Make no mistake about it. It is not only General Parvez Musharraf who wants irrefutable evidence against the involvement of ISI in Mumbai train blasts, but also our ?friendly? United States of America that seems upset that its ?strategic and trustworthy? ally in war against terrorism is blamed for involvement in the dastardly crime. American Ambassador David Mulford chides India for not sharing information with Islamabad before blaming ISI in the terrorist attack on Indian citizens. He wants ?rock solid evidence? to be produced before anyone implicates ISI. Does America wants India to pass on all available evidence to Islamabad so that ISI can cover its tracks and turn round to tell India, ?We had no hand in the crime?? Is Pakistan trustworthy? If you don'tbelieve India, ask your own NATO commanders operating in Afghanistan. According to them, Pakistan is the ?source, supplier and instigator? of terrorism in that trouble-torn country. Ahmad Rashid, an eminent Pakistani analyst and celebrated author of a book on Taliban, says commanders from five NATO countries, including United States, whose troops are fighting some of the bloodiest battles with the Taliban for the past five years have asked their governments to be tough with Pakistan over the ?support and sanctuary? its security forces provide to the Taliban.
In a recent dispatch from Afghanistan in The Telegraph, Rashid says ISI is behind the Taliban'smilitary capabilities demonstrated in the ?Operation Medusa?. The commanders want President Bush to bluntly tell President Musharraf that ?either you are with us or against us?. He quotes a commander to say, ?Our boys are hurting (sic) because of what is coming out of Quetta?. Lt. General David Richards, British General commanding the NATO troops in Afghanistan recently went to Islamabad to ask Pakistani leaders to rein in his intelligence agency that the former ?believes? is training Talibans to fight British troops. Media reports in London suggest that he will provide the addresses of places where Mullah Omar and other Taliban leaders are hiding. Why are you not providing Islamabad with ?rock solid evidence?, Mr Bush? You go by what your generals fighting the war ?believe? to be true. But when it comes to India, we must provide irrefutable evidence to ISI.
BJP-led Government achieved considerable success in improving relations with Washington. Simultaneously, New Delhi made sincere efforts to convince the US of Pakistan'sinvolvement in cross border terrorism and the need to rein in Pakistan. Unfortunately, Washington seems to labour under the impression that Indo-US friendship is a one-way affair in which India should be conscious of American concerns without any reciprocity on its part. While India stood by America when terrorists attacked it, what we have received is only a hollow sympathy and no concrete action to rein in his ally that continues to manufacture terrorism and export it to India. American response to our quest for permanent membership of the Security Council was, at best, lukewarm. Washington'svote in the straw poll against our candidate, Shashi Tharoor, for the top job in the UN is an eye-opener. The significance of this set back can'tbe missed. Indo-US relations have indeed taken a beating in the past few months and there are dangers ahead. If the nuclear deal doesn'tgo through?on which UPA Government is very keen?because of hurdles put in by the US Congress, it would be a big blow to our relations with the super power.
Coming back to ?rock solid evidence?, it is high time that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh?who is rightly dubbed as a ?weak Prime Minister??take up with US President the issue of ISI sponsored and inspired cross border terrorism with some determination. Or is it too much to expect from a nominated Prime Minister? Responding to American demand for a ?rock solid evidence?, India need not shy away from asking US if it had ?rock solid proof? about existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Iraq (that it failed to find) before launching an attack on that country? If Saddam was a dictator, so is the General-cum-President across the border. If democracy is good for Iraq, it should also be equally important for Pakistan. Why double standards? Yet another evidence?this time of rock solid variety?of American double standards is Washington'ssoft approach towards Islamabad on the latter'sinvolvement in 9/11. US has discovered to its horror that in the days preceding 9/11, the then ISI Chief, Lt. General Mohamoud Ahmed, transferred $ l,00,000 to Mohammad Atta, the ringleader of the hijackers, that mounted the horrific attack on US with 3000 dead. After the attack on Afghanistan, Ahmed was quietly asked by President Musharraf to retire. He is said to be living comfortably in Islamabad. Why has President Bush not brought him to justice?
Dr. Manmohan Singh may be a weak Prime Minister but let him remember that India is no banana republic. It is a major regional power and has emerged as a big economic power on the global scene. The Prime Minister needs to look into the eyes of President Bush and ask some uncomfortable questions. Does he need to be reminded that his predecessor, Atal Behari Vajpayee, had shown the courage and dignity to firmly decline President Bush'sinvitation to visit Washington during the Kargil conflict so that Washington could broker a peace between India and Pakistan? While our armed forces registered a decisive win on the treacherous hills of Kargil, the Government won the diplomatic battle to isolate Pakistan forcing it to withdraw its troops from our territory. US may be the only super power, but India is no push over. Let the Prime Minister tell his interlocutors in Washington that India needs to be treated with respect and that double standards won'tdo.