Army yet to get call for inputs on PM-Sharif meet
No inputs have yet been sought from the armed forces or specifically, the army, or the ministry of defence (MoD) that can contribute to the decision of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to meet his counterpart from Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, on the sidelines of the inauguration of the United Nations General assembly this month. Singh will be travelling to New York in the last week of this month.
A senior army source at South Block said, ‘We send our daily situation reports to the ministry to ministry. That has continued. But no specific input has been sought from us.’
Obviously, the decision of Singh will have to take into the political situation both within the country and between the two countries and also the security situation, before he can make up his mind about meeting.
While returning from St Petersburgh, Russia after the G-20 summit, he had told the media on board his special aircraft that, ‘[U]nder normal conditions I would be happy to meet with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whom I respect, who has said the right things about how relations between our two countries should evolve. But there are certain harsh realities on the ground. If the terror acts do not stop, if those who voice terrorist thoughts move about freely, if there is no significant progress in bringing the culprits of the Mumbai massacre to book, that I have to factor in before arriving at a final decision.’
Whatever the prime minister may say in aid of his various audiences, the government in New Delhi is secretly happy at the apprehensions of Yasin Bhatkal and Abdul Karim Tunda, two key elements of the terrorism machine that keeps churning across the country’s western borders. But then as the ministry of external affairs spokesperson said recently, ‘A week is a long time in Indo-Pak relations. One attack and the country’s mood can change.’
So evidently, in light of these perceptions, including crucially, the prime minister’s own as shared with the media, the decision to have the Sharif-Singh meeting will be taken closer to the actual date. Importantly, Washington may have little to do on this this time around.
Meanwhile, Pakistan will remain under close watch.