Peter Lavoy, leading a Pentagon team to convince India to up its stake in Afghanistan, acted strange. May be he wears his intel background too seriously on his sleeve. In the dinner table conversation, I brought up the matter of Lt Gen Ausaf Ali, Director — Operations and Plans the most important man in SPD (Strategic Plans Division) – the Pakistani nuclear command secretariat. And Lavoy acted mystified. He kept saying Khalid Kidwai, repeating it everytime I mentioned Ausaf. This was passing curious! I mean does Lavoy think that Ausaf and his position in SPD is secret, not known to anybody in India??? If it was a joke and he was playing the innocent, it was being taken too far.
I also said that, may be, GOI could condition India’s greater involement in Afghanistan on a few stray US drones taking out, separately, you know who! And there was absolute silence from the Americans at the table — not a stir or a cough to break the tension for, as dinner table conversations go – a while. Not sure how to interpret the American reaction. Has such a quid pro quo been broached?