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Is Indian prime minister talking to Gen Kayani?

Discussion in 'International Relations' started by CONNAN, Apr 25, 2011.

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    Apr 16, 2010
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    NEW DELHI: Is Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh talking to Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani through a secret envoy? The Times of London put out a claim on Saturday, albeit with a tiny flaw.

    Dr Singh’s office in an apparently nuanced response on Sunday sought to deny the Times report. Pakistan’s military holds the clincher but it has so far opted to keep quiet.

    The Times report claimed that the secret envoy came into being 10 months ago, but the narrative also linked it to Mohali cricket diplomacy, a more recent event.

    Under the heading, “Cricket-inspired Thaw Pushes Rivals into Secret Talks,†The Times said it had “learnt†that the move was intended to build on the “cricket-inspired diplomatic thaw between the rivals†following the World Cup semi-final.

    Dr. Singh’s office picked on this clumsy logic and responded to it accordingly.

    “We have seen media reports quoting a British newspaper saying that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh contacted Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani before the Mohali meeting between the two prime ministers. The report is false,†prime minister’s media adviser Harish Khare said in a statement.

    The question, however, remains: Did Dr Singh ever establishes or, more specifically, in the last 10 months seek to establish contacts with Gen Kayani through a secret or overt emissary?

    Apparently tipping the balance in favour of The Times story, The Hindu on Sunday splashed the report on its Front Page and hinted that there were circumstantial clues to help it along.

    The Times pointed out that New Delhi did not react to Gen Kayani’s recent visit to Kabul to meet Taliban representatives. This was “evidence†of what it described as “rapprochement being driven by the US, after the Cricket World Cup semi-finalâ€.

    It said: “General Kayani visited Kabul this week to meet members of the High Peace Council, a body set up by President (Hamid) Karzai, to build contacts with Taliban groups. General Kayani was accompanied by General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency. Delhi, which in the past would have condemned the visit as Pakistani ‘meddling’, remained silent — providing the latest evidence of rapprochement being driven by the US, after the Cricket World Cup semi-final between the two nations,†it said.

    The newspaper said the talks “through a back channel†had encouraged London and Washington to believe that the “competition†between India and Pakistan for influence in Afghanistan could “be better managed during efforts to start a peace processâ€.

    Despite US pressure and Dr Singh’s commitment there were still substantial obstacles to a lasting thaw. These included access for Indian investigators to the suspected Pakistani conspirators behind the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

    The Hindu’s New Delhi bureau quoted senior Indian officials as being dismissive of The Times reports.

    “We are already in touch, and have contacts with the Pakistani military at different levels,†a highly placed source told The Hindu on Saturday.He said there had been no special approach made since the Mohali match.

    The Hindu disclosed that the Pakistani side made a proposal last year for the commandant of its National Defence University to visit the Indian National Defence College in New Delhi. But even this proposal — the first exchange of this kind — failed to get off the ground because the Indian Defence Ministry was not enthusiastic about it.

    Is Indian prime minister talking to Gen Kayani? | Newspaper | DAWN.COM
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