Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
India faults U.S. perception of Musharraf

India faults U.S. perception of Musharraf

Author: Siddharth Varadarajan
Publication: The Times of India
Date: December 30, 2001

The Vajpayee government is aware that the "nuanced difference" which exists between Washington and New Delhi about the sincerity of Gen Pervez Musharrafs "conversion to the anti-terrorism cause" could influence the diplomatic and military steps India takes in the weeks ahead.

Indeed, India is coming under intense pressure from the U.S. to bring down temperature levels in the subcontinent. U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell telephoned external affairs minister Jaswant Singh three times in as many days to urge restraint - and the resumption of a dialogue process with Islamabad.

Indian officials say that for all the verbal commitments made by the Bush administration in the past few days, the U.S. remains preoccupied with the hunt for Osama bin Laden and does not want anything to come in the way of that task. "While Mr Bush's demands to Pakistan (on acting against the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed) are the same as ours, obviously the U.S. will not have the same exact perception as us," a senior official told The Times of India. "They are sitting on the western side of Pakistan while we have to fight terror on this side."

That difference of perception was amplified on Friday with U.S. defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld expressing fears that the current Indo-Pak tension may affect Pakistani troop deployments and weaken the hunt for Bin Laden. U.S. President George Bush has also irritated the Vajpayee government by publicly praising Mr Musharraf on Friday for "the arrest of 50 terrorists" and asking India "to take note of that too".

Indian officials say Mr. Bush's remarks are symptomatic of a "nuanced difference" with New Delhi over the role of Gen Musharraf "Unlike us, the Americans believe Gen Musharraf is a changed man in the aftermath of September 11. But even as he joined the U.S. coalition, he said he was acting under compulsion that if he didn't abandon the Taliban, the cause of Kashmir would suffer, Pakistan's 'strategic assets' would suffer."

The official said that as part of the U.S. coalition, Gen Musharraf "worked to undermine the consensus". "First, Pakistan suggested the Taliban should be incorporated in the new dispensation, then they gave wrong information so that the U.S. bombed Northern Alliance positions. Its soldiers actually fought alongside the Taliban in Kunduz, and finally, they are allowing hundreds of Taliban and Al Qaida people to enter Pakistan."

While Gen Musharraf is willing to abandon the Taliban or take action against terrorist groups disturbing the peace in Pakistan, he does not want to act against those operating against India, say officials. "So from our perspective, where is the change?" asked an official. "We are not going to fashion our policy based on the idea that he has changed".

He said it was "a pleasant surprise" to see Pakistani foreign minister Abdul Sattar on TV calling groups like the Lashkar and Jaish illegal and unconstitutional. "But now let us see some action against them".

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements