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Why Sushma must not visit Pakistan
Terror and talks can't go together
12/4/2015 11:56:16 PM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Dec 4: Reports emanating from New Delhi and Islamabad suggest that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj may visit Pakistan next week for a regional conference on Afghanistan. Pakistan is co-hosting a Ministerial-level conference on December 9 to discuss regional cooperation on Afghanistan and officials of about 27 countries are expected to attend it.
A Pakistan Foreign Office (PFO) official told that Islamabad has invited the Foreign Ministers of different countries, including India, for the meeting. "We hope for maximum participation, though some of the countries like India so far not confirmed high-level participation," he said on condition of anonymity.
Another PFO official said there was "greater possibility that Swaraj would come to Pakistan for the regional conference after the brief interaction between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart in Paris on the sidelines of the UN climate summit".
Not one but two Pakistani leading newspapers also suggested that Swaraj was "highly likely" to attend the meeting. In fact, one Pakistani newspaper quoted an Indian diplomat that "Swaraj will most likely attend the conference following this week's unscheduled meeting between the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India in Paris".
Significantly, Sushma has also not overruled the possibility. When asked if she would visit Pakistan, she only said that her programme has not been finalized yet.
The reports regarding her probable visit to Pakistan have not gone down well with the strategic affairs experts. They want Sushma to reject the invitation to send a clear message to Pakistan that talks and terror can't go hand-in-hand. They have opined that her visit to Pakistan will negate what her ministry did in August 2014 and August 2015 to show Pakistan its rightful place. Nothing has changed since August 2014, they have said, and opined that she will lose the status she attained in August 2014 by canceling the scheduled Foreign Secretary level talks between the two countries after Pakistan insisted on talks with Hurriyat leaders. Her foreign office had made it loud and clear that issue was bilateral and that if Pakistan wished to talk to India, it had to keep the Hurriyat leadership away.
It was not only in August 2014 that the Indian Foreign Office cancelled the scheduled talks with Pakistan. It also didn't allow Pakistan to dictate terms last August and the result was the cancellation of the scheduled talks between the Indian National Security Advisor and his Pakistani counterpart. Her office had taken the right stand that the talks will be only on the issue of terror and not on any other issue. Pakistan, on the other hand, wanted to talk Kashmir.
It is hoped that Sushma will stick to her stand and deal with Pakistan in the manner she dealt with it in the past. Even otherwise, India need to reject the invitation after what Pakistan Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif did in London after the controversial Paris handshake. He told reporters in London that he didn't meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi; it was PM Modi who met with him in Paris and told him that both the countries should move ahead and that the talks between them were fruitful". The point is that Sushma's visit to Pakistan at this point in time will weaken the Indian position and further embolden anti-India forces to intensify break-India movement. It is time for New Delhi to expose Pakistan and its overt and covert support to Jihad.
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