India has said Osama bin Laden's death will not materially change the content of its ongoing dialogue with Pakistan. However, it expects Islamabad to go after the leaders of other militant outfits, which had acquired global reach but focussed on espousing violence against India.
Government sources said: “Talks with Pakistan will continue… we have to engage… the focus would be on issues of concern. There are many issues to discuss — normalisation of trade, human exchanges, prisoners, cross-LoC trade, Sir Creek, Siachen, peace and security, confidence building measures. We have to do that in a grown up fashion.''
The sources also sought to dampen the supposition that it was now time to turn the screws on Pakistan or to contemplate a U.S.-type operation to eliminate militant leaders involved in violence against India.
“You can't luxuriate in the assumption that India could exercise a giant swatter-like approach towards Pakistan. This is not realistic. Our approach has to be a factor of where we are and where we are placed.
“Pakistan is a foreign country but part of us. We have a very different relationship [from the Americans]. It is very easy to be hawkish on Pakistan. It is very easy to say: bring Pakistan on its knees. But it won't be the end game. The story won't end there,'' cautioned the sources.
“The dialogue must not be an exercise to humiliate Pakistan. Pakistan as a country is no pushover as the Americans have realised,'' they added.
On the U.S. operation, the sources pointed out that this was not the first time such an attempt was made without taking the host country into confidence. “We were not rendered senseless by shock [Osama's killing]. We have seen it before. And India is not dissecting to death issues like sovereignty. You have achieved your goal. We are happy.''
India did not think the al-Qaeda chief's death had ended the ongoing war against terrorism. Osama's operational role for the last five to seven years had become somewhat circumscribed due to surveillance and pursuit by the international intelligence community. However the al-Qaeda's remnants and franchisees will continue to espouse the virulent ideology of jehad and the terrorist agenda to accomplish it because the “Jehadi mindset is not dissuaded easily.”
New Delhi would like the International community to remain vigilant and continue with the ‘relentless pursuit' of terrorists. “We urge the international community to continue to remain alert. Unless you eliminate it, you won't get final closure,” said the sources.
“The killing vindicates what we have been saying for quite some time — without the elimination of terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries, there can be no end to the global war against terrorism. What was sensational was the fact that bin Laden was found living in a large mansion in Abbottabad... only 80 km from Islamabad. How he was living there without support from the Pakistani establishment is one aspect which should be examined,'' they said.
Osama's killing would not materially change the content of the ongoing India-Pakistan dialogue. “There are very well-defined issues which continue to be of concern and they remain valid regardless of Osama's killing. Our effort is to reduce the contentiousness in India-Pakistan ties.”