How could Shekhar Gupta write this sentence with a straight face?
That is why it is fascinating that the most commonly stated discomfort with the Sharm el-Sheikh joint declaration is with its drafting. (The big rewrite)
The “drafting” in question says that India will talk to Pakistan without insisting that Pakistan prosecute those responsible for killing Indian citizens on 26/11 and without insisting that Pakistan takes action to prevent future such attacks. Is Gupta saying that this is a drafting error? No, because he goes on to claim that this is a game changing move, which is entirely to Manmohan Singh’s credit. He goes on to suggest that we should do exactly what the draft says. Then why say that the “discomfort” with the declaration is only “with its drafting”?
He keeps saying that we should not concentrate on tactical issues, but on strategic ones. I am not quite sure what he means by tactical issues. If he says that the “drafting” is the tactical issue in question, then he is misrepresenting opponents of the declaration, because they are in fact concerned with the substantive issue of terrorism, not with the “drafting”. If he is saying that terrorism itself is a “tactical” issue, then it is a disgraceful statement. Terrorism is a tactical issue for Pakistan, a tactic to achieve its larger goals in India. Stopping terrorism against India is a strategic issue for India. In fact, as far as I am concerned, that is the only issue. Prosecuting those responsible for the deaths in Mumbai is a tactical step towards that goal.
He goes on say that India should “engage” Pakistan while keeping up the pressure on it to prosecute those responsible for the massacre on 26/11. But what did the declaration achieve except reduction of that pressure?