A head of state goes public and says that he does not know who to talk with in the country we consider tricky business.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is clearly sounding like a lost child:
“I do not think whether we have a partner right now. I think, when General Pervez Musharraf was there (president of Pakistan), I was to ask him and he said well I am the army, I represent the armed forces, I represent the people. Now I do not know whom to deal with. It is not clear if the president is in charge of the army.”
Why would the Indian PM want to talk with the army guys? We have a chief of army staff, we have a defence minister.
And what is this about a partner? Are we discussing trade?
Asked if the Pakistani army was serious in tackling terrorism, Singh said he was not certain if the Pakistani army would take on those elements. “I think the most elemental force in Pakistan is the army. There is democracy. We would like democracy to succeed and flourish in Pakistan, but we have to recognise that the power today virtually rests with the army,” he said.
Right. He is saying that the Pak army is powerful, yet there is democracy, which he likes, but he wants to talk to the army because they are supposed to contain terrorism, which they are not serious about, and they won’t let democracy flourish. What is going on?
He says all this sitting on the CNN seat with Fareed Zakaria before his trip to the US.
It might appear to be a smart move from the Obama angle, but people at home won’t find it remotely sensible. Aren't we supposed to take a stand on terrorism? Instead we have our PM going all Red Riding Hood with the big bad wolf act.
Here is a clue:When it is time for playing diplomatic footsie, it is the politicians and bureaucrats who come to the table. You go to war with the army unless a country is under military rule.
Next, Dr. Singh will want to chat up the ISI. That might not be a bad idea since the agency works with officers as well as ‘gentlemen’.