'Relations with Pakistan not better than it was in 1971'
Pakistan's capacity to carry forward relations with India is lower than ever, a senior government official told select journalists.
In a surprising comment, a senior source in government told select journalists this week that India-Pakistan relations are not better than it was after the 1971 war with Pakistan that created Bangladesh. The source was speaking in an off the record conversation on a variety of issues.
He also said that on issue of liberalising the visa regime between the two countries there is no real progress.
It's believed that before the end of the next year, Pakistan's Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani "will need a job" as he retires. The Pakistan situation is as fluid as can be.
The well-informed source said, "Pakistan's capacity to carry forward relations with India is lower than ever."
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'US has seen allies follow them, hasn't seen enough partners'
Talking about US President Barack Obama's negative comment on India's reforms policy, he said, "The US was a superpower. They have seen allies follow them and clients who obey them. They have not seen enough partners. We will teach them."
The government is likely to publish the summary of the Task Force on National Security within two months. It was headed by retired bureaucrat Naresh Chandra. The source said the task force report mentions how the issue of India's energy security is dealt by seven ministries and each of them view it from their own angle. Nobody sees it from the 'national angle'.
The task force has recommended forming of an energy commission or council. If there is proper planning
India can meet 30 per cent of its demand for oil from Rajasthan alone. The report also mentions that the northeast has energy resources but the pricing and marketing is an issue. He said India is paying a high price to Qatar but not to our own states.
Image: US President Barack Obama with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Photographs: Yuriko Nakao/Reuters
'India has clear interest in preventing religious elements from coming to power in Arab world'
While explaining India's stand on the Syrian crisis, the source explained that India is taking utmost care of its core national interest while forming its foreign policy. In dealing with Syria, India's energy security is kept in mind. Also, India has 6 million people working in and around the region. They are not easily employable in India and their security is also concern to India.
The source added that in countries like Syria and in other countries of the Arab world "India has clear interest in preventing the religious elements from coming to power or to see that their power to influence is limited." India thinks there is a fundamental facelift in the Middle East, and India and other countries are learning new ways to deal with it.
Image: Syrian refugees and local residents holding the Syrian opposition flag take part in a demonstration against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, outside the Syrian embassy in Amman
Photographs: Ali Jarekji/Reuters
'Relations with China will be very complex for a long time'
While talking about China, the source said that the country is passing through transition. Both sides have low expectation of solving the boundary issue in a year of transition.
The source agreed that, "Relations with China will be very complex for a long time to come."
The source added, interestingly, that China's next generation of leadership will be better disposed towards the Tibet issue unlike that region's next generation.
China has changed recently their belief that the issue of Tibet will die down with the exit of the Dalai Lama. China thinks that new generation in Tibet is more "dangerous" than the Dalai Lama or his tenure. However, India observes that the international support to the issue of Tibet is not much now.
Image: A Tibetan exile during a protest against Chinese President Hu Jintao visit to India
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
'Taliban is fragmented and not aligned fully with Pakistan'
The Indian government is watching the Afghanistan situation and the official said India is confident of dealing with the situation when the Western powers leave.
Talking about Afghanistan, the source said, India thinks that the Taliban is fragmented and not aligned fully with Pakistan.
If NATO leaves Afghanistan it is more likely to go back to the pre-Najibullah era where the warlords controlled different areas. India wants people-to-people relations. It wants to maintain the goodwill in Afghan society. And, it wants to see that Taliban's stronger position should not affect the security of India. India thinks that the Americans have "poured too much cement into their six bases" to leave Afghanistan quickly. Americans will keep their bases to keep up the pressure on Iran, Pakistan and Russia.
The US can't sustain their forces politically so they will not get into counter-insurgency or not be party in local fights but they would be there and keep safe.
Image: US troops in Afghanistan. America has invested too much to pull out