It seems the ongoing public deception by the Indian government over peace talks with Pakistan (which are obsessively backed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and pushed by the United States) is continuing. Hawkish Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who has previously been tough on Pakistan for not doing more over bringing to justice the masterminds behind the November 2008 carnage in Mumbai, says he now sees encouraging signs on the part of the Pakistanis. What he hasn’t done is present any evidence to the Indian public of this.
Chidambaram was recently in Islamabad to attend the SAARC home ministers’ conference, the first trip there by an Indian interior minister in decades. Aside from the blunder of the Pakistanis flying the Indian flag upside down, they flatly refused Chidambaram’s plea to curb the anti-India speeches of Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist leader, Hafiz Mohammed Sayeed. Sayeed is believed to be the principle mastermind behind the Mumbai attack, but Pakistani courts have repeatedly acquitted him because of supposedly weak prosecution evidence (despite India having provided powerful dossiers on his involvement).
Yet for all the peacemaking photo-ops between India and Pakistan, the reality of the situation is grim. Pakistan has increased its inventory of nuclear weapons for use against India, while China has announced it will export two nuclear power reactors to Pakistan, despite international concerns.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt-Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, have apparently been shuttling to Kabul to coerce Afghan President Hamid Karzai to make peace with pro-Al-Qaeda Taliban elements believed to be close to the Pakistan armed forces, something that has awful implications for India.
And India is left, as I wrote yesterday, floundering in opposing the Pakistan-China nuclear deal, due largely to Beijing’s economic and political clout.