OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.

For those of you wondering what the price tag for the Indo-US Nuclear deal was, you have to look no further. Our Communal Socialist Prime Minister has spelled it out. It is actually 6 words long and come packaged as a treaty. It is actually a bundled pricing comprising peace, friendship and security, very much in that order. Standing just 30 km from the Pakistan border, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday urged both countries to bury their acrimonious history. Without directly reacting to the latest Kashmir solution formula proposed by Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said he welcomed “all new proposals”.

Offstumped takes a critical look at what Manmohan Singh had to say.

Manmohan Singh started off with how Amritsar has benefitted from cross border trade. He then went on to obliquely welcome Musharraf’s proposals while stopping short of calling them out. He then went spell out his vision. His vision interestingly calls for an atmosphere of “Friendship” and “Trust” as pre-conditions for a Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Security. He then wrapped up with how such a treaty would be crucial to improving the economy in border towns which has suffered on account of security concerns.

The Hindustan Times in its analysis of the speech remarked that it was no ordinary coincidence that each time India is a step closer to concluding the nuclear deal with the United States, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh goes the extra length to offer an olive branch to Pakistan. The last time the PM made a forceful public presentation on the possibilities of peace with Pakistan was on March 24 in Amritsar as well. The Hindustan Times being a closet congress mouthpiece was being extremely charitable to the Prime Minister when it rationalized the Prime Minister’s remarks as to dispel the impression that after putting relations with the US on solid footing, India has a lesser incentive in making peace with Pakistan. Perhaps the most revealing observation comes from an analysis piece by the DNA which described the speech as a signal that India “was now ready” for substantive talks with Pakistan. So what exactly has changed since the 7-11 Mumbai Bomb Blasts that Manmohan Singh is “now ready” while he was not earlier.  Let us examine this question.

To refresh everyone’s memory, the peace process was put in cold storage post the bomb blasts with some very tall promises by the Prime Minister. In fact to quote him, Dr. Singh used phrases like “zero tolerance”, “it will not be business as usual”, “past responses have been inadequate” in dealing with terrorism. Many months and Malegaon blasts later, Dr. Singh stumped all of us with his Havana handshake a joint anti-terrorism institutional mechanism. At the time the mechanism was sold to the Indian public by his spin meisters as the way forward to get Pakistan to act on terrorism. Soon thereafter as the proverbial litmus test for the institutional mechanism the Mumbai Police cracked open 7-11 blasts and put the blame squarely on Pakistan’s ISI and Pakistani Nationals for direct participation. The Mumbai breakthrough announcements caught the Manmohan Singh Government on the wrong foot clearly with utter confusion in New Delhi and it was left to the new Foreign Secretary to clarify that the evidence will be presented a month later to Pakistan and that it will be made to walk the talk. A whole month passed as the nation held its breath for the “momentous” foreign secretary level talks in New Delhi. The moment came and went and not a whisper on 7-11. Not a single official word or clarification. All we have are unofficial anonymous leaks to the media on how the evidence was not compelling and how a technical issue of not having a chargesheet got in the way. No questions asked however on why despite a 30 day lead time the Government of India could not get its homework done on making Pakistan walk the talk on the deadliest terrorist attack on Indian soil in a decade.

Another month has since gone by and the Mumbai ATS have now revealed that the Malegaon blasts and the Mumbai blasts were all linked to the same groups in Pakistan. Still there is not a word not even a whisper on what the Government of India is doing to bring them to justice and how Pakistan is being made to walk the talk. So this brings up the question Dr. Singh how exactly is that atmosphere of Trust and Friendship going to get created ?

Well Dr. Singh has answered it for us as well. With the passage of the Indo-US Nuke deal in the U.S. Congress and the signing of it into law by the U.S. President the U.S. has signalled that it has walked the talk on its side of the bargain. As the Indian U.S. teams sit down to negotiate the actual treaty to be signed by the two countries, the U.S. clearly expects the Indian side to keep its side of the bargain which in the case seem to be expectations of a Indian Pakistan deal to humour Musharraf. How else can one explain these overt signals to the Pakistan on the heels of moves by the U.S. in the absence of any evidence overt or covert that Pakistan has actually acted on terror or on India actually compelled Pakistan to act on terror.

Offstumped Bottomline:  It is becoming increasingly clear that the Manmohan Singh Sonia Gandhi lead UPA Government never had any intentions of holding Pakistan accountable for 7-11. They just hoped that it would go away with some lip service to fighting terror through another bureuacratic formulation like the institutional mechanism. When it didnt they were caught in surprise but they just used time and the grand Indian Amnesia to their advantage to sweep it under the carpet till everyone forgot about it. And now with all the euphoria over the nuclear deal they are all set to move on as a quid pro quo. The BJP with its hair splitting analysis of the Hyde Act in Parliament seems to have missed this angle, will it wake up atleast now ?

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