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Single Doctrine, Double Standards

Single Doctrine, Double Standards

Author: K.P. Nayar
Publication: The Telegraph
Date: December 20, 2001

And now, the Bush doctrine. The White House has conceded under increasing pressure from the US and the international media that as long as India does not "retaliate harshly" for the attack on Parliament, the Americans would look the other way.

As part of daily briefings here, which are becoming increasingly fractious on Indo-Pakistan relations, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer was asked the following question:

Q: You folks have been urging them (Indians) not to retaliate harshly, but said they had a right to self-defence. Is it a fair indication of the Bush doctrine in this case?

Fleischer: Well, as you stated correctly, India has a legitimate right to self-defence. And at the same time, the President counsels that this is a very difficult situation in the region and one that could spiral out of control.

Simultaneously, state department spokesman Richard Boucher was asked at his briefing.

Q: Richard, just as you held Yasser Arafat responsible for closing down Hamas and PIJ (Palestinian Islamic Jihad) in the (Israeli-occupied) territories, are you also holding General Musharraf responsible for closing down these terrorist camps? And do you think that it is his responsibility to do so?

Boucher: As I think the secretary (of state) made clear over the weekend, you can't apply one scenario to another just simply back and forth. But we have, I think, made quite clear as we have in our talks with the government of Pakistan our concerns about the activities of these militant groups and the need for the government to take action against terrorism within its own borders.

Q: Why can't you apply the same standard?

Boucher: Because things are different, places are different.

Q: How is it different in Pakistan?

Boucher (increasingly irritated): I don't think we can spend every day here comparing and contrasting in seven different ways every situation in the world. I just think it is fairly obvious that situations can be different from place to place.

Q: You said things are different. Why different? I mean, the question is, like Arafat.

Boucher: That's what she just asked me. And I will stand by the answer I just gave her.

Q: No, but let me ask you one more thing. Like Arafat, General Musharraf, he has a revolving door in Pakistan for terrorists. They enter from the front and then he lets them out from the back door. Now, and the question is, why India cannot attack Pakistan's occupied Kashmiri terrorist camps when Israel can attack and US gave the green light for Israel to attack the Palestinian.

Boucher (angry): All right, can we stop there? If you put too many wrong things in your question, there is no way I can give you any answer... We are fighting terrorism. We will continue to do so. I am going to stop right there and hope you will as well.

Yesterday Boucher revealed that Colin Powell had spoken once again on the phone on Monday to Jaswant Singh.

He said: "Our basic view has not changed... The Indians need to conduct their investigation, need to consider what the appropriate action might be to help protect their people against terrorism, to help protect their democracy against terrorism... We have made it quite clear in our discussions with the Pakistani government that as we pursue terrorism next door, that all countries have an obligation to work against terrorism within their own borders, and that we look to the Pakistani government to work against extremist groups that operate out of Pakistan."

Boucher also revealed that Powell had talked to Musharraf "at least once... it might have been more than that. The President (Bush) has been in touch with them... We are looking for them to take action against extremist groups that might be operating from there, in Pakistan".

Earlier, the spokesman said the Americans had talked to Pakistan "about Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad as organisations that have participated in terrorist activities...We have conveyed our concerns about the situation to the government of Pakistan at the highest levels. We have talked to them about the activities of militant groups, several of which are based in Pakistan. We made clear that we believe that all countries are responsible for addressing terrorist activities within their borders, and we will continue our discussions with Pakistan in that context as well".

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