(My reply to a reader's comments)
I have been in receipt of the following E-mail message from a reader:
"In your earlier articles in the past two months when you wrote about peace talks with Pakistan it had this context of cricket diplomacy and it appeared you even pushed for it and I understand it was a valid point and even recently after OBL was killed you mentioned that the new situation shouldn't affect peace talks or affect Indo- Pak relations and it seemed that you were of the opinion that the Mohali momentum should continue. In those articles you were explicit as to the reasons but this article, where you propose to continue the TTHH policy, seems to rake up old wounds which it looked like you were ok to overlook at that time.
"What I mean is in this article, there doesn't appear to be anything new which you and the rest were not knowing about Pakistan that John Kerry revealed so why & what is reason for reassessment? I understand that when you urged for the momentum of recent peace talks to continue you certainly didn't mean to forget TTHH policy but just that you probably meant to keep it aside for the time being. So what is the reason for reassessment when Pakistan hasn't made any anti-India comments (like Kayani's India centric comment or of that nature). If there were to be any new terrorist attack then fall back to TTHH policy was warranted but in the absence of, at least any apparent absence of Pakistan reverting to anti-India terrorist policy, how should your TTHH reassessment be read?
"I have been thinking about asking if in the wake of OBL killing will there be any possibility of Pak Army/ISI snubbing MMS's initiative and encouraging the jihadi terrorists to bleed India - part of its tactic to redeem the lost honor (US violating its sovereignty) and at the same time reassuring the jihadi constituency that ISI hasn't changed its policies?"
My suggestion has always been to keep the capability for exercising the intermediate option available while even going out of the way to improve relations with Pakistan.Let me explain my policy once again:
1. We have to talk to Pakistan. Engage with Pakistan at different levels---political, military,intelligence, economic, people to people etc
2.With both becoming nuclear powers, the military option is out of the question. The military option should be only as a last resort when national existence is in peril.
3. We should have an intermediate option of covert action available if talks fail to make headway and Pakistan continues to use terrorism.
After 26/11, many think tanks of the world were of the view that another 26/11 cannot be avoided because India has not created for itself an intermediate option between the political and the military. There is no deterrence to more terrorism in the form of an intermediate option. I keep pleading: For God's sake, create that covert deterrence.
Unfortunately, in India, we do not have the culture of strategic analysis. One has to repeat the same point again and again and again.One feels tired.
Thanks for writing. Take care. B.Raman