POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jul 31, 2009 AT 07:30 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 01, 2009 05:20 IST

Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express says "the disappointment with the PM’s statement in Parliament was that it did nothing to assuage his detractors. It also gave no evidence that he will have the credibility to carry the country when genuine peace might be possible":

The PM is technically right in his statement: mere mention does not amount to an admission of anything. But this technical self-exoneration misses the larger politics of the issue... Whatever is the truth of the matter, there is a propaganda war on this issue; and recently scholars in the US have given succour to claims of Indian involvement. Our challenge will not be issuing denials: it will be reclaiming the moral high ground.

...What makes this task odd is the fact that the Pakistani government, instead of doing something that would appeal to Indian public opinion, went on to milk the Sharm el-Shaikh statement in a propaganda war. And we took the rather bizarre line: go by the interpretation we are giving, not the interpretation Pakistan is giving. This is an odd new definition of a “joint” statement. It is awkward for the PM to say “trust but verify,” when at the same time the Pakistani leadership seems to be cocking a snook at you.

...By putting Balochistan on the table we are continuing to feed Pakistan’s self-perception that it is the victim. This sense of victimhood is the biggest obstacle in Pakistan’s coming to terms with its problems

Full piece: Making Sense of Pakistan

On a related note, in the Hindustan Times, Ram Guha points to the elephant(s) in the room:

" is worth investigating the background of the three men who have primary responsibility for our foreign policy. These are Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna and National Security Adviser (NSA) M.K. Narayanan.

Two things are common to these men — their age, and their relative lack of experience in foreign policy.

At the risk of being accused of ‘age-ism’, one must ask whether the recent misjudgements in our dealings with Pakistan and the United States are completely unconnected with the age of our principal negotiators. For the worrying thing is that the prime minister, the foreign minister and the NSA are all the wrong side of 75. In the rocky ocean of global politics, the Indian ship of State can carry one old man, perhaps even two. But three?

More here

POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jul 31, 2009 AT 07:30 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 01, 2009 05:20 IST
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Aug 02, 2009
10:09 PM
For once Rama Chandra Guha is spot on. Age-ism is nonsense. There is nothing called age-ism. Nobody can avoid bilogical deacay of human body, its limbs, sensory organs, most of all slowdown of reflexes with age.

With age - old age - there is inherent tiredness of mind & the body. Fighting spirit retards. People tend to compromise easily. Give up at first sight of a fight. Moreover experience of life makes one sceptic, cynic, immune to new ideas.

The situation was compounded by Dr. Sing's faith in things American, his comfort zone being the world of rich & the superrich. A gentleman to the core, he has studied his economics in first part of the last century, nourished in the World Bank/IMF prescription of third world economic development & practce of looking up to the Americans. His last economics related assignment being a government finance beureaucrat which is to say nothing.

Economics has since passed by IMF/WB percept of third world growth, these institutions themselves discarding/dicrediting their own prescrbe & moved on. With China moving on & many a latin- Ameracan third world countries outgrew the US hegemony.

Unfortunately Dr. Manmohan Sing is the most distinguished member of that Indian establishment wich is in deadly fear of change. They instinctively suspect change, let alone engineer change.

It so happened this static mindset of the habit of looking up to America is at this point of time eminently congruent with interest of the Indian rich & elite . MMS's natural soulmates.

The defence that Sharm-el Sheik is poor drafting , unlateral insertion & not legally binding are whole lot of verbiage. Fact of the matter , I suspect it's by design , American design. Pakistan is the corner stone of US foreign policy , Indai not so. The declaration is to ease pressure on Pakistan. The Indain delegation in the age old instinctive 'if its America it must be good for us' mind set went along hook,line & sinkaer.

The Indian eshtablishment , however remained fossilised in perception of pure monitory growth as development, world over development is being redefined.
Aug 01, 2009
08:16 PM
Merely by admitting to including B in the statement does not make India a accused in formenting trouble in B.Yes we could have done without it.Having done it we have nothing to hide ,we have never had anything to do with the prooblems Pak faces in B.As for the charge by the opposition that the PM has deviated from our stated position,Its not really the case.The effort to delink terror attacks from talks is poor diplomacy.We can never talk until PAK shows tangible proof of action against antiIndia terror.Dr Singh is going through a bad time ,no wonder the goof up.
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