New Delhi: Amid Abu Jundal's revelations about the involvement of Pakistani state
agencies in 26/11, former minister and MP Shashi Tharoor says that
there is "a systematic effort" to shield the perpetrators of the
Mumbai terror attack but says "it is in our interest to have peace
with Pakistan" because development was not possible with troubled
"There is an element of connivance of the Pakistani establishment,
revealed by David Headley and now Abu Jundal, which hasn't been
dealt with convincingly by the Pakistani authorities," Tharoor, a
former minister of state for external affairs, told IANS in an
"We have every reason to worry that there is a systematic effort
to shield perpetrators of 26/11," he said.
However, he said, there was "a realistic case" for India to make
peace with Pakistan.
"It's in our interest to have peace with Pakistan. We have
aspirations for ourselves and our people which are not compatible
with hostility with Pakistan. We won't be able to focus on
development if we have troubled borders," he said.
Tharoor, an MP from Thiruvananthapuram and a former UN official,
was minister of state for external affairs when India's relations
with Pakistan were severely strained after the 26/11 attacks and
the dialogue process between the two countries was frozen.
Tharoor attributes the dismal state of India-Pakistan relations
and the slow pace of 26/11 justice to the stranglehold of
Pakistan's military-dominated establishment. "There are elements
in Pakistan who don't want peace with India because it will
destroy their excessive claim to influence. Pakistan will not be a
military-dominated state if the military can't persuade the
country that there is a threat from India," he said.
In his new book "Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st
Century," (published by Penguin), Tharoor writes: "The central
problem bedevilling the relationship between the two
subcontinental neighbours is not, as Pakistani propagandists like
to suggest, Kashmir, but rather the nature of the Pakistani state
itself - specifically, the stranglehold over Pakistan of the
world's most lavishly funded military (in terms of percentage of
national resources and GDP consumed by any army on the planet)."
Pitching for multi-alignment as New Delhi's model of diplomacy in
a multi-piolar 21st century world, Tharoor has used the metaphor
of the worldwide web in Pax Indica to describe how India can
juggle a series of "networked relationships" to realise its
foreign policy goals for the larger overarching goal of domestic
transformation and national renaissance.
In Pax Indica, Tharoor writes: "What, then, is the way forward for
India? It is clear that we want peace more than Pakistan does,
because we have more at stake when peace is violated."
Tharoor, however, cautions that even as India tries to improve its
ties with Pakistan, it has to be careful about the history of
betrayals and terror attacks.
"(Then prime minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee goes to Lahore (in
1999) for peace and he is rewarded with Kargil. The relations with
Pakistan improved a lot under the Manmohan Singh government and
the (Pakistan President Asif Ali) Zardari government in 2008 and
then we get 26/11," he said.
"Every attempt for peace is undermined by an act of betrayal or
attack (on the part of Pakistan)," he said.
Invoking the much-touted friendly relations between the US and
Canada, Tharoor suggested that if India's ties with Pakistan
improves, the Pakistani military will be reduced in influence like
the Canadian military.
(Manish Chand can be
contacted at email@example.com)