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Updated: November 13, 2011 10:56 IST

Pakistan military is on board, says Manmohan

Sandeep Dikshit
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addresses the Maldivian People's Majlis (Parliament) in Male on Saturday.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addresses the Maldivian People's Majlis (Parliament) in Male on Saturday.

Maintaining that India will wait for some “solid” developments on the economic front and on the issue of Mumbai attacks before he visited Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the Pakistan military was on board in the peace process.

Asked about the rationale behind calling Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani a man of peace, Dr. Singh said he was not putting “blind faith in any individual however well meaning he may be. Our attitude will always be trust and verify,” but Mr. Gilani was a person who was “willing to work with us.”

During their interaction, Mr. Gilani “clearly understood” that another major terrorist attack, like Mumbai, would be a big setback to the peace process. But if trade ties and normalisation moved forward smoothly that would be a positive factor.

Peace process hinges on Pakistan doing justice in 26/11 case

The 26/11 Mumbai attacks are not a fading memory, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday.

While raising with Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani the issue of quickly prosecuting the masterminds in Pakistan, Dr. Singh said he left him in no doubt that if Indian public opinion was not satisfied that those responsible for the barbaric act at Mumbai were brought to justice, the peace process could not move forward

“Pakistan has now agreed to send a Judicial Commission. India has agreed to accept, modalities are being worked out and some progress in that area is there.”

He was talking to journalists during his return from the Maldives.

Asked about Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar's statement that the Pakistani military, long considered a stumbling block, was agreeable to the initiatives being taken by the democratically elected government, Dr. Singh declined to go into details, but on raising the issue with Mr. Gilani, he came away with the impression that “after a long time, Pakistan armed forces are on board.”

“So I come back with the expectation that the second round with Pakistan will begin very shortly. But what will be the outcome of the dialogue I cannot say now because Indo-Pak relations are subject to accidents. We both recognised that if there is one more incident like the 26/11 Mumbai attack, then that would be a big setback. I think that has been clearly understood by PM Gilani.”

On enhancing the trade and economic relationship, the Prime Minister was of the view that thinking elements in Pakistan themselves realised that trade liberalisation could be a win-win situation. There was also the recognition that the confidence-building measures across the Line of Control offered an opportunity to make the life of ordinary residents of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control “more livable.”

“And I also said that Pakistan must recognise that terror as an instrument of state policy today has no takers in the world. It does not solve any problem, it has given rise to Pakistani terrorism and terror, therefore, has to be dealt with firmly.”

Returning to Mr. Gilani's invitation to visit his country, Dr. Singh said the offer was made almost every occasion the two have met. “And I have accepted the invitations but I have also said that the right moment for my visit to Pakistan would be, if we could do some solid business together. As and when that stage is reached, I would be happy to visit Pakistan. But I have not made up mind as yet.”

Dr. Singh said any decision on Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's demand for partial withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) had to be discussed by all political players objectively.

“I am conscious of the positions. All those in charge of security and those dealing with handling of all the security forces should sit and objectively discuss,” he said.

“I don't think that political process [of consulting all political forces] has been completed,” he said.

The Army is said to be opposed to revocation of the AFSPA, which gives the security forces virtually unbridled powers while undertaking counter-insurgency operations in the State

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I Differ with Ranganathan. The Corruption and blackmoney issue has noplace in Indo-Pak relations. These are different subjects altogether. Mr.Ranganathan's comments seems to be that of a confused Mother-in-law accusing her daughter-in-law. As for the meeting with Dr.MMS and Pak PM YR Gilani, per the interview of our PM it is made amply clear that we will hit back lethally in case of a repeat show of Mumbai attacks. The statements are coming from a statesman and Chief Executive of the State (India). The verbatim can not be like an ordinary police warning. The readers must understand the strength of the statement in diplomatic verbatim. I appreciate Dr.MMS for his clear message to the Pak. PM.

from:  MV Rao
Posted on: Nov 13, 2011 at 18:41 IST

Such a statement from Pakistan PM himself would have been taken with a
pinch of salt. Why does Indian PM do the job of Mr.Gilani? Pakistan is
ruled by multiple power centers: Army, Mullahs, tribal leaders, few
terrorist outfits who are its strategic assets and lastly politicians.
Any decision of Pak PM can be rolled back because of frowning by any of
these power centers - as can be seen from the recent MFN episode. India
should tread peace road with Pak cautiously - we need peace; but we do
not want to be cheated like in the past.

from:  A.Dennis
Posted on: Nov 13, 2011 at 18:09 IST

Dr.MMS single point agenda in trying to improve relations with Pakistan , is not really born out of a geniune concern to settle the long standing stand-off with the 'rogue' neighbour. It is, as most of the citizenry with even normal intelligence can comprehend, a blatant effort to divert attention from the corruption charges and Black money , which is showing dangerous pointers to the top echleons of the Congress Party. The other colossal failure to rein in prices ,and northward movement of the Petrol prices as rightly pointed out in your cartoon, like the population clock, which has made the Middle and low income class of this country already deciding to throw this incompetent Govt. at the first available opportunity. IN fact, they are now wishing if that can happen sooner and were hoping aginst hope that TMC decide to withdraw support. But it became clear later that Mamta is more interested in getting fat Central package for West Bengal and not concerned about the price inflation

from:  K.S.Ranganathan
Posted on: Nov 13, 2011 at 10:39 IST

Prime minister Man Mohan Singh is an honorable person, but I question his judgement in making even a tangential pronouncement on the favorable intentions of the Pakistan Army. In political terms, this is like India providing an unneeded fig-leaf to Pakistan, for no tangible return. What if the Pakistan Army does an about face and goes for a Kargil-2? Who will have egg on their faces? I cannot fathom why our PM would take a political risk of this nature.
It reminds one of run up to the Sino-Indian war of 1962, when Pandit Nehru, an erudite and well intentioned PM, made favorable statements about Chinese intentions only to be betrayed by them in the ensuing tragic conflict. The Pakistan Army has to prove its genuine intentions towards India. Until then, it behoves our political leadership to not mistake style for substance.

from:  CS Venkat
Posted on: Nov 13, 2011 at 07:22 IST
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