NEW DELHI, Aug 25: Accusing Pakistan of not doing enough to address India’s problems with cross-border infiltration in Kashmir, Indian Foreign Minister Yahswant Sinha has warned of further steps, short of going to war, to get Islamabad to act, a leading news magazine said on Sunday.

“India has options,” Sinha told India Today magazine in its latest issue. “And what we have done so far does not constitute the totality of steps that one can take short of going to war.”

Asked if war was not among the undisclosed steps he envisaged to reach his goal, he said: “The classical theory is that war is the last resort of diplomacy.”

Does he subscribe to the theory? “Well, that is the historical experience,” he responded ambiguously.

And yet, the unspecified measures that India may take to further pressure Pakistan to yield to its objectives evidently do not include the option of resuming dialogue with Pakistan.

Asked if India should give in to foreign pressure to resume talks with Islamabad, Sinha gave a background of India’s interaction with the United States on the issue, before answering the question.

“What has been conveyed to us is that Pakistan will permanently end infiltration from across the LoC and that it will dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism. In other words it will not indulge in the proxy war it has been waging against India. There is no evidence as of now that Pakistan has delivered on its commitments. Infiltration from across the LoC may have declined but it is still taking place. The terrorism infrastructure is still fully in place. Unless Pakistan delivers on its commitment we cannot start a dialogue with it,” Sinha said.

Sinha described Pakistan’s attitude to controversial state polls in Kashmir as a litmus test but said: “Sadly, the August 14 speech of President Musharraf in which he damned the polls has been extremely unhelpful. Pakistan is shutting one door after another, making a dialogue that much more difficult.”

Had India gotten into a rut in its relations with Pakistan from which it was difficult to get out? Sinha said: “Have people forgotten that NATO forces were eyeball to eyeball with Soviet forces for 41 years? We had taken tough steps against Pakistan in order to convey our disappointment at what they did to us.”

Sinha ruled out inviting foreign observers to Kashmir to monitor next month’s polls. He said he had stressed to his foreign interlocutors that no bilateral relationship of India “should be hostage to our relations with Pakistan. We should not allow the pendulum of Indo-US relations to swing in tandem with what is happening vis-vis Pakistan.”

India wants to improve relations with its neighbours and not give the impression that it is entirely superpower-oriented.

In fact, Sinha said: “We care for our neighbours. My dream is that Saarc should become like EU.” Nevertheless Sinha admitted that his main challenge as foreign minister was handling of relations with Pakistan.

“Continuing cross-border terrorism by Pakistan is the most important challenge. It has reached a stage where such terrorism is not acceptable to the Indian people anymore. We have to effectively deal with this problem to put it behind us. The long-term challenge is to make India an important player in the international arena so that it is part of the solution and not of the problem.”



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