Irrespective of a twin terror strike (carried out by the LeT at the behest of the ISI and the Pakistan Army)and an infiltration bid in J&K, prime minister Manmohan Singh should meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York, officials in the internal and external intelligence wings of the Indian security establishment say.
Singh and Sharif are supposed to meet on the sidelines of the UN general assembly in New York. Experts and diplomats also say such attacks warrant a greater urgency for dialogue between the two nations because not doing so would be falling prey to the plans of terrorists.
Earlier in the day, three terrorists barged into a police station in Jammu region, killing six people. They then drove off with a truck to attack an army base in Samba where they shot dead a lieutenant colonel and three soldiers. The three were killed in a gun battle with the army.
Also, the army foiled a major infiltration bid along the Line of Control in Kashmir’s Keran sector, killing 12 terrorists.
Singh who is in the US for a state-level visit condemned the attack but made it clear that it won’t derail the dialogue process. “No words are strong enough to condemn the terror attack,” he said.
“This is one more in a series of provocations and barbaric actions by the enemies of peace.”
“We are firmly resolved to combat and defeat the terrorist menace that continues to receive encouragement and reinforcement from across the border. Such attacks will not deter us; it will not succeed in derailing our efforts to find a resolution to all problems through a process of dialogue,” Singh said.
Sources in the security establishment pointed out that both the Pakistan Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were in the know of these inflitration and attacks.
“All the talk of al Shahada (plural of Shaheed meaning The Martyrs) being behind the attack is hogwash. It was carried out by the Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) and on the instructions of ISI and Pakistan Army. Without their support such attacks cannot be carried out. We have a history of such terror incidents happening just before some thaw is expected to happen,” a central agency source said.
Echoing the PM’s views, India’s former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh said: “It is sad but one can’t be surprised as such attacks happen before any meeting between the leaders of the two nations. Talks between the two PMs cannot be linked to every violent incident that takes place.”
“If our PM is in the same position as that of Pakistan PM, not meeting would be extremely discourteous. No one expects the meeting to resolve outstanding issues between us but the meeting should definitely take place. In fact, such incidents give greater urgency and greater meaning to such talks.”
Experts said that instead of bowing down to domestic pressure and falling prey to peace spoilers between the two nations, the Indian government should go ahead with the talks.
“Whenever plans of talks are in air, one can expect such attacks. Mumbai attack happened just before scheduled talks. But nothing happened during 2004-2007, when the army was in power in Pakistan,” AK Behuria, an expert with the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), told dna.
Behuria brushed aside demands of the opposition BJP to call off the talks. “Had the BJP been in power and such an incident happened they too would have done what PM Singh is doing. PM is not taking a personal decision. His decision is based on inputs from several agencies,” he said.