August 10, 2020
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'Govt. Doesn't Understand The Distinction Between A Dialogue And Summitry'

But if the Prime Minister promises that he will take first the nation together, there is no Pakistani who can defeat us, argues the Congress polemicist.

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'Govt. Doesn't Understand The Distinction Between A Dialogue And Summitry'

The country just does not know what the Government wanted out of the Agra Summit. I was amazed at the pride Dr. Vijay Kumar Malhotra took in congratulating Atalji on sending President Musharraf back to Pakistan empty-handed.

What I want to ask, the Prime Minister is this. Did President Musharraf say anything in Agra that he had not said again and again? We have been listening to President Musharraf repeatedly saying that all he was interested in talking about was his core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Prime Minister says now that he has sent back President Musharraf long-faced and empty-handed. Is that why he invited President Musharraf here? Did he invite him to send him back long-faced and empty-handed? Did he invite him so that he could insult him after coming here?

What was the purpose of inviting him? I think, the Prime Minsiter should tell this country that he failed and it is he who is empty-handed and long faced. If the Government feels proud about its performance, then, I am afraid, further diplomatic disaster are in store for us.

The Government of India cannot distinguish between pre-conditions for a dialogue and conditions for a conclusion. How was the Government of India going to change the nature of the Government of Pakistan? How could it end cross-border terrorism – by falling on the knees and pray? How could you stop them from indulging in hostile propaganda?

I am also amazed that it is unable to understand the distinction between a dialogue and summitry. Dialogue requires preparation. Summits require even more preparation. I have seen with my own eyes the way in which the late Shri Rajiv Gandhi prepared for four long years for the Summit with the late Deng Xio Peng.

At the Summits you do not have to sit and have long detailed discussions about the wordings of the Draft. A dialogue on the other hand is structured by a series of levels in a pyramidal structure.

Mr. Prime Minister, you have made a grave mistake by deciding that you will climb the Mount Everest but nobody will go with you. What is more with regard to Pakistan is that a dialogue has already been structured when Shri Salman Haidar, the former Foreign Secretary went to Islamabad in June, 1997.

Summits have got two purposes in diplomacy. One is to commence a process, the other is to conclude a process. If you have a summit, which neither commences a process nor concludes a process, it ends up disrupting the process.

Contrast, how the Lahore and Agra summits were prepared with the preparations which President Clinton made for his summit with the Prime Minsiter. The United States of America and we are friends. But because President Clinton was scheduling a summit with the Indian Prime Minister on Indian soil for the first time in 22 years, they first conducted ten rounds of negotiation between Shri Jaswant Singh and Mr. Strobe Talbott. What you have done is rank amateurishness. The confusion at Agra reflected the confusion at Lahore.

In December, 1998, the Raksha Mantri of India, with careful thought writing a foreword for publication in a book describes the threat from Pakistan as a myth. If the Defence Minister of India believes in December, 1998, that there is no threat from Pakistan, then how can the Indian military forces be ready to face that threat?

It is blindness of this kind. We will have a debate on the Kargil Review Committee. The Review Committee says that RAW predicted a limited swift offensive threat and suggested that Nawaz Sharief was fully in the picture and was aware of the broad thrust of the Kargil plan. And yet, the Prime Minister went! Many Prime Minister make mistakes but they learn from these mistakes. Has the Government shown that it has learnt the lessons from Lahore?

Let us come to Jammu and Kashmir. We are very much offended that President Musharraf calls it a dispute. I congratulate the Government of India on objecting and on insisting that Kashmir is not a dispute. But when President Clinton at the invitation of Prime Minister Vajpayee came to the Central Hall of Parliament, he described Jammu and Kashmir as a dispute. Did the Prime Minister object to it?

The statement of the G-8 in Geneva demanded that we should resume without delay, a direct dialogue that addresses the root causes of the tension including Kashmir. Does the Government of India accept that the root cause of tension between India and Pakistan is Jammu & Kashmir? Did the Government of India at least go to the G-8 Foreign Ministers and say that there is no such place as Kashmir?

In 1973, the Pakistanis also have said, "….. the question of Jammu & Kashmir." It was on the UN agenda. For the first time after 1965, the UN Security Council passed a Resolution on the 6th June, 1998 in which it urges India and Pakistan to resume the dialogue in order to remove the tensions between them and find mutually acceptable solutions that address the root causes of these tensions, including Kashmir." Is it the root cause of the tensions?

Have we told the Americans or the G-8 that it is unacceptable to us? The statement given in the House talks about the efforts at the summit level to bridge the gap. Are the summits the place for global pyrotechnic?

Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao, in 1993 found a formulation to bridge the gap. In his letter to Benazir Bhutto, he put it down as, "we are ready to discuss issues related to Jammu and Kashmir". But instead of that you are insisting on abandoning the past.

I would say, please go to Pakistan but only after due preparations, when you begin a dialogue you must state your maximum position and you must stick to it. The dialogue must be composite and not fractured. Please be patient and do not be in a hurry. Please seek the cooperation of people like myself who have spent 20 years completely immersed in India-Pakistan relations. Jaswantji and I were together in a small working group that worked with Pakistanis.

When it came to issues like Pakistan and China or to South Asia or to relations with the United States of America, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had created an atmosphere in which there was no opposition and there was no Government. If the Prime Minister promises that he will take first the nation together, there is no Pakistani who can defeat us.

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