue in a single go. Ayodhya he says will be solved in a jiffy after the elections and the cricket-diplomacy will woe the Muslim janata at home to keep mum while they build the Ram temple, exactly where they want to (and the non-partisan media has fueled this feeling), and the Muslims on the other side of the LOC will gleefully surrender POK to India. If the record of Indian wins in limited over cricket over Pakistan were not dismal he would perhaps have solved the Kashmir Issue on the basis of who wins the rubber.

I wonder what keeps people from reckoning the real facts. Vir Sanghvi said in his recent column that Mian Musharraf's recurrent Kashmir-is-the-core-issue rhetoric is but natural, considering the military-man-at-the core he is. A man trained to fight Indians cannot shed his true skin overnight. Kashmir is the issue on which Indian and Paki hukmarans have been carrying their bread and butter on. In the breeze of friendship-series Sanghvi however has been too greedy to predict that the current atmosphere is an indication that the two countries will be bhai-bhai again, if we just neglect the General. I have not an iota of doubt that the atmosphere of disbelief and hatred are born out of the diplomatic measures, this is what politicians want. But it also doesn't mean that Kashmir issue can be solved in 6 seconds. Former Army Chief Gen S Padmanabhan has been belligerent, but much more practical in his book where he predicts only a military solution to the problem.

My clear view on this is: either India goes ahead for a closed-door talk with Pakistan (the very way it is progressing with China, an NDTV report had indicated few months back that China was negotiating a secret deal to lay hands on some portion of Indian territory of Aksai Chin in lieu of Sikkim being regarded as integral part of India), media has ruined many a summits, and decide on the LOC being converted to International border and end this once and for all or put a full stop to this friendship drama and fight it out. The latter would demand guts on part of India to “checkmate the US”, as Padmanabhan puts it, which, I am sorry to say, we never had.