After the Cordial Relations

When Mrs Indra Gandhi returned to power in India in 1980 the nature of relationship with Pakistan changed altogether. The cordiality that was developed during the prime ministership of Mr Morarji Desai and Mr A V Bajpai holding the portfolio of foreign minister turned into strained ties between the two neighbours. Mrs Gandhi used to lament in those days that friendship with Pakistan was being cultivated at the cost of national interest. So, as soon as she assumed the reigns of power she reversed the policy. The tenor of address against Pakistan became hard and Pakistani hand started to appear in every problem facing India. Indian Express used to sternly criticize Mrs Gandhi for her anti Pakistan approach while the Times of India staunchly supported her. When Mrs Gandhi once made a comparatively soft statement about Pakistan on certain issue, Mr Giri Lal Jain, the then editor in chief of Times lashed out reminding her that a tough stand against Pakistan was a part of our foreign (or national) policy. It was a bit strange state of affairs for the observers of new generation and they wondered if it was appropriate to decide the diplomatic course irrespective of the attitude of a certain country.
Feelings of Dr Ambedkar
During the course of this discussion Dr Ambekar’s remarks were recalled, who while resigning from the central cabinet in 1951 gave ‘unnecessary tussle’ with Pakistan as one of the reasons of his leaving the cabinet. He expressed deep dissatisfaction with "our quarrel with Pakistan" that he termed "a part of our foreign policy". Observes have been citing Dr Ambedkar’s instance whenever there was a discussion about the Indo-Pak relations. More recently, Mr Harish Parvathaneni, a serving IFS officer, referred to this in his article published in Indian Express on 14 March, under the caption “What if Ambedkar Had Shaped India's Foreign Policy? “ He mentioned that Ambedkar criticised Nehru's foreign policy for trying to "solve the problems of other countries and not to solve the problems of our own country". He (Dr Ambedkar) also favoured a more realistic and peaceful solution of the Kashmir issue. The policy shaped by Mrs Gandhi continued to dominate our foreign policy during the 80s and the following regimes could not alter this.
The Questions Arise
The situation sixty years ago, as referred by Dr Ambedkar, and the one prevailing now raise several questions. Was Pakistan “created” for the sake of our need of an enemy. Did Pakistan come into existence because of the demand of the Muslim League or was it a necessity of the Indian National Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha? What was the situation before Muslim League raised the issue of Pakistan? Which of the political rivals broke their promises, when and where? What was the thinking of Sardar Patel and some other leaders of Indian National Congress vis-a-vis Indian Muslims? The question raised in the wake of 26/11 Mumbai attack that ‘who gained from the incident’ should be extended to “who gained from the creation of Pakistan and who suffered?” What was the condition of Muslims in the sub-continent before the partition and what did it become after it? If the current foreign minister, Mr Parnab Mukherji, finds it expedient to warn Pakistan everyday before the breakfast, after the lunch and before the dinner, then what was the “quarrel with Pakistan” sixty years ago which disheartened Dr Ambekar? Don’t we need to deeply reflect on his remarks once again in the contemporary circumstances?
19/03/09 khabar o nazar by Parvaz Rahmani, sehrozaDAWAT, translated by: M H Zulqarnain, Riyadh

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