Ahead of Singh-Zardari meeting,India faces ‘policy dilemma’ on Pak

While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will look to push the envelope with Pakistan President Asif Zardari on terror-related issues during their first official meeting on Wednesday, top sources on Monday admitted that India was presently caught in a "policy dilemma" over Pakistan as they were not sure about the extent to which the Government there could influence matters.

According to India's assessment, there are clearly "multiple centres of power" now in Pakistan which makes it extremely difficult to be certain about deliverables. While India has its channels open with different power constituents, sources said, New Delhi will have to approach the meeting with Zaradari on an assumption that he represents all sections of the Government. India is clear that currently it is Zardari who is in complete control of the democratically-elected Government.

To that extent, India is expecting a substantive response to investigations into the attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul, on repeated ceasefire violations and general cross-border terrorism. Indian officials see a pattern in the manner in which the massive terror attack on Hotel Marriot in Islamabad is followed up with a ceasefire violation along the Line of Control, thereby foreclosing any opportunity to show solidarity with Pakistan.

This confusion, sources said, makes it clear that the ISI and, to quite an extent, the military are currently a source of "trouble" when it comes to strengthening Indo-Pak relations. So, India feels there is no point in trying to "get after" the newly-elected President and the democratic government in Pakistan given the fluid power equations in Islamabad.

However, New Delhi is clear that this assessment will not come in the way of applying pressure on Zardari in order to test the resolve of the new Pakistan Government to cooperate on terror. For all the apparent differences, the Government is of the view that Zardari and Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani do need each other and, therefore, have a relationship which can be exploited.

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