Thursday, April 07, 2005

Pakistani heavyweights take their pitch to India

Yet by and large the country has clearly begun to understand the threat to its own internal cohesion that is posed not only by separatist tendencies in its provinces but by religious extremism that the military establishment had itself promoted. Pakistan's army devised the policy of bleeding India through a thousand cuts in its bid to avenge its spectacular defeat in the 1971 civil war against the East Pakistan province (now Bangladesh) in which India sided with the latter and helped its independence. The Pakistani army surrendered before the Indian army and nearly 100,000 soldiers became prisoners of war. Pakistan first supported India's Sikh militants and separatists in the state of Punjab during the 1980s and has been supporting Kashmiri militants and secessionists since1989. Another reason for a discernible change in the Pakistani mindset is that war between nuclear neighbors doesn't seem to be much of an option for sorting out long-standing problems. Mushahid Hussain said that after 1998 (when both countries tested their nuclear weapons), war was not an option between India and Pakistan. He said there had been a "mindset" change in Pakistan and there was "no political constituency" that spoke of confrontation with India. According to him, the Pakistani military establishment, too, was now speaking of normalizing relations with India.....................More