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How an accused secret agent has tied up India-Pakistan-US relations

Since David Coleman Headley was taken into custody, suspicion in India about Pakistan and the US has grown.

Media reports here state that Headley was a double agent, possibly working for the DEA and the FBI.

Whatever the truth, the India-Pakistan peace process has stalled again.

In the Times of India, the world’s largest English language daily by circulation, a retired army officer advised his government to “Call Pakistan’s Bluff.”

“The initial response to Pakistan-sponsored terror attacks could be air power and naval power or special forces centric,” wrote G.D. Bakhsi, a retired Indian army major general. “These should be just, focused, precise and proportionate responses that serve as warning shots and place the onus of further escalation squarely on Pakistan.”

Some voices, however, call for strategic regional change.

“With terrorist incidents tearing Pakistan apart city by city, India needs to realize that the continuing suspension of bilateral engagement is not making itself or the region any safer,” opined the journalist Siddharth Varadarajan in his paper, The Hindu.

Will there be reconciliation between India and Pakistan in 2010? Unlikely, say most analysts, but a few optimists are holding out some hope.

“I don’t think the peace process is in tatters,” said Sanjaya Baru, the former media adviser to the prime minsiter, Manmohan Singh, who is now the editor of the business publication, Business Standard. “We initiated a peace process within a month of [the 1999 Kargil conflict in Kashmir] and that was a war where hundreds of soldiers died on both sides.”