FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Pakistan increasingly becoming a single-issue country for India: Former NSA Shivshankar Menon
Updated:Mar 18, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Thanks to "Pakistan's decline into irrelevance, Indian motives to address India-Pakistan issues are diminishing," says India's former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, who feels that the tragedy is that Pakistan is increasingly becoming a single-issue country in Indian discourse, and that issue is “the zero-sum one of security"

And, he says, as Pakistan becomes ever closer and more tied to China, "India-Pakistan relations will bear the imprint and will probably pay the price".
 
However, Menon, key foreign policy strategist in the previous UPA government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, says there is no alternative to talking to Pakistan to resolve outstanding issues because not talking is to allow terrorists to have a "veto on the relationship" and submitting to the "agenda of terrorists and their sponsors".
 
"If you don't talk, you are actually giving the terrorists and their sponsors what they want, because they don't want talks... They want to control the dialogue. They want to have a veto on the relationship. So, I don't see why you should allow them to do that," Menon, who also served as Foreign Secretary and ambassador to important capitals, including Islamabad. Beijing, Colombo and Tel Aviv, told the author in a chat at his New Delhi residence.
 
“Talking doesn't mean you don't do the other things necessary to deal with the terrorists. You have to eliminate the terrorists, do what a state is supposed to do.
 
"But that also doesn't mean you stop talking. If you have an opportunity, do talk, and you have a lot to say... you do want the ceasefire to be restored, you don't want the standoff in the relationship with cross-border terrorism going on and on... and a lot of this with the support of the Pakistani state, and elements of the Pakistani state.
 
"We need to raise this and talk to them about it," Menon stated.
 
Menon thinks use of application of military force -- or "surgical strikes" as India's cross-border action against "terror launch pads" in Pakistan were described -- had “limited utility”.
 
"It is not going to change the mind of the Pakistan Army which sponsors this cross-border terrorism or the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) or the jihadi tanzeems (outfits) who undertake it, nor is it going to destroy their infrastructure or the courses they espouse and what motivates them. That is not going to change.”
 
He said any way the militants "seek martyrdom" and are not afraid to die.
 
Menon said "covert cross-border action" had been undertaken by the previous administration too, but the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided not to go public with it as these strikes were more focused on outcomes rather than on influencing public opinion.
 
"If your goal is to effect public opinion at home, you have to deal with its consequences," said Menon, adding that these often raised public expectations of results and then "control of escalation becomes a challenge".
 
"The moment you go public, then these (expected outcomes) are unlikely to happen because then both sides' faces are involved. Both sides have to show that they have not been deterred or frightened."
 
He said Manmohan Singh "kept quiet for a reason" on the covert actions that were undertaken "and the reasons (for not publicising them) are still valid".
 
Menon says that Indian policymakers faced a peculiar dilemma of dealing with Pakistan as that "there was not one Pakistan" and there were "large portions of Pakistani society not inimical to India”.
 
In his recently published book "Choices - Inside the Making of India's Foreign Policy" (Penguin Random House), Menon says that "an Indian policymaker must deal with several Pakistans -- with civil society, the Pakistani business community, civilian politicians, the army and the ISI, and the religious right (which extends from political parties to jihadi tanzeems).
 
"Not all of these Pakistanis have the same attitude towards India, and each responds and acts differently towards India and Indians."
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Relations between India and Morocco go back a millennium with the first recorded links dating to the 14th century, when the famous traveller and writer from Tangier, Ibn Batuta, travelled to India.
 
read-more
Stepping up action against terrorists attacking India, President Donald Trump's Administration has declared Hizb-ul Mujahideen (HM) a “global terrorist organisation” in an attempt to choke off financial and other support to it.
 
read-more
On 14 August 1947 Pakistan, consisting of East and West Pakistan, celebrated its independence. The 14th was chosen for the ceremony because Lord Mountbatten who came to Karachi as the Chief Guest had to later leave for Delhi where ot the midnight stroke India was to declare its independence.
 
read-more
The Doklam stand-off and a variety recent opinion pieces in magazines and newspapers draws attention to the poor state of defence policy preparedness and the lack of meaningful higher defence control in India. 
 
read-more
The two ideologically divergent ruling partners - the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - in Jammu and Kashmir are headed for a showdown as the debate over the abrogation of Article 35A of the Constitution of India heats up.
 
read-more
At the root of the present Doklam crisis is China’s intrusion into Bhutanese territory for its road building projects. These connectivity projects are integral to President Xi Jinping’s dream project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). India and Bhutan were the only two countries that did not participate in the first forum
 
read-more
It wasn’t so long ago that the whole world watched as Donald Trump sashayed on to the Riyadh red carpet and stole the show with his tough talk on Iranian-sponsored terrorism.
 
read-more
A vehicular attack to maximise casualties and spread panic is now a well-tested terrorist strategy in European cities.
 
read-more
It is a privilege to be invited to this most prestigious of law schools in the country, more so for someone not formally lettered in the discipline of law. I thank the Director and the faculty for this honour.
 
read-more
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
Column-image

This is the continuing amazing spiritual journey of a Muslim man from Kerala who plunged into Vedic religion after a chance encounter with a Hindu mystic under a jackfruit tree in the backyard of his house when he was just nine. It is a story w...

 
Column-image

History is told by the victors but in our modern age, even contemporary events get - or are given - a slant, where some contributors soon get eclipsed from the narrative or their images tarnished.

 
Column-image

Humans have long had a fear of malignant supernatural beings but there may be times when even the latter cannot compare with the sheer evil and destructiveness mortals may be capable of. But then seeking to enable the end of the world due to it...

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive