The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Tamojit Ganguly, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
With the opposition parties in Parliament jumping into the well each time Pakistan suspends talks with our government, has led to serious questions whether such suspensions can be attributed to the failure of the government or is it the myopic vision of the opposition parties who fail or at least manage to fail to see the real cause behind such recurrence of events.
Putting some meat to our ideas and some reasons behind our thoughts, let’s try to have a retrospective approach to analyze the problem at hand. The recent remarks at a press conference by the Pakistani government. During the visit of the JIT all inputs including details of entry points, phone numbers, mobile communication and Pakistan manufactured equipment and food items obtained from the slain terrorists were shown and shared. Thus clearly the fact that they had come from Pakistan was established. Their identities too had been obtained. No queries were raised, nor doubts brought up when they viewed the entire evidence. Further, call records even proved the involvement of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) as the group behind the attack, responsibility of which was claimed by the United Jihad Council. The panic only started when the team returned with all inputs.
The world is well aware that both the JeM and the LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) are organizations created and supported by the ISI for operations against India. With the NIA demanding access to their leaders when they visit on a reciprocal basis, the military establishment of Pakistan realised that with sufficient proof available, the questioning could be professional which may open doors of ISI involvement. This led to panic as the inputs could be internationally shared and would be damaging, especially when US Presidential elections are underway and both possible contenders have an anti-Pakistan stance. It was Pakistan which first approached India for the JIT visit and not vice-versa. When India agreed for the visit, it was on the condition of a reciprocal visit by the NIA based on UN resolution 1373. Therefore, this change in stance was not stated by their foreign office but their High Commissioner, who was never in the loop in the entire process.
The Pakistan military establishment controls all foreign policy towards India. Therefore, their High Commissioner acts on behalf of their army chief. Suspension of talks is always issued as a statement by a foreign ministry spokesperson. In this case, the statement made in Delhi, and soon refuted, indicates that the elected government had not issued it. It had possibly been kept in the dark or ignored. It is more of a statement in haste, issued on the directions of a worried army and ISI, aimed at creating an environment thereby preventing the NIA from visiting and discovering the truth.
The ongoing clash between the civil and the military in Pakistan, especially concerning relations with India is well known. The statement by ‘unnamed sources within the JIT’ of India not proving Pakistan nationals’ involvement in the Pathankot attack in Pakistan media was a leak which was countered by their government. However, in India the opposition and media, as predicted, went into an overdrive. The amended statement stated that the team was not given access to serving military personnel involved in the encounter, thereby not enabling complete investigation was a fact which had already been conveyed to their government even before the visit.
In reality it is India which is hesitant about progressing with the dialogue process. The government is aware that till there is sufficient evidence of a serious Pakistan desire for peace, monitoring of which is possible, nothing would be achieved by moving forward. Therefore, India has been stalling and delaying the commencement of talks. The difference between the two nations is that India has never stated suspension of talks, but only delayed commencement till it is convinced of Pakistan’s intentions.
Thus, we as a nation should be proud of the depth of investigation by the NIA as it has managed to ruffle the feathers of the Pakistan military to the extent that they have been forced to project their true colours as also openly display their fear of Indian efficiency. By changing reciprocity to cooperation, they have indicated their fear about the snakes in their backyard being exposed. The delay in talks by us has strategic benefits and should be supported. Finally, Indian politicians need to be strategy-savvy and not act as loose cannons by jumping to criticize the government every time Pakistan makes an irresponsible statement.
The Times of India