Former research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) chief A S Dulat on Sunday advocated “aggressive diplomacy” instead of “coercive action” as the way forward to tide over the current turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Diplomatic road is very important. Americans have already supported us (India). I think the diplomatic line is the right line which was used successfully after 1999 (Kargil) and 2001 (Parliament attack). It should be pursued aggressively to get across a message to Pakistan that this sort of thing (Pulwama or Pathankot attacks) cannot continue,” he told The Indian Express.
An IPS officer from the 1965 batch, Dulat earlier served as special director in Intelligence Bureau (IB) and is regarded as one of India’s leading experts on Kashmir. He recently authored the book Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years.
Dulat said he has always advocated dialogue but at this moment — after the Pulwama attack — if he talks about dialogue, he may be branded as “anti-national”.
While referring to former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s statement after the Pulwama attack, on reconciliation in the Valley, Dulat said, “Normally I do not agree with Mehbooba but today I agree with her on what she says (on reconciliation). A couple of days ago, former chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah said similar things. If two Kashmiri leaders are saying the same thing in different words then somebody should take note of it.”
On the state government’s decision to withdraw security of separatist leaders in the Valley, he said, “Fact of the matter is that some of them are under threat and some them have been killed from time to time. That is why security was given to them. If you remove the security, they may be attacked again.”
On forces being given a free hand following the Pulwama attack, Dulat said, “The forces are free to do what is correct and legitimate. But it does not mean that you go on a killing spree or something. Freehand does not mean that you enter homes and kill people. It means that if people are attacking, you can shoot back.”
The former IPS officer said it is not just Pakistan and China who have come together. Beijing has stalled several attempts by New Delhi to get Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar listed in the UNSC ban. “We are missing certain things, Pakistan and Russia have cosied up. Every country cosies up for their national interests. If Trump (Donald) supports you (India), it is in his national interest. If he doesn’t support you (India) tomorrow then it is not in his national interest. There are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies.”
About the role of Jaish, Dulat said, “JeM had been quiet for past few years but it has come back in a big way in the last two years and people (security agencies) need to think why?”