New Delhi, April 11: India’s growing disillusionment with the US for the double standards used by Washington to deal with terrorism was clearly reflected in a standing committee report on internal security placed in Parliament this week.
Home secretary Gopalaswamy’s presentation to members of the standing committee was remarkable for its cynicism about US policy in South Asia. He made it clear that hopes that the dramatic improvement in relations with Washington and the attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, would lead to a better understanding of what India has been facing for the last decade have been belied.
“Given the geo-political scenario, the continued reliance of the US on Pakistan and Pakistan’s own domestic compulsions would mean that there would be no immediate respite from cross-border terrorism, primarily in Jammu and Kashmir but aided and abetted elsewhere also in the country,” Gopalaswamy said. “It would be, therefore, realistic to assume that India has to fight cross-border terrorism on its own,” the home secretary added.
Washington had proved it was unable to deliver on its promise to rein in President Pervez Musharraf. Pakistan’s backing of terrorist groups to foment trouble in Kashmir and hit out at vulnerable targets in India’s heartland has continued without respite, despite Musharraf giving public assurances to the contrary.
“This has implications for our internal security in as much as the perception that Pakistan was also cooperating in the war against terrorism was masking, for the powers that be, the fact that it was also a breeding ground for jihadi terrorism,” Gopalaswamy said.
America’s war on Iraq and its repeated emphasis that New Delhi should talk with Pakistan appear to have convinced India that the US, despite its glib assurances, has been unable to make a dent on Musharraf, who continued to use terrorism as a tool to further Pakistan’s interests in Kashmir.
“Though India’s position regarding Pakistan-sponsored terrorism was accepted in the international fora, for short-term gains, this reality was being papered over,” the home secretary emphasised. India would, therefore, have to counter cross-border terrorism on its own, he said.
New Delhi had believed that, after September 11, the US war against terrorism would also be extended to countries like Pakistan, which “aid and abet terrorists”.
The release of the chiefs of terrorist organisations like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed by the Pakistan government, Gopalaswamy said, proved beyond doubt Pakistan’s nefarious designs and its doublespeak.
The home secretary spoke of the suicide attacks that had begun just two years ago in Kashmir. The attacks have, however, come down from 28 in 2001, to just 10 last year. Each of these suicide attackers is from Pakistan, he pointed out and said infiltration of terrorists from the neighbouring country has continued unabated.
India’s uneasiness with a world dominated by the US was apparent when Gopalaswamy reflected the views of deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, who heads the ministry.
“Living in a unipolar world with a few nation-states deciding the course of action anywhere in the globe, as evidenced by the war on Iraq, is difficult. The alliance against terrorism, which was formed after September 11, 2001, has given way to an alliance of powers based on their own perception of what was good for the world and, in the process, the multilateralism of the UN has been marginalised and by passed,” he said.