India Uncut

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Questions of trust

How much can India trust General Musharraf? A few weeks ago a number of Indian bloggers, most of whom I respect and generally agree with, started a campaign saying that Musharraf should not be invited to India to watch the last one-day international between India and Pakistan. Their reasoning revolved around Musharraf being untrustworthy, and Kargil being an example of that. My support for the peace process, and inviting Musharraf to Delhi, was articulated in these two posts: "A pragmatic foreign policy" and "Leave the K word out".

Well, Pratap Bhanu Mehta has an excellent piece in the Indian Express today which bolsters the point I was making. He writes:
Raising the question of trust makes it sound like we have actually given something away. But the plain fact of the matter is that we have not made any concessions at all. Our position on territorial adjustments, on Kashmir, on the priority of CBMs, etc remains the same. For the moment at any rate, Pakistan has had to do more adjusting than we have. Second, the question of trust is raised as if the peace process is incompatible with a tough line on security. Kargil did not happen because we trusted Pakistan. Kargil happened because we were sleeping on the watch. This is an important distinction. There is nothing in the positions of those who are pushing for better relations, that entails letting your guard down on security.

Later in the piece, he makes another point:
[I]t can be argued that a lot of so called hawkishness in any foreign policy discussion is simply a product of intellectual risk averseness. If you are a hawk, you can never be wrong, because nothing can disprove your position. On the other hand, those who think there is some room for manoeuvre do run the risk of possibly being proved wrong. Some hawkishness, contrary to appearances, is about a lack of a certain kind of courage; a refusal to even try and think your way out of a vicious trust trap.

Read the full piece.
amit varma, 12:12 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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