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Peace talks with Pakistan will be futile: Former RAW chief

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New Delhi, Aug 14: The Kashmir issue is “now merely an excuse propped by the Pakistan Army to remain in control”, said former RAW chief Vikram Sood, who described the neighbouring country’s army as the “largest corporate” entity running a range of enterprises from “fertiliser to bread factories”.

Speaking at the launch of his new book, “The Unending Game: A Former R&AW Chief’s Insights into Espionage”, Sood has said that any peace talk with Pakistan, which by default thinks of India as an enemy state, will be “futile”.

“Kashmir is now an excuse for the Pakistan army to remain in control in Pakistan.

“It is now the largest corporate sector in Pakistan. It owns land, owns properties, runs fertiliser factories, runs bread factories, runs atta (wheat flour) factories… It also runs international logistic cell which supplies goons all over the country…(and) heroin,” he has said.

Pakistan, where general elections were held on July 25, will see cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan taking the oath as the country’s prime minister this week.

Having handled things covertly all his life, the former officer was — for a change — open about his opinion about Pakistan, which he said was a country or a state just “in name”.

“I see very little hope that Pakistan’s mindset will change in foreseeable future. So anybody who talks of peace with Pakistan, well these are noble thoughts we should all have them. But if you ask me if we can happily exist as neighbours I think no,” he added.

With that, Sood was quick enough to clear that nothing of this means that “we (RAW) are into the business of making war”.

He said when the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) are talking about war they “are trying to find out what the other chap is doing”.

“We are no jihadi forces trying to disrupt lives elsewhere. We (RAW) are always finding ways to avoid war. We are providing our ministries and our defence personnel information so that they are aware and prepared to handle the situations,” he said.

Underlining the major differences between the RAW and ISI (Pakistani intelligence agency), Sood said while the RAW is a “service provider” to policy makers, the ISI is a part of the force that drives Pakistan’s country’s foreign policy and is like “clandestine core of their army”.

“We don’t make policies, we don’t make suggestions like this should be done or that has to be done. It is the ISI which provides its country strategic weightage in India and Afghanistan. So you have to accept these things when you talk about peace and tranquility with Pakistan,” he explained.

The 269-page book, published by Penguin Random House India, provides a national and international perspective on gathering external intelligence, its relevance in securing and advancing national interests, and why intelligence is the first playground in the game of nations.