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Commentary
Gopalaswami Parthasarathy

Gopalaswami Parthasarathy retired from the Indian Foreign Service in May 2000 after a long and distinguished career. He served as India's ambassador/high commissioner to Burma, Australia and Pakistan and at Indian missions in Washington, Moscow, Dar es Salaam and Karachi earlier. In Delhi he served as the spokesman at the ministry of external affairs and as information adviser to then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Currently a visiting professor at the Centre for Policy Research, he contributes a regular column on foreign policy to rediff.com

The travails of Pervez Musharraf   - June 6, 2002
'Kashmir is constantly projected as an Islamic issue and equated with Palestine. The Arabs are now realising that this is a self-serving Pakistani ploy.'

Pakistan's double game   - May 22, 2002
'There is considerable loose talk in India about us emulating what is being done by Israel. One should never forget that despite the rapaciousness of its leadership, the Pakistan armed forces are professional and motivated organisations.'

Musharraf's farce   - May 9, 2002
'Despite the outward bravado, Musharraf knows that the referendum has exposed the chinks in his armour.'

New turns in Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict   - April 24, 2002
'India is today widely viewed as a soft state in its neighbourhood. Weakening our stand against the LTTE will only reinforce this perception.'

Democracy, Musharraf style   - April 1, 2002
'Musharraf realizes that America needs him. He will, therefore, implicitly link his support for the Americans on issues like the Daniel Pearl murder as the American endorsement of his proposals to continue in power.'

Challenges in the Persian Gulf   - March 21, 2002
'Unlike in 1990, when we were caught unawares by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, New Delhi would be well advised to prepare contingency plans for another conflict in the Persian Gulf in the not-too-distant future.'

Economic challenges to Indian diplomacy   - December 5, 2001
'Protectionist rhetoric may be good for short-term political gains, but are a sure recipe for long-term economic stagnation and regional and international marginalisation.'

The return of Khaleda Zia   - November 7, 2001
'There is little to be gained by Bangladesh by allowing its soil to be used for cross-border terrorism. Friendly relations with India and support for Indian insurgent groups cannot go hand in hand.'

Emerging trends in the American war   - October 24, 2001
'While we should cooperate with the United States, we should have no doubt that in this effort our natural allies are the Northern Alliance, Russia, Iran and Turkey. It is ludicrous to refer to the US as a "natural ally" in the present situation.'

Light at the end of the tunnel   - September 26, 2001
'Even India's detractors across the ethnic divide now feel that New Delhi must play a more active role in promoting ethnic peace in Sri Lanka. It should discreetly forge a political consensus in Sri Lanka between the major national parties.'

Musharraf's Pakistan   - August 29, 2001
'If killings like those being undertaken by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba across India continue, it may be necessary to consider striking across the LoC and even the international border.'

Pakistani generals are adventuristic, not suicidal   - August 15, 2001
'Pakistan is slowly realizing that resorting to nuclear blackmail by describing Jammu and Kashmir as a 'nuclear flashpoint,' while at the same time refusing to discuss or adopt measures enhancing transparency, trust and confidence will only isolate it in the international community.'

Murder this Musharraf mania, please!   - August 1, 2001
'Few people realised that the fatal obsession with the likes and dislikes, prejudices and preferences of the visiting military ruler were all tending to make our entire approach to foreign policy unbalanced, unifocal and warped.'

Kashmir at breakfast, lunch and dinner   - July 18, 2001
'The continuous invocation of the "K Word," left Musharraf's hosts tired and unimpressed. Repetition may be useful to drive home a point to the cadets of the Kakul Military Academy in Pakistan. Not in a mature diplomatic discourse.'

The quest for energy security   - July 6, 2001
'New Delhi should make it clear to Iran that it would be Iran's responsibility to deliver the natural gas on Indian soil. It would be for Iran to seek and obtain guarantees from Pakistan on the security of supplies and transit charges. India should not get involved in this process.'

A scarred kingdom   - June 20, 2001
'In the absence of effective governance, the Maoist menace is likely to spread across Nepal and establish linkages with groups like the PWG in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. New Delhi has to adopt a discreet and low-key approach in extending a friendly hand to Nepal.'

Internal security slips, but the red carpet is out   - June 6, 2001
'While the ratio of security personnel and terrorists killed was 1:5 in the first ten years of Kashmir militancy, the security forces found one of them had to die for every two militants killed during the cease-fire.'

This is not Nirvana   - May 30, 2001
'While we extend the hand of peace to Musharraf, we should also leave him in no doubt that should he choose to proceed on his present path, he would find that our patience is not unlimited.'

The Rongji-Musharraf brigade   - May 23, 2001
'A Chinese naval presence in Pakistan at the very entrance to the Persian Gulf cannot be ignored. These are issues that New Delhi should ponder over and discuss candidly with its friends across the globe and with China.'

The new order   - May 9, 2001
'It would be na´ve to assert that we should first be sensitive to Chinese concerns, real or imaginary, before reacting to initiatives taken by great powers like the Americans or Russians. China would certainly not consult us before fashioning its response to such issues.'

The Boraibari Fiasco   - May 2, 2001
'It is not surprising that those in our neighbourhood who are inimical and hostile to us believe that we are a soft state that lacks both the will and the resolve to hit back when the bodies of our men in uniform are mutilated.'

Deoband and the Indo-Pak equation   - April 25, 2001
'The conference near Peshawar was organized by people who are internationally known as being religious extremists, given to supporting Jehadi causes and terrorism across the world. The highlight was the prominence given to the messages of Colonel Qadhafi, the Taleban leader Mullah Omar and the international terrorist, Osama bin Laden.'

Enter K C Pant   - April 11, 2001
'Hurrriyat leaders have to be discreet in taking issue with K C Pant or disagreeing with Islamabad's policies publicly. They are all, after all, politicians who have an understandable fear of the guns of the Jehadis.'

The era of corruption   - March 28, 2001
'When we commenced purchases from West European countries, the stench of corruption entered the corridors of the ministry of defence. Whether it was the purchase of the Jaguars or the HDW submarines, the era of agents and commissions had commenced.'

The Taleban -- modern fanatics or tribal marauders   - March 22, 2001
'It is now for India to strengthen the broad-based international coalition that has emerged to deal with the Taleban menace. It is imperative that every possible means should be used to prevent the Taleban from exercising its hegemony up to the Amu Darya River on Afghanistan's borders with Central Asia.'

There is no need to be defensive every time we test a missile   - March 7, 2001
'Even if the Bush administration decides to ease some of the post-Pokhran sanctions that Washington has imposed. Cartels like the London Club and the MTCR have been set to ensure that our strategic autonomy is kept in check.'

Time to look beyond the subcontinent   - February 14, 2001
'The SAARC experience has shown that unless there are specific projects identified and implemented, all talk of regional or sub-regional co-operation is meaningless.'

Dealing with Dubya   - January 30, 2001
'It appears clear that the United States now acknowledges the strength and resilience of India's democratic and pluralistic society and is concerned about the growing turmoil to our west and at the economic and strategic uncertainties to our east.'

South Block is well conditioned to promote our economic interests   - January 19, 2001
'If we are to improve our standing especially in developing countries, it is imperative that the budget for technical and economic co-operation that now stands barely at Rs 40 crores should be rapidly increased.'

Nothing suggests that Musharraf is going to cool his passion for jihad in Kashmir   - January 3, 2001
'New Delhi should never forget that while the outside world may commend our "restraint" and "statesmanship", both our adversaries and our friends often regard nations that fail to act decisively in the face of continuous provocation as weak and soft.'

The road to Mandalay   - December 20, 2000
'While much has been spoken over the past decade about a new momentum being imparted to our 'Look East' policies, they will serve our national interest best only if integrally linked to the promotion of the economic progress and welfare of the North East.'

The Musharraf regime has found that Jehad has few takers in the world   - December 6, 2000
'It could be argued that in the right environment, Kashmir could be the bridge linking rather than dividing India and Pakistan. It is now time to take bold initiatives to reap the dividends of recent developments, even as we deal strongly with all those who advocate and promote violence in Kashmir.'

Isolated Myanmar   - November 23, 2000
'The recent visit of Myanmar's General Maung Aye is the logical outcome of what New Delhi sees as the advantages of befriending our neighbour.'

Energy diplomacy in the contemporary world   - November 8, 2000
'Greater attention needs to be paid at home to make our new exploration for oil and gas more realistic and capable of actually attracting foreign investment. Far too often have ministerial delegations proceeded on jaunts to western capitals and come back with no results to show for their efforts.'

The Arab-Israeli dispute -- The need for realism in India   - October 25, 2000
One hopes that we will be realistic enough to recognise that in the present circumstances the United States alone has the power to move Israelis and Palestinians on the road to reconciliation. We should lend broad support to these US efforts.'

The Russian Bear Hug   - September 29, 2000
India and Russia share common interests in safeguarding their territorial integrity and pluralistic societies against the onslaught of forces of religious extremism and in promoting democratisation of the world order. President Vladimir Putin will, therefore, be a welcome and honoured guest when he arrives in Delhi on October 2.'

Iran: A Revolution at the Crossroads   - September 20, 2000
'Iran makes no secret of the fact that it looks forward to working closely with India, Russia and others to prevent the spread of "Wahabi extremism" from Pakistan and the Taliban controlled areas of Afghanistan and to promote peace and reconciliation in that unfortunate country.'

Vajpayee will not act like a supplicant   - September 6, 2000
'The US visit may not have much to show in terms of any new or long-term agreements. It will, however, certainly lay the basis for giving new dimensions and added momentum to a relationship that has thus far not developed to its full potential.'

Pakistan's Nuclear and Missile Programme: The Multiple Dimensions   - August 30, 2000
'Those who constantly assert in India that our tests in 1998 forced Pakistan to go nuclear would be well advised to remember that Pakistan's nuclear policies have their own rationale and dynamics. These flow from their perceptions on the need for a strategic 'equaliser' to maintain 'parity' with India and their belief that they do have a leading role to play in the 'Islamic Ummah'.'

The need for a regional perspective   - August 18, 2000
'It would be ideal if Pakistan chooses to constructively participate in promoting trade, investment and economic co-operation in South Asia. If Pakistan drags its feet, or returns to its usual habit of India baiting, no purpose will be served by contemplating higher level SAARC meetings. We have to go ahead with strengthening ties of regional economic co-operation including Pakistan if possible, but without Pakistan if necessary.'

Autonomy, Pakistan style   - August 2, 2000
'It is now the appropriate time for us to ensure that both the issue of greater devolution of powers to the states and any grievances in the minds of the people of Jammu and Kashmir are imaginatively addressed. Given the way that people in POK and the Northern Areas have been treated, Pakistan has little justification to parade itself as a champion of Kashmiri causes.'

A Flawed Treaty   - July 19, 2000
'There may be a view that after the Clinton visit, we should accommodate US wishes on the CTBT. Given the rejection of the CTBT by the US Senate, there is surely no need for our Parliament to be more obliging to the US president than his own Senate.'

Tamil Nadu and the Sri Lankan crisis   - July 17, 2000
'There is a need now more than ever to draw a clear distinction in the minds of the people of Tamil Nadu between our championing of the legitimate aspirations of the Sri Lankan Tamils on the one hand and the personal interests of the psychopathic Prabhakaran on the other.'

Pakistan at the Crossroads: The Fallout of Kargil   - July 12, 2000
'Pakistan and its military rulers today stand at the crossroads of their nation's history. Will they chose the path of their country continuing to be the focal point for jehad in Kashmir and in other countries? Will they persist in their futile quest for parity with a neighbour several times their size and further bankrupt their crisis-ridden economy? Or will they chose the path of progress and welfare?'

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