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HAKSAR’S VACUUM DIPLOMACY
Mr. P.N. Haksar
is that rare bureaucrat who also believes in deep
self-searching. His work in the Ministry of External
Affairs and in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat was marked
by careful study and in his inimitable way he has always
projected political trends and thinking with prudence
coupled with a keen sense of priorities. As a “think tank”
Mr. Haksar has been an important asset for those holding the
reins of administration of our foreign policy.
insistent admirers of Mr. Haksar are now showing a deep
uneasiness over the manner in which he has been pursuing
half-hearted and ill-digested solutions towards the
settlement of Indo-Pakistan problems. His latest
formulations are not distinguished by any perceptive
analysis. There is an appalling ambiguity in his thinking
on whether India should continue to embrace the concepts of
the “Simla Spirit” in dealing with Mr. Bhutto. Mr. Haksar
today is a captive of his own rigid formulae and instead of
answering the need for a fresh look at Sub-continental
relations he has been clutching at straws. In a confused
and imprecise manner Mr. Haksar has been advancing somewhat
spurious contensions about building bridges of understanding
between Dacca and Islamabad. Mr. Haksar’s “conventional”
wisdom is today coming in the way of a hard re-examination
of New Delhi’s policy towards constructive and meaningful
negotiations with Pakistan. His failure to grapple with the
fundamental problems in New Delhi’s relations with Dacca
must cause concern to all who care for the future of good
relations between India and Bangla Desh.
“softness” towards Mr. Bhutto has been revealingly
demonstrated by his pressure on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to
give up the idea of holding any trial of the P.O.Ws. who are
guilty of war crimes. Mr. Haksar’s unreal conjectures about
Mr. Bhutto’s views on Kashmir have been totally
unjustified. Thanks to Mr. Haksar’s “appeasement”, India
has been rewarded by the abusive language which Mr. Bhutto
has spewed over every aspect of our nation’s past and
“instinct” has proved to be the bane of India’s efforts.
Indian foreign policy should be rationally structured to
take account of the following propositions in
Bangla Desh has the moral and political resources to hold a
trial of P.O.Ws. who have committed war crimes. It is not
the task of Indian diplomacy to create an abridgement of
Bangla Desh’s rights in international law.
In Mr. Bhutto’s own words, Pakistan Foreign policy shares
“ideals and ambitions” with China.
According to Mr. Bhutto’s interpretation, the Simla
Agreement does not mark the end of “the dispute over Jammu
and Kashmir” but only the beginning of a new phase.
By focussing on “recognition”, Indian diplomacy has merely
trapped New Delhi and Dacca in the clash between two
incompatible concepts, that of “Muslim Bengal” based on the
two-nation theory and that of a modern state of “Bangla Desh”
based on the legal and political equality of its citizens.
needs is to develop proposals for a cooperative
Sub-continental Community for a long term future. The
clamour for the release of the 93,000 prisoners must be
answered not by an adamant stand but by decisions in a mood
of sober realism.