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A new chapter in India-Pak relations?


India-pakistan-flagThe passing of intelligence by Pakistan NSA Lt. Gen. Nasir Khan Janjua that certain LeT or Huzi operatives, which could include suicide bombers, have entered India has resulted in intense debate among the security experts whether this is just a ploy by Pakistan to score marks or is a genuine change of heart. The discussion has occupied the major prime time on TV channels has seen more sceptics then otherwise. Their belief and perception must be seen in light of the past chequered history of India Pakistan relationship. It is also not known as to what details have been shared and whether these are enough to trace the intruders. There is no official version available for either of the countries and the news of intelligence sharing has trickled down through sources.

The central issue, whether there is a rethinking in the political and military establishment in Pakistan in their approach to the terrorism which has been nurtured in the back yard as an instrument of causing social and economic destabilization in India, does not beget a simple and straight forward answer. It is no doubt that Pakistan has been a victim of home grown terrorism and has seen large devastation in terms of losing number of young innocent children and citizens. The public of Pakistan, which has borne the brunt of different hues of terrorism in its backyard, is no longer in sync with the anti-India policies as it has started hurting them. There is large section of right minded thinkers and army officers who have started questioning the purpose and role played by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in actively supporting the terrorist operations across the border. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sarif has also to deliver the positive results of his overtures to India to the local constituents and world community at large indicating that it is he who is at the command of thing in Pakistan. On the other hand, Mr Narendra Modi Indian Prime Minister also faces a similar dilemma especially after his sudden halt at Lahore to wish Nawaz Sarif a happy birthday which was followed by Pathankot incident. The hawkish security experts in India continue to believe that these gestures provide only photo opportunities rather than anything in substance. They question the Modi’s policy towards Pakistan and often term it as confused and an example of flip flop.

One must remember that the two neighbors, who share the common heritage and many more things, have to live together and continuous bickering between the two, sporadic clashes at border, crossing of terrorist across border and LoC from Pakistan side would work as hurdles in their economic development with large amount of GDP being spend on defense and security expenditure. While it can be said that the change in conduct of Pakistan in passing this intelligence and registration of an FIR in Pathankot case and showing eagerness to investigate it may be due to pressure of American administration to do more on anti-terrorism front. But there is no harm in taking careful steps in continuing the dialogue and explore every possible diplomatic step in the fervent hope of better friendly relationship in spite of past setbacks. After all it is not a single initiative but a huge effort and vision on part of the political leadership of the two countries that will turn the dark page of history of bilateral relationship filled with bitter memories.

It may also be mentioned that given the past history of terrorist striking in parts of India with active support of the neighbor, we cannot let down our guard. The Central Government and law and order machinery of the States must be given full credit for taking all measures to ensure that no untoward incident takes place especially in the spring season of festivals.

The writer, an IPS officer, recently retired as Director General of Bureau of Police Research & Development and has earlier served for long years in CBI & NIA. The views expressed are personal."

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