Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Uri attack: Kashmir valley is Modi govt's albatross; unless US wants, Pak will keep upper hand, says Ex-envoy

By Our Representative
A former senior Indian diplomat has said that however much the ruling BJP may talk war following the worst-ever Uri terrorist attack, in which 18 jawans were killed, there is enough indication to suggest that Pakistan “will force India to the negotiating table.”
A career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service, who has served as a senior diplomat in Moscow, Islamabad, Bonn, Colombo and Seoul, apart from being ambassador to Turkey and Uzbekistan, MK Bhadrakumar has said, “The bottom line is that the present ruling elites dare not think of crossing any 'red line' that Washington demarcates.”
Pointing out how the US State Department, has distanced itself from the Indian positions with regard to the situation in the Kashmir valley, India-Pakistan tensions and Balochistan, the ex-diplomat says, “Conceivably, the Americans have cautioned our leadership already against making any precipitate military moves.”
“The kind of brazen military adventures that many self-styled Indian defence analysts are espousing will not get Washington's approval”, Bhadrakumar writes in his column in a news portal, adding, “As the Barack Obama administration tiptoes toward the lame-duck period, the last thing Washington wants as legacy is an India-Pakistan conflict.”
Claiming that “things are moving in this direction already”, Bhadrakumar says, “Obama has scheduled a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday, September 20 (US time)”, adding, “What emerges out of the Obama-Sharif meeting will be decisive. Sharif can be expected to raise the Kashmir issue and Obama cannot but be sympathetic to the sufferings of the people in the valley.”
Additionally, notes Bhadrakumar, “Sharif will use the opportunity to re-calibrate the Pakistan-US engagement as such. The US too will be keen to lift the ties with Pakistan out of the present trough, given its regional strategies in Afghanistan, the New Cold War, re-balance in Asia, etc.”
“Most important”, he says, “Sharif will highlight Pakistan's willingness to settle disputes and differences, especially Kashmir, through talks. Suffice it to say, Indian ruling elites will be highly vulnerable to American pressure, despite their jingoistic posturing.”
“If the Americans do not want a war between India and Pakistan or any precipitate Indian military moves that violated international law, Modi cannot act otherwise”, predicts the ex-diplomat, adding, “The umbilical cord that ties the Sangh Parivar and our ruling elites to the US establishment may be invisible, but remains robust.”
Stating that “the Indian obduracy against talks is becoming unsustainable”, Bhadrakumar says, “The situation in the valley becomes Modi government's albatross, fundamentally speaking. Unless and until the valley calms down, Pakistan keeps the upper hand.”
“The situation in the Kashmir valley becomes the Modi government's albatross. Unless and until the valley calms down, Pakistan keeps the upper hand”, he says.
This, believes Bhadrakumar, will happen despite the “harsh tone” used by BJP spokesperson Ram Madhav, who remarked, “The prime minister has promised that those behind the Uri terror attack will not go unpunished. That should be the way forward; for one tooth, the complete jaw.”
Yet, on the government's part, says the ex-diplomat, Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh have refused even to name Pakistan, let alone use Madhav-style bombastic rhetoric.
Modi, for instance, said the perpetrators of the attack will not go unpunished, which is his trademark remark whenever terrorist attacks take place, while Rajnath said, “There are definite and conclusive indications that the perpetrators of Uri attack were highly trained, heavily armed and specially equipped.”

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