Defence experts give mixed reactions to Manmohan-Sharif meeting

New Delhi, Sep 5: Experts on defence and strategic affairs on Wednesday gave mixed response to the proposed meeting of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

Defense analyst Captain (Retired) Bharat Verma contended that this meeting may not yield the desired results since Pakistan would try all possible means to destabilise India.

“He (Manmohan Singh) is going to talk on terrorism; he may talk on better relationships, he may talk on liberalisations of visa or anything, but the fact remains that Nawaz Sharif will talk, but export of terrorism will continue, fake currency export will continue, infiltration will continue to destabilise India. Pakistan army and government will do everything to destabilise India,” said Captain (Retired.) Verma.

“So, after nine years Prime Minister Manmohan Singh talks or doesn’t talk has totally become irrelevant to the country,” he added.

Defence Analyst Commodore (Retired) C. Uday Bhaskar on his part voiced optimism on the outcome of this planned meeting.

He was of the view that New Delhi should remain engaged with Islamabad on every other front so as to arrive at amicable solution to contentious issues.

“Dr. Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif have some degree of personal contacts, because India and Pakistan must remain engaged,” Commodore (Retired) Bhaskar said.

“We can identify which are the areas that need to be prioritised so to that extent I think the outcome of the New York meeting will be very valuable and high level, personal, political contact between the leaders of India and Pakistan,” he added.

The Prime Minister today confirmed that he would be meeting Sharif during his visit to the United States.

In his departure statement released before embarking on a five-day visit to the United States, Dr. Singh said he looks forward to bilateral meetings with leaders of some neighbouring countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

“During my visit to New York, I also look forward to bilateral meetings with the leaders of some of our neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan,” he said.

Tension has been running high along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch District since August 6 when five Indian soldiers were ambushed and killed by Pakistan’s Specialist Forces.

After that incident and a series of ceasefire violations at the LoC, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had urged the Prime Minister not to hold talks with Sharif unless Pakistan demonstrated some commitment to ending attacks in India. (ANI)