About 40 retired military, intelligence and civilian officials have called for a halt in talks with Pakistan though one of the signatories to the statement, diplomat G. Parthasarathy, felt that while dialogue at the bureaucratic and military levels could continue, New Delhi needs to think hard about how to challenge Pakistan’s strategy.

“The government would be well advised not to rush into a dialogue with Pakistan on the assumption that the new Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, is ostensibly committed to improving ties with India,” the officials said in the statement.

But a strategic expert, who did not wish to be named, pointed out that those leading this signature drive have been known to hold this stand for a long time. “It is the same crowd but now they have come out in the open,” he observed.

The statement quoted the former Navy Vice-Chief, Vice Admiral (Retd.) K.K Nayyar, as demanding the imposition of a severe penalty on Pakistan. The former Chief of the Army Staff, Gen. (Retd.) N.C. Vij said India must raise its stakes as an “answer”.

The former Intelligence Bureau Director, Ajit Doval, felt Pakistan’s failure to hand over organised crime fugitives was indicative of its intentions.

Among others who signed the statement were the former military officer, Gen. Shankar Roy Chowdhury; Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy; the former intelligence officials, A.K. Verma and C. D Sahay; the former bureaucrats, Anil Baijal and Dhirendra Singh; and the former diplomats, M. K. Rasgotra, Kanwal Sibal and J.C Sharma.

More In: National | News