New Delhi, Nov. 27: National security adviser Brajesh Mishra has said that while there was a vast constituency in India for peace with Pakistan and for settling all differences with it through negotiations, it was in the interest of the military establishment of Pakistan to keep the hostility with India alive. That was the only way the Pakistan Army could maintain its perks and privileges, he suggested.
In an interview to be telecast in BBC World’s Hard Talk programme, Mishra has claimed that India was never under any pressure to go to war with Pakistan. He said while India and Pakistan were very close to war in January this year after the terrorist attack on Parliament and then again in May after the attack on the Kaluchak army camp, there was no chance of a “little spark creating a conflagration” now.
The interview, the text of which has been made available through PTI a day before the telecast of the programme, shows Mishra arguing a sustained line on India-Pakistan relations. There is no deviation from the known Indian position that unless cross-border terrorism ends, there could be no question of India offering any dialogue process to normalise ties with Pakistan.
India also believes that the Pakistani establishment and its armed forces do not want to end cross-border terrorism and this is the root-cause of the continuing tension between the two countries. “If Pakistan was sincere it could stop cross-border (terrorism) tomorrow and we can begin the dialogue day after tomorrow,” Mishra said.
He denied reports that the Pakistan Army’s 10th Corps had blocked mountain passes to check infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir. If infiltration from Pakistan was down, it was because of the pressure from the Indian side, he claimed. The national security adviser also said the US and British pressure on Pakistan to end cross-border terrorism had not succeeded.
Mishra pointed out that it was India which had time and again started the peace process — even after terrorist strikes, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee went to Lahore by bus and despite the Kargil experience, India invited the architect of Kargil, General Pervez Musharraf, to Agra for talks.
As expected, Mishra also iterated India’s position rejecting any third party mediation to settle the Kashmir issue. He told interviewer Tim Sebastian that India consistently rejected all outside offers of help “because we have had very bad experience with the international community on dispute settlement”. Mishra did not elaborate.
However, it may be recalled that outside “help” — especially from the UN and the UK — in trying to mediate on the Kashmir issue have led to nowhere in the period 1948 to 1965. In fact, the mediators ended up assuming partisan postures because Pakistan was seen as a valuable ally in the fight against the Soviet Union. Britain’s perfidious role in trying to tackle the Kashmir issue to the UN Security Council has been well recorded in a recent book by a former Indian Foreign Service officer.
India has been gradually veering around to the position that a long-term settlement of all the problems with Pakistan is possible only when the military establishment in that country is firmly made subservient and subordinate to a democratically-elected leadership. The Pakistani establishment and its armed forces could not have their privileges and perks without a confrontation with India, Mishra claimed.
“The stature of the armed forces in Pakistan is dependent upon hostility with India. We will continue to have this problem,” he said. In support of his argument, Mishra recalled what Musharraf had said in 1999, that “even if Kashmir is solved, the relations with India will not be better”.