Terrorists know about weaknesses of both India & Pakistan

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh puts up a more credible performance while dealing with external issues, compared to domestic affairs. His firm stand to carry on with the talks with Pakistan is a welcome move. Singh's famous king-like act of 2008 when he risked the government's stability to go ahead with the civil nuclear agreement with the Americans is another example. One wonders why can't he show the same resolve when speaking on corruption or economic slowdown?

Coming back to Pakistan and India's perennial headache at the borders with it, there are essentially two sides of this story.

Pakistan's domestic failure and Sharif's struggle

First, the death of the Indian soldiers is a consequence of Pakistan's own internal failure. The Opposition's demand to call off talks with Pakistan doesn't hold any ground because there is no definite identity of the country, even during its honeymoon with democracy.

By calling off talks with the democratic Pakistan, we will surely play into the hands of the terrorist Pakistan and it will be all uncertain from there on. Nawaz Sharif, who became the prime minister of Pakistan for the third time in May, has struggled to author the story the way he liked. And there is little hope that the man will succeed for the given conditions are by no means conducive for a stable and democratic polity.

Pakistan's thousand problems

Pakistan itself is plagued by endless injuries. Terrorism, insurgency, economic failure, power shortage, floundering foreign policy and more recently, a terrible earthquake that killed over 350 people. An army general of Pakistan was attacked by militants on Thursday when he was overseeing the relief operation in the earthquake-hit region. He escaped but the incident shows the snake pit that Quaid-e-Azam's dream has turned out to be.

It is extremely important for India to stand by the struggling Sharif government. Just because he couldn't check an ambitious Pervez Musharraf in 1999 doesn't mean that we suspect Sharif even today and take a hostile stand vis-a-vis Islamabad. We must remember that democracy is the only system that allows one to rectify his/her errors and rewrite history.

Nawaz Sharif himself is having a torrid time dealing with terrorism in Pakistan

Sharif, who was overthrown in a military coup, will also keenly look ahead to fulfil his aim of making peace with India. But it will be impossible to achieve unless there is a strong cooperation between the two neighbours.

Just as the Indian government is under a massive pressure to deal with external terror, Islamabad, too, has a big challenge to curb its internal terror. Sharif tried to take the army into confidence to take on the problem together, something rare in Pakistan, but his high hopes have not delivered on the expected lines so far.

His government wanted to have unconditional talks to the Pakistani Taliban but the army doesn't support the plan for it has borne the brunt of terror attacks in recent times and believe unconditional talks with the terrorists will cause it more harm.

Another deadly attack in a church in Peshawar last Sunday that killed over 80 is likely to corner Sharif more over his way of dealing with the terrorists. Now the Pakistani prime minister is at a loss of idea, particularly when confronting the western leaders.

Terrorists know both Indian and Pakistani governments have weaknesses

The terrorists are sure about one thing and that is: both the current Indian and Pakistani governments have weak bases. While Islamabad has organisational and structural weaknesses, New Delhi is suffering from indecisiveness and lack of planning. This has given the militants a perfect space to flourish. Both the governments face strong domestic opposition when it comes to initiate talks with the neighbour.

Both governments have domestic opposition

The BJP in India and the army in Pakistan feel that both the prime ministers are moving too fast on improving the bilateral relations. This gives more reason to both Singh and Sharif to come together to face terrorism, not only through the use of force but also through other measures, like negotiations and economic development. Otherwise, both the divided polities will continue to bleed at the hands of the terrorists.

Why India can't defend its soldiers?

The second part of the story is concerned with India's own defence mechanism. Going forward with the talks is an important part of the story no doubt, but isn't the entire story. Knowing fully well that Islamabad isn't in control of things, India must put a robust defence mechanism in place. It is strange to understand that even after a massacre in Mumbai five years ago, we do not feel motivated enough to shield the life of each of our jawans.

Terrorists are butchering our soldiers at will at the borders and no yet no proactive measure is visible to thwart the sinister designs. How can we not guard the borders to stop a single entry of the evil elements? Witnessing the media hysteria and gun salutes given to the slain soldiers after each killing, we forget the basic task, which is to put up a strong defence at the borders. If we have a unruly and chaotic neighbour, it is our foremost duty to protect ourselves first and then go for to the negotiation table. The priorities are hopelessly misplaced. 

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