Cynical Congress, criminal Pakistan
By Kanchan Gupta on
The manner in which the Congress-led UPA Government has provided Pakistan with an alibi to cover up its latest crime against India is at once shameful and self-debilitating. Defence Minister AK Antony read out a statement in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, giving details of the incident on the Line of Control in which an Indian Army post was ambushed by Pakistanis, leaving five jawans dead.
According to Antony, "The ambush was carried out carried out by approximately 20 heavily armed terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan Army uniforms." The Opposition had immediately pointed out that by describing the attackers as "persons dressed in Pakistan Army uniforms", Antony and the Government were providing the Pakistani Government with an escape route, thus enabling Islamabad to disown responsibility for this dastardly act.
It has since transpired that Antony's statement was tailored on the insistence of the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of External Affairs. Here is what happened. The Defence Ministry had issued a statement, based on the reports of the unit deployed along the LoC, earlier in the day. That statement said, "The ambush was carried out by approximately 20 heavily armed terrorists along with soldiers of Pakistan Army."
Subsequently, Ministry of External Affairs officials met diplomats of the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi, ostensibly to lodge India's protest against the killing of its jawans. Strangely, soon after that meeting, the Ministry of Defence was asked by the PMO and the Ministry of External Affairs to issue an amended statement in which "soldiers of Pakistan Army" was substituted with "persons dressed in Pakistan Army uniforms" to avoid a direct reference to Pakistan's undeniable role in the killing of our jawans.
Clearly Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is playing his own game. He still believes he can go down in history as the man who made peace with Pakistan. He also believes that this will fetch him the Nobel Prize for Peace before he exits office. That's the legacy he craves after. It is not entirely coincidental the Obama Administration wants India to shut its eyes to Pakistan's excesses, never mind the cost to India's security and blow to national pride. It's sad but true that Manmohan Singh is more than eager to carry the can for Pakistan. The Opposition is right to demand a clarification from the Government. It must not relent on this demand. In fact, it must insist that Manmohan Singh should explain the discrepancy and why the statement was amended. He needs to be shamed although some would argue this Prime Minister is beyond shame and shaming.
We are told the Congress is mighty unhappy with the manner in which the Government has made a dog's breakfast of its response to the Pakistani crime. But such echoes of the Congress high command's sentiments need not be taken seriously. As Swapan Dasgupta points out on nwrlive.com, Sonia Gandhi is not Queen Victoria. If she is genuinely upset she should step forth and speak her mind. Till she does so, we must take it that the Government's action reflects the Congress's will. In any event, this is the normal tactical ploy of the Congress: Whenever the party is confronted with popular anger over the UPA Government's sins of omission and commission, it seeks to distance itself from the very Government it heads. Duplicity and speaking with a forked tongue are two attributes of the Congress and its top leadership: That's what sets the party and its First Family apart; their cynicism borders on criminality.