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By AHMED QURAISHI

Saturday, 25 July 2009.

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—More than a month after the visit of US Under Secretary of State William Burns to New Delhi, I described in my column this week in Pakistan’s The News International [‘Forget AfPak, Resolve AfKash To Win In Afghanistan’] how no Indian official publicly contradicted Mr. Burns when he asked New Delhi to trim down or close some of its consulates in Afghanistan after they have been found involved in terrorism inside Pakistan.

I had no idea I was breaking news to a large segment of the Indian public opinion. It turns out very few people in India know this.

What Mr. Burns said is important because it paved the way four weeks later for Pakistan’s Prime Minister Gilani to have a frank talk with his Indian counterpart in Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, where Mr. Gilani leveled with Mr. Manmohan Singh about India’s role in spreading terror in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. The Indians agreed to quietly look into the matter and consented to let Pakistan mention that the two sides discussed ‘threats in Balochistan’, which was a face saver for the Indians. The alternative would have been embarrassing. Islamabad planned to go public with the evidence on Indian terror links.

The Indian government did get into trouble over this with its critics back home. But it successfully kept the lid on an equally embarrassing situation when Mr. Burns visited New Delhi in the second week of June.

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