What will Manmohan Singh’s legacy be?
In the U.S., the President spends his second term contemplating his legacy and how history and America will remember him. In India, it appears that our Prime Minister, who may or may not bow out before the next general elections, wants to leave behind a legacy of peace between India and Pakistan.
It is a noble vision, and one that has preoccupied many a past Indian Prime Minister. But it is also unsustainable given that Pakistan’s Military Jihadi Complex (MJC) remains structurally adversarial towards India. This is a reality that India has had to live with for over sixty years, which no amount of cricket, Bollywood, mangoes or poetry has been able to obscure.
Even as Nirupama Rao prepares to travel to Pakistan next week as a precursor to S.M. Krishna’s July trip, there are several indications that Pakistan’s MJC plans to step up attacks in India. Prior to the Pune attacks, the JuD held public rallies (اردو) in Lahore and Muzzafarabad, which were attended by the whos-who of the jihadi umbrella, including Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul, Syed Salahuddin and Abdul Rehman Makki. JuD held another public rally on June 14 in Lahore, where Indian, Israeli and American flags were uniquely treated to a “chappal ki pooja.”
At the rally, Hafiz Saeed accused Israel of trying to convert Pakistan into a “barren land by constructing dams on its rivers.” What is or isn’t part of madaaris curriculum may be debatable, but it should be pretty apparent now that elementary geography doesn’t feature in any meaningful way. The absurdity of Hafiz Saeed’s accusation however, illustrates how symptomatic Kashmir was (and the “issue” of water now is) to the root cause of Pakistan’s unwillingness to live in peace with India.
And Matt Waldman’s report ( PDF) , while doing a decent job in highlighting the ISI’s relationship with terror groups, is found wanting in its policy recommendation, at least where India is concerned. Mr. Waldman falls for the same tired argument of a “regional peace process,” and U.S. involvement in resolving Kashmir. As The Filter Coffee has blogged before, the argument is fallacious.
The UPA’s vision for peace with Pakistan can last only as long as the lull before the next terror attack in India. Pakistan’s unwillingness to abjure terror combined with the fact that civilian government neither crafts nor implements foreign policy in Pakistan essentially means that nothing has changed. When will the Indian government realize that merely talking to Pakistan can’t be a tenable solution for peace in the subcontinent? If the UPA hopes to secure India, then its efforts are best directed towards strengthening the country’s internal security, while ensuring a capacity to challenge terror infrastructure where it stands.
You cannot seek peace with an entity when that entity’s idea of peace involves your dismemberment. Instead of suffering grandiose visions of Indo-Pakistan peace, Mr. Manmohan Singh would do well to focus on leaving behind an India that is capable of defending itself at home and deterring the designs of those plotting to hurt India from abroad. Indeed, it will be a legacy worthy of a man who, as a Cabinet Minister, laid the foundation for India’s meteoric economic rise.