Osamas death wont change Indo-Pak dialogue discourse

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New Delhi: India on Wednesday said "momentous" killing of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan will not change the discourse of Indo-Pak dialogue but made it clear that use of terrorism as a policy to further strategic goals was "unacceptable."

Asserting that the killing vindicates India`s position that without the elimination of the terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries in Pakistan there cannot be end to the global war on terror, government sources said "what was sensational was the fact that Bin Laden was found living in large mansion in Abbotabad….only 80 kms from Islamabad."

How Osama could have been living there without the support from the Pakistani establishment is one aspect which is being examined, the sources said.

Maintaining that Osama`s killing will not change the "universe of the discourse" between India and Pakistan, the sources said, "Talks with Pakistan will continue…We have to engage them with these issues (terrorism). We have to focus on the issues of concern that we have with Pakistan…

"They have serious problems within that country at the moment confronting the monster that they have played a role in creating….but we have to engage them on the issues of normalisation, whether it comes to trade, humanitarian exchange, prisoners, cross LoC trade in Jammu and Kashmir..".

Admitting that much more pressure was required to be put on Pakistan to deal with terrorism, sources said India certainly was concerned over the presence of terrorist groups like LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen which remain a serious threat to India.

Apart from being vigilant to this factor and safeguarding its interest, India would continue to press this point with its US interlocutors and as well as in discussion with Pakistan, the sources said while noting that there cannot be any "selective approach" in dealing with these terror groups.

On whether the incident would push US to put more pressure Pakistan to deal with the terrorism directed at India, the sources said the US was not going to fight India`s battle and it was wrong to expect that.

Noting that India was "alone" in its battle as each country was directed by their own interests, the sources said there will be always strategic and security compulsions between the US and Pakistan leading to some decisions which will not be comforting to the country.

In that context, it is better for India to normalise relations with Pakistan, engage with them on various issues.

"Pakistan`s strategic value will remain," the sources said.

Though the effort was to reduce contentiousness in Indo-Pak relations through dialogue, India will put as "passionately" its concerns over terrorism as ever, the government sources said, adding this will include punishment for all those responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks.

On Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir`s remarks that the demand for justice for 26/11 was outdated, sources said "that cannot be a serious statement."

Commenting on the situation in Afghanistan, the sources reiterated India`s position of inclusive transition and no dilution of `red lines` on reintegration and reconciliation of Taliban and said the concerns over reconciliation remains as "valid" as before.

It would be wrong to assume that there would be faster withdrawal of the US and other forces from Afghanistan, as a result of Osama`s elimination. "Nobody who is committed to Afghanistan would want a precipitous withdrawal of coalition forces," the sources said, noting that "writing on the wall" does not indicate "cut and run" strategy by Western forces.

Asserting that elimination of Osama does not mean end of "jihadi mindset", sources said "Now to leave Afghanistan would be repetition of what had happened 20-30 years earlier.

The US have learnt the lessons from that".

The sources also maintained that there was "very thin" line between terror groups like Al Qaeda, which has already been dispersed in several affiliated groups, and JeM and JuD as their ideologies were fused and even after death of Osama, they will continue espousing their violent agenda.

The sources also favoured participation of all regional countries in achieving stability and peace in Afghanistan including, Central Asian nations, China, India and Pakistan.

On the increasing public sentiment that if US can do an operation unilaterally why India cannot, sources said "Foreign policy is not wish fulfillment. We have to deal with the realities….Pakistan in not a push over….There is a reasonable, sober way of dealing with neighbour."

They said it was easy to be "hawkish" about Pakistan but bringing it on its "knees" was neither the idea nor it is good for India.

Recalling Pakistan`s Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani`s remarks that his army has "broken" the backbone of terrorists and will soon prevail over them, the sources hoped that Pakistan "walks the talk".

However, the sources, without naming army or Pakistan`s intelligence agency– ISI, said the effect of Osama`s presence and death, near Islamabad, on the role of "larger than life" image institutions in Pakistan was still being assessed.

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