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Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Endgame - Times of India Editorial

Knee jerk? Deliberated? Mark-Twainish? ~~~t

The fact that a significant portion of Pakistan's nuclear assets believed to number about 85 weapons are situated near Islamabad adds to the urgency of the situation. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's assurance notwithstanding, there is a real possibility that these may be jeopardised if the Taliban advance continues unchecked. Under these circumstances, for Islamabad to believe that compromise and political settlement are still possible Malakand authorities have stated that the Taliban have agreed to vacate Buner is untenable. A strong, coordinated military response to roll back the creeping advance of radical forces within Pakistan's borders is now Islamabad's only feasible option. It is a strategy that should have been employed months if not years ago; no time must be wasted in its implementation now if Pakistan is to exist as a nation state.

Given these circumstances, it is in New Delhi's best interests to keep open channels of communication with Washington. It must overcome its reflexive negative reaction to any suggestion of a working relationship between the two. India, after all, has the greatest stake in how events in Pakistan unfold, but little independent leverage there. For that reason, it must also prepare contingency plans about how it would respond if Pakistan were to collapse.


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