India has stayed clear of the trap laid by Pakistan by refusing to accede to latter’s demand for an international third party probe into the latest ceasefire violation across the Line of Control during which two Indian soldiers were brutally killed by intruders. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has rejected Islamabad’s proposal for a UN investigation into the matter.
The decision of the CCS is consistent with India’s policy with regard to Pakistan and the Jammu & Kashmir problem. However, the BJP, the principal opposition, finds the government’s response to the situation far from adequate. It has called the government ‘weak’ and ‘incapable of taking tough decisions’.
In a statement, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said she had spoken to National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon on Wednesday and asked him to convey to the prime minister that the development on the LoC was unacceptable.
“The government must go in for tough measures and we will support it in such decisions. However, there is no response from the government so far. Unfortunately, we have a very weak government in the country. And weak governments are incapable of taking tough decisions… It is a question of the morale of our armed forces. The government has to act…” she said.
The CCS meet, which is headed by the prime minister and has the defence minister, the home minister, the external affairs minister, the finance Minister, the three services chiefs besides heads of intelligence agencies as members, was expected to offer a cohesive response to deal with such situations. While the deliberations and strategic decisions of the CCS are not made public, something substantive was expected when Finance Minister P Chidambaram spoke to the media. There was none.
“We are certainly not going to agree to internationalise the issue or allow the United Nations to hold an inquiry. That demand is obviously rejected out of hand,” he said. He however, did not give a hint on what further action the government proposed to take against Pakistan. “Whatever has to be done will be done,” is all he said.
Pakistan had yesterday said it was prepared to hold investigation through the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). UNMOGIP has presence on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC).
The BJP, sensing the public anger at the lackluster government response to the beheading of Indian soldiers, is keen to up the ante. The two Leaders of Opposition, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, have already asked the government to draw “red lines” and sought tough action in dealing vis-à-vis Pakistan. The party has decided to stage a nationwide stir over the episode.
The Congress, which heads the UPA, is in a tight spot right now after investing so much in the peace process with Pakistan. However, not keen to be seen as maintaining a low profile over the incident, especially in a year where 10 assembly elections are due, it is talking tough. Congress’s spokesman Rashid Alvi’s tough talk on the issue could not have come without sanction of party brass.