Inexorably events are moving along a predicted course. But first some recall. On May 21, 1960, this scribe wrote: "This is therefore as good a time as any for Mr Nehru to resign from the Prime Ministership. His China policy of high stakes has not succeeded." Nehru, of course, did not resign. Came the 1962 Sino-Indian war. The rest is history.
On September 27, 1999, this columnist wrote: "Having failed in Kargil, China will now try settling with India on its own terms before India can befriend Pakistan. That would make it the Big Brother friendly to the two mutually hostile neighbours."
On April 21, 2003, this columnist wrote: "The Chinese plan to encircle India by its proxies is near completion. The Bangladesh proposal of February 1977 advocated a defence alliance headed by China and comprising Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan to contain India. Pakistan and Bangladesh have already signed up with China. The emergence of a pro-Maoist government in Nepal will complete the triangle."
The day this column appears Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will arrive. He will come after visiting Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. His foreign minister just completed his Nepal visit. He ruled out arms for Nepal. Why should the King need arms if China succeeds in brokering peace between him and the Maoists? Soon, King Gyanendra will visit Beijing. Watch the outcome of that visit. Only after its success will China permit Indo-Pak peace. Our enslavement will be complete. Before arriving, Wen Jiabao has advocated a free trade area encompassing India and China. Meanwhile, China's defence agreements with India's neighbours remain intact, right?
There is a chance for our leaders to preserve India's independence. Responding to an Indian letter-writer, President Musharraf said Pakistan would never reunify with India, but if Kashmir was settled, a close relationship between the two nations could be forged. Earlier he had clearly hinted that Pakistan was reconciled to not getting Kashmir as long as its people got self-determination. In other words, independence for the Valley was acceptable.
When Musharraf visits India on April 17, the PM should bluntly ask him: If self-determination is conceded would Pakistan be prepared for joint defence and common market with India as it prevails in the EU?
If Musharraf agrees, we will succeed. If he doesn't, forget saarc, forget Pakistan and forget China. A billion-strong nation rich in natural resources needs no ally to survive and thrive. It needs will.
(Puri can be reached at email@example.com)