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Nawaz on India

May 15, 2013

IN my letter titled “Nawaz Sharif’s views” (May 26, 2011), I had written: “The day would be written in golden letters when Pakistanis realise that India is their friend. Nawaz Sharif expressed these feelings the other day in Karachi when he urged Pakistanis to stop looking at India as their biggest enemy. I admire his courage and statesmanship in making this statement to herald a new golden era of mutual friendship. I sincerely hope that Pakistan extends its hand of friendship towards India.”

My admiration for Mr Sharif went a few notches up when he expressed similar feelings a couple of days before the landmark 2013 elections by saying that he would not allow militant groups to attack another country from Pakistani territory and would work to improve ties with New Delhi.

It takes some courage to talk like this on the eve of the general elections.

His triumph in polls shows that most Pakistanis (like most Indians) are in favour of ending the silly old enmity and forge close and lasting friendly relationship with India. Borrowing from President Obama’s inaugural speech, I can say India will extend a friendly hand toward Pakistan if it is willing to unclench its fist.

K B KALE Jakarta

Premature overtures Nawaz Sharif’s overtures to India even before taking the oath was, to say the least, premature and hasty. One does not understand as to what was the urgency for stating that he would go to India even if not invited.

Mr Sharif has been out of touch with what has taken place in our relations with India since October 1999. He was in exile in Saudi Arabia in July 2001 when the Agra summit fiasco took place.

In December 2001 India mobilised the bulk of its forces on Pakistan’s borders in Punjab, Rajasthan and occupied Kashmir. After 10 months of eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation, realising the seriousness of the threat of a possible nuclear war, India later unilaterally ended the confrontation.

The Indian army officially unveiled the Cold Start Doctrine on April 28, 2004. Since then Indians have held 12 exercises to operationally debug it. The doctrine is Pakistan-specific and India plans to act offensively against Pakistan for any perceived acts of strategic destabilisation of India, proxy war and terrorism.

In short, India has said in declaratory terms that it would undertake offensive operations against Pakistan, short of the nuclear threshold.

Today over 70 per cent of Indian forces are deployed against Pakistan. In fact, India has only their 33rd Corps, 3rd Corps and 4th Corps deployed against China and Bangladesh.

Pakistani politicians, journalists and analysts need to look at these cold facts.

The core of our problems with India is the mindset. Kashmir, Siachin, Sir Creek, Kishin-Ganga, etc, are not the basic issues but are the corollary of this mindset.