Pakistan's game plan backfires, India stands vindicated
3 August 2000
New Delhi: The Amarnath pilgrims massacre has dealt a grave blow to Pakistani diplomacy which, over the past few months, was up to a unique game. With the help of ingenuous mental gymnastics, the sponsor of Lashkar e Tayyiba, Harkat and other terrorist organisations, was trying to turn the heat on India, 'isolating' India as a matter of fact, for not restarting the bilateral dialogue process. Now, that game is up. The Indian stand, which has been more or less consistent since Kargil that there can be no dialogue with Pak-istan unless there is definite proof of it stopping the export of cross-border terrorism, has found vindication. India once again stands out as a victim. Last night's telephonic conversation between the United States President, Mr Bill Clinton, and Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has been given wide publicity by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), especially the fact that it was Mr Clinton who made the call to convey his deepest sympathies. New Delhi also hastens to add that this does not constitute a US 'role' but an affirmation of its sympathy for the Indian position. President Clinton's reported statement that he would speak to the leaders of Pakistan and do everything to contain such activities is another remarkable part of the 10-minute conversation held between the two leaders. To India this is the 'closest one can get to ascribe the killings to Pakistan' as one senior MEA official put it. In the context of recent statements emanating from the G-8 Summit in Okinawa (Japan), the Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jixuan's visit to India and Pakistan, as well as several US State Department briefings that India and Pakistan must restart the dialogue process, the content of the telephone call assumes considerable significance. Last week the sudden Hizbul Mujahidden (Hizb) ceasefire offer gave momentum to theories that India would find it difficult to resist the growing opinion favouring talks. The External Affairs Ministry spokesman said at that juncture that India would be satisfied of an improvement of ground conditions in Jammu and Kashmir only when its own Home Ministry says so and would not view the Hizb offer as one signifying such. Now India is satisfied that the world community would get the 'appropriate messages' from the Amarnath massacre. However, New Delhi is not planning to directly charge Pakistan with sponsoring the latest incident with the help of the standard practice of summoning its envoy and registering a protest. 'We think the signals are plain for all, including Pakistan, to see, the spokesman pointed out.