Fai affair also hits Indian establishment
The arrest of Ghulam Nabi Fai, a US lobbyist of Kashmiri origin working for the ISI of Pakistan has made many faces red even in India. Some top intellectuals including journalists who accepted his hospitality while attending seminars on Kashmir in Washington are at pains to describe how they were not aware of his links to the Pakistani Intelligence set up. It is true that many of them could have just gone there since they were being given business class tickets and a five star hospitality but some certainly went to these seminars to give expression to their thoughts on Kashmir and the possible solution to the problems. It is, however, sad that the views of people falling in the second category do not get reflected in the final resolutions adopted at these seminars and conferences aimed at creating an opinion in favour of Pakistan.
The arrest of this ISI operative has caused a lot of embarrassment to the Pakistani establishment since some other ISI sponsored centers in Brussels and London also stand exposed. Simultaneously, in the process a few Indian intelligence operatives functioning in the garb of journalists or academicians have also been exposed. It is not uncommon for any Intelligence agency to send people it trusts to ascertain the viewpoints of its counter part or to advance arguments, which favour its own perspective. Pending more details, it is not possible to find out whether these Indians, some of whom have links with our agencies actually presented perspectives, which favoured the Indian position or were subverted by the rival agencies. I am not accusing everyone who went to Washington at Fai’s invitation but only some. It is not a secret to guess who they could be.
As a country we have to realise that in dealing with Pakistan we have to be extra cautious. Various organisations and track two people involved in promoting greater friendship and understanding between the two countries have to ensure that the line is not crossed where Pakistan gets the better of us. I am sure that those involved in this process are all wise men and women but there is no harm if extra caution is used. The Indian establishment whether in Foreign Office or the Intelligence set up must from time to time make sure that our interests do not get compromised in any kind of dialogue. I do believe that there should be better friendship of people to people between the two countries but it cannot be at the cost of our internal security being compromised or our position on Kashmir being diluted.
There has been a lot of focus on how the glamorous new foreign minister of Pakistan, Hina Rabbani Khar met some Hurriyat leaders in new Delhi before her meeting with the foreign minister, SM Krishna. It was a totally avoidable act since the Pakistanis have been interacting or even funding some Hurriyat leaders. The meetings with the Hurriyat have taken place in London, Brussels and Washington and there was no express purpose served if Rabbani Khar met them in the Indian capital. It has only led to some discomfort. There was also no need for the Pakistani foreign secretary to be so supportive of Ghulam Nabi Fai on the eve of the crucial talks. I know there are many who have strong opinions on many subjects and may argue that it is our fundamental right to give air to our views on Kashmir or other issues at any for a. I do not dispute their fundamental rights but there are always responsibilities, which go with the rights, and the prime responsibility of any Indian citizen as long as he holds an Indian Passport is to have total allegiance with our country and its interests. Discussing a theory in a classroom or an academic symposium does provide certain licences but any International Forum with suspect funding is not the place where you uphold positions, which are detrimental to our country’s interests. Vigilance is the price of democracy and we must be sure that while pursuing the path of friendship we do not get caught in the thorns of evil designs and get used by evil forces who want to create an erroneous perception.