Contrary to Pakistani apprehension as aired by Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir in Islamabad this week, a senior Indian official has categorically stated that his country has no plans to emulate the United States’ ‘Operation Geronimo’ that killed Osama bin Laden and launch surgical strikes to smoke out Pakistan-based Mumbai attack conspirators.
New Delhi's understanding is that when Bashir warned of a ‘terrible catastrophe’ (a veiled threat of using nuclear weapons) if a foreign power were to launch another Abbottabad-type operation, he was warning India off in a way he wouldn’t dare do to the United States.
However, the Indian government appears to be planning to step up its diplomatic offensive to place even more pressure on Pakistan to ensure the perpetrators of the November 2008 Mumbai carnage are brought to justice. At the same time, New Delhi doesn’t want to rock the boat of the Indo-Pakistan bilateral dialogue, even though it is aware that it has a stronger case than ever in pushing for the prosecution of the 26/11 accused. The next secretaries-level meeting between India and Pakistan is scheduled for later this month, and India is determined to go ahead with it. The reality is, after all, that geography is destiny.
When asked if India could also undertake an Abbottabad-type commando operation to neutralize its own high value targets like Hafiz Saeed, Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Dawood Ibrahim and others, the official said Indian foreign policy is conducted on the basis of hard realities on the ground and not on wishful thinking.
Without observing directly that Pakistan is a nuclear power, the official said Pakistan was ‘no pushover.’ The official added that Pakistan, though now a separate country, was once a part of India, and added that this factor can never be forgotten when dealing with Pakistan.
‘There is a reasonable, sober way of dealing with the neighbour,’ the official said.