Friday, July 24, 2009

PM Manmohan Singh facing flak over joint statement with Pakistan

How often is that the Government, and the party that runs the Government, speak in different voices ? And yet, that is what is happening recently. India has a long history of taking steps that seem like buckling down under pressure, or which don't seem to be fundamentally sound. One can name the letting go of Occupied Kashmir by Nehru, of letting the victories of 1965 and 1971 preventing the dictating of terms to Pakistan, and so on. One now needs to put Prime Minister Manmohan Sing on the same pedestral, as having concluded an agreement with not many apparent benefits.
So, what did the PM do which the party refuses to comment on, and noticeably, does not support even when asked a direct question ? Even since the Mumbai attacks of 26/11, the Indian position has been that it wants to see steps taken to ensure the trial of people involved in Pakistan, as well as significant steps taken to eliminate the support structure for terrorism. Pakistan takes steps forward and backward at the same time. It for examples refuses to take decisive steps against the Lashkar-e-Toiba.
In this environment, the Prime Minister signs a statement with the Pakistani PM Gilani that stated that the discussions could not be held bound to a single issue such as terrorism, and also, controversially, acknowledged Pakistan's concerns about Balochistan, an insurgency that it claims is supported by the Indian Government, primarily through RAW. The PM claimed that there was no mention of Kashmir, that Pakistan has been significantly cooperating including acknowledging the role of the LeT and its nationals in the Mumbai attack. However, much to the discomfiture of the party, the Pakistani Government started raking up the issue of Indian support to Balochistan right after this statement.
Quite clearly, the PM has given a significant handle to the opposition parties, and they are using this opportunity to the maximum, attacking the Congress with glee and gusto; the Congress is not defending the statement, but this cannot go on. The party will obviously not let the PM be defenseless for too long, and this issue would have raised Sonia Gandhi's hackles also a bit.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 12:05 PM