Ex-Army chiefs oppose talks with Pakistan - The New Indian Express

Ex-Army chiefs oppose talks with Pakistan

Published: 10th August 2013 10:39 AM

Last Updated: 10th August 2013 10:39 AM

Strategic affairs thinkers and former chiefs of security agencies on Friday urged the Centre to cancel proposed talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in New York next month, against the backdrop of Tuesday’s ambush by Pakistani forces that killed five Indian soldiers.

Retired Army chief General N C Vij, former Intelligence Bureau chief Ajit Doval, former High Commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarathy and former Deputy National Security Advisor Satish Chandra expressed their opposition to the proposed meeting at a joint press conference here on Friday. “At a time when Pakistan is day in and day out using terrorism against us, it would be ill-advised for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to meet with Nawaz Sharif, as it would signal that relations between the two countries are in a business-as-usual mode,” they said in a joint statement. “We, therefore, strongly recommend that we do not rush into dialogue with Pakistan and the proposed meeting between the Prime Ministers of the two countries be cancelled.”

Defence Minister A K Antony had — in an amended statement made in Parliament on Thursday — warned that the kind of attack on Indian soldiers, carried out by a specialist troops of Pakistan Army, would have serious consequences for bilateral ties, apart from Indian military behaviour along the border. Among the 40 others to sign the joint statement are retired Army chief General Shankar Roy Chowdhury, former IAF chief Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy, ex-vice chief of the Navy Vice Admiral K K Nayyar, former R&AW secretaries A K Verma and C D Sahay, former home secretaries Anil Baijal and Dhirendra Singh, former foreign secretaries M K Rasgotra and Kanwal Sibal and former MEA secretary J C Sharma.

Though the proposed meeting between Singh and Sharif is to be firmed up, the two nations are already preparing for the interaction that is expected to take place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meet in the last week of September.

“The policy of appeasement has failed; a new bipartisan policy is needed which will impose costs on Pakistan for terrorism,” Chandra said at the press conference. Imposing costs will deter Pakistan, he said, adding that there is no need to be afraid of nuclear blackmail since India is a nuclear power too. India had for a long time meekly put up with Pakistan-inspired terrorism and citizens across the country had paid a terrible price.

“This has only encouraged Pakistan in its pursuit of such policies,” they said in a strong message that reflected the nationwide outrage over the Indian soldiers’ killing, the second in seven months after the Pakistan Army’s Border Action Team beheaded two Indian soldiers in the Poonch sector on January 8 this year. All 40 strategic thinkers and security experts demanded that Siachen be removed from the list of bilateral issues to be discussed with Pakistan whenever the dialogue resumed, considering the present ground situation at the icy heights described as the world’s highest war zone.

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