India upped ante after J&K blast
10 October 2001
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: INDIA SAW the October 1 bombing of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly as an opportunity to make Washington press Pakistan on its sponsorship of terrorism. According to official Indian sources, this resulted in the West armtwisting Pakistan and reassuring India that the issue of Pakistan''s sponsorship of terrorism would be addressed. Before the Srinagar attack, the Indian Government had made a conscious decision not to harp about Kashmir to Washington. National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra said little about the issue during his United States visit. Nonetheless, the US promised that after Afghanistan, phase two would address Pakistan-based terror. India decided to ''go on the offensive'' after the Srinagar attack. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee wrote to the US President George W. Bush. His communications with Bush, said Foreign Ministry sources, said, in effect, that ''your present ally of convenience is behind this.'' He added that India''s patience was ''running out.'' Jaswant Singh, who was in Washington on October 1, passed on a similar message. According to sources in the Prime Minister''s Office, India warned that the US strike on Afghanistan was based on the right to self-defence… It would be illogical to deny India the same right. These harsh words galvanized the West. Reassurances were sent by Washington to New Delhi. Britain''s Prime Minister Tony Blair denounced the Srinagar attack during a speech before a special session of the House of Commons. A key reason for his visit to New Delhi was to pacify India. Washington has told India that it plans to ask Pakistan to follow the ''Afghan example'' when the present phase of the war is over. Pakistan will be asked to dismantle terrorist camps and crackdown on jihadi groups. But the West''s concern at tension in the subcontinent preceded the Srinagar attack. Western diplomats called Musharraf''s address to the nation - where he infamously told India to ''lay off'' - as ''unhelpful''. Under US pressure, Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar made a placating phone call to New Delhi. Musharraf''s latest television speech infuriated Washington. Again, the US armtwisted him. His phone call to Vajpayee, say Foreign Ministry sources, ''was all about this.''