India should not be browbeaten by a nuclear Pak on Kashmir
24 June 2001
The Asian Age
New Delhi: India should strike a strident posture on the Kashmir issue at the July 14 Agra summit with Pakistan and brush aside Islamabad's contention that Kashmir is a "nuclear flashpoint", former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarthy has contended. "The fear of a nuclear war is exaggerated though Pakistan has played that card deftly for international consumption," Mr Parthasarthy told an open house session on "Gen. Musharraf's visit to India - prospects for Indo-Pak relations" here last evening. India should realise that president Musharraf presides over a nation that is "politically dysfunctional and economically bankrupt," Mr Parthasarthy said and quoted a CIA report, in support of his contention, that Pakistan was likely to lose control over three of its four provinces by 2020. "If a sizeable section in Pakistan believes that India can be bled into submission, then it is a mere fancy. Bleeding more than one billion people is not easy and any attempt at that would be disastrous for Pakistan." Pakistan may gloat over its nuclear status and acquisition of sophisticated weapons, he said, but it had paid a heavy price for it. Its economy is in a total disarray, with an annual growth rate of 2.3 per cent, while its population has been growing at the rate of 2.6 per cent. Further, the external debt stood at 37 billion dollars. On general Musharraf's assumption of Pakistani presidency, the former envoy said it was not beacuse of the former's 'sudden fancy" for democracy but because of the fact that he had reached a "political dead-end" having lost all links with mainstream parties. "While dealing with him at the agra summit, India should not forget that the general's real constituency continues to be the army from where he draws his sustenance in power," he said. Mr Parthasarthy said an early resolution of the Kashmir tangle would thus be an "unrealistic agenda" of the Agra summit, but the opportunity should not be squandered for confidence building measures.