Jaswant Singh & Gen. Pervez Musharraf talk about Indo-Pak relations on THE OUTSIDER
Jaswant Singh, India’s Former Foreign, Defense and Finance Minister & General Pervez Musharraf, Former President of Pakistan come face-to-face for a free-wheeling chat on Indo-Pak relations on THE OUTSIDER with Tim Sebastian. Jaswant Singh and Gen. Pervez Musharraf are the two men who dealt with each other in moments of high drama and conflict between the countries including the Kargil War.
Jaswant Singh and Gen. Musharraf spoke about various issues that have been roadblocks in the smoothening of relationships between the two countries including the Kargil War, bureaucratic inter-state relations, interference of the USA and NATO in the sub-continent, stated policies of both countries, Human Rights issues, Extra judicial executions by the Army as well as the Pakistan’s support to militants and extremists.
Singh accepted that in Kargil, while India was caught off-guard tactically by Pakistan, the situation had turned adverse for them and it was only a matter of time that they were evicted. Gen. Musharraf, with a tinge of sadness said, “A military victory was converted into a political defeat.”
Jaswant Singh, speaking about the decision of releasing three terrorists in lieu of the 166 passengers in the Indian Airlines hijack drama at Kandahar said, “Governments in office don’t decide between absolute black and absolute white. Great many decisions have to be in shades of grey. We took a decision that saving lives is infinitely better for the Government to take as a decision than knowingly let lives be lost.”
When further asked if he still believes that he had done the right thing, Singh said, “I think I am now completely clear in my mind, that if ever there is a choice between saving human lives and knowingly letting a 166 die, I will always opt for saving lives.”
When Singh and Gen. Musharraf said that they were absolutely comfortable sitting and chatting with each other, Tim asked if they believed that Indian and Pakistan are on their way to a bright future.
In his answer to Tim, Singh said, “Yes, they are on the way to a bright future. It will come despite you, not because of you. Despite because you really are obstacles; you as in the USA and NATO.”
Singh further added, “We are concerned and care about the innocent people in Pakistan being killed by the drone attacks in the foot hills of Hindukush and have even opposed it. The role that NATO and USA have today adopted in the sub-continent is actually that of an imperial power.”
Tim Sebastian asked Gen. Musharraf if there was any possibility whatsoever of a permanent agreement about Kashmir with India. Gen. Musharraf emphatically answered saying, “Yes, I do believe it is possible. There have been aspirations cast on the military that it does not want a solution but this is absolutely baseless. Everyone including the Mujahedeens want a solution but the solutions differ, the nuances differ. But I would say that any Government of Pakistan and the military would like to have a solution.”
Gen. Musharraf, speaking about the peace measures, further added, “We had reached a certain level in the discussions and in 2007, when my popularity had taken a dip in Pakistan, I was expecting Dr. Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan and he had agreed to visit and I was expecting us to sign atleast one or two agreements. His going now will be quite different from his coming in 2007 because, at that time we had agreed that if he came and we did not sign any agreement then it would be a flat visit, a non-starter.”
Tim Sebastian, towards the end of the conversation, brought in the highly sensitive subject of both countries being nuclear powers and could use these against each other, which is a cause of worry for the rest of the world.
Gen. Musharraf, speaking about this and the nuclear threshold between India and Pakistan said, “I would not like the audience or you to go with the idea that the situation on the nuclear issue between India and Pakistan is the same as the NATO Warsaw Pact between the USA and the Soviet Union where it was a finger-on-the-button situation.
Gen. Musharraf, reassuring viewers, further added, “There is no finger-on-the-button here because the nuclear assets are not mated with the delivery systems and therefore it is safe. Pakistan’s nuclear assets are absolutely safe and I know the military will guarantee their safety. No foreigner was ever allowed to interfere with our nuclear or missile capability. We have ensured that no one can steal our nuclear weapons.”
Smruti Shinde, Director – Sobo Films speaking about the episode said, “It was a delight to bring the two stalwarts of Indian and Pakistani politics on the same platform to discuss the delicate relationship between the two countries. Both of them have been insiders to various issues that have taken place between India and Pakistan and I am quite sure that they have many-a-mysteries buried in their hearts. The Outsider proved to be a great platform for them to not just sit across the table and discuss a host of unresolved issues brought up by Tim Sebastian but also unite against the stance of the West with respect to the sub-continent.”
Sriram Kilambi, President – Bloomberg TV India, speaking about the episode said, “It’s an honour for us to have Jaswant Singh and Gen. Pervez Musharraf on our channel and we are very excited about this episode. I don’t think they have ever had such a frank and open chat about the relations between the two countries on a public platform and are sure that our viewers will gain important insights into this complex intense relationship.”
Vikas Gulati, Director – Sobo Films, speaking about the episode said, “I had the privilege of meeting both Singh and Gen. Musharraf while planning the episode. It was a pleasant surprise when both of them readily agreed to participate in the show and we are absolutely proud of our achievement. I am confident that the viewers will enjoy the episode.”
THE OUTSIDER, broadcast by Bloomberg TV India nationally and by Bloomberg TV across Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and Middle East reaching out to over 300 million viewers globally, is produced by SOBO Films