Former chief of India’s RAW, AS Dulat says Pakistan is a reality and India must talk to it, adding coercion won’t succeed as it is a historical truth. In an interview with an Indian TV, Dulat said the south of (Indian-held) Kashmir was not in Indian government’s control. He advocated diplomacy as aggression would further alienate Kashmiris.
He recalled the then Indian commander Gen Hooda as telling him in 2016: “You know when whole villages come out in support of militants, there’s very little the army can do… we have done what we had to do, it’s up to the politicians now.”
Dulat added: “This who business of all-out muscular policy hasn’t worked, it’s not going to work, it hasn’t worked anywhere in the world.”
“Ultimately,” Dulat went on say, “there is no way (out) but to talk to Pakistan, but to have a relationship with Pakistan. … as Vajpayee said you can choose friends but you cannot choose your neighbours. And Pakistan is a reality, and we have to deal with Pakistan.”
To a question about involving Saudis in dealing with Pakistan, Dulat said, “If Sidhu can go and hug Gen Bajwa, then surely there are better, straighter ways to do it. I don’t think there’s a problem in reaching out to Pakistan.”
“It is our hesitation. … Given the last five, six years there has been more hesitation on our side that on the Pakistani side. What we lose by talking to Pakistan, you’ve to talk to Pakistan,” the ex-chief of RAW maintained.
He said: “you talk to separatists today, they say the only way forward is the Vajpayee way, or they talk about Musharraf’s four-point formula which was almost the same (as that of Vajpayee). Dr Manmohan Singh followed the same. Unfortunately that deal never happened.”
Dullat praised Imran Khan, saying “He is nobody’s candidate, Imran Khan is very much his own man, he’s always been so. After all he’s Kaptaan Sahab, he’s the one who brought the world cup to Pakistan. So I don’t think it is to our advantage to belittle him. He knows more Indians than any other Pakistani (does). He has been in India about 35 times …. I think Imran Khan is a good guy to do business with.”