New Delhi: India’s security observers have dismissed the interview of Moeed W. Yusuf given to an Indian interviewer, as a futile and childish exercise. Yusuf is special advisor on national security and strategic policy planning to Pakistan’s Prime Minister and claimed in the interview that India has sent a message to Pakistan saying it wants to talk to Islamabad, but that Pakistan has said that any such conversation must include the Kashmiris.

According to officials, security watchers from Western countries that have a stake in Pakistan and who saw the interview, found the presentation and content of Yusuf to be too “light”, which looked more like a commentary from a mid-level army officer than a security advisor to a PM.

These officials said that Pakistan was now looking to use the “soft approach” that includes using media and social media, along with the hard approach of supporting terror groups, while dealing with India. This new modus-operandi, officials added, was the result of the deliberations that officials at GHQ, Rawalpindi had with the generals of China’s People’s Liberation Army.

According to these observers, despite being tutored by Pakistani officials, who were standing behind the camera even as Yusuf gave the interview to the, he was not able to go beyond the usual baseless accusations that Pakistan throws when asked to speak about India and related issues.

“The entire interview is full of claims that are not backed by any proof or evidence which is not expected from someone who advises the Pakistani PM on strategic issues. He failed to name any official, even a fictitious one or a date to substantiate the claims and accusations against India. He claimed India had approached Pakistan for talks but when asked how, why, he started beating around the bush. Yusuf’s agenda was to show the present Indian government as looking to compromise, which is not the case”, a senior government official said.

According to him, Yusuf, as is the norm in the Pakistani bureaucratic set-up, most likely has also tried to curry favour with the Pakistani army, which commands more hold and say than his boss Prime Minister Imran Khan. “Assuming a back channel informal attempt was happening or had happened to normalise relations, would any strategic advisor, worth his salt, make that public? The only plausible reason for indulging in such an act would be to scuttle any such rapprochements. Yusuf, who works for the PM, is more interested in what the people at GHQ, Rawalpindi want. The generals at GHQ, as has been proven time and again, will never want normal ties between India and Pakistan. They, like in any military-run country, thrive when there is tension with their neighbours”, he added.

Sharing the feedback of two other Western countries that have a prominent stake in what Pakistan does, another official said that the security watchers of these two countries were “amused” by the content, which was being moderated, that was spoken by the advisor to the Pakistan PM. “He was put forward by Pakistan’s army to show that it is the civil administration that decides issues of strategic importance. However, he looked more of a mid-ranking army officer than a strategic advisor, going by the narrative he was pushing. His response on why Kulbhushan Jadhav was not being offered unimpeded access was laughable (according to Moeed Yusuf, Kulbhushan had told the Pakistanis that he did not want to meet Indian officers alone). He claimed in the interview that he was revealing exclusive information about four terror groups merging. Imagine a security advisor to a PM proudly and publicly stating that four terror groups active in his country have merged. And it was not exclusive information, it is something that happened last month and is known to everyone who tracks such developments.

“He made laughable claims about the 2014 attack on the Army public school (Moeed Yusuf claimed that the attack was masterminded by RAW and the TTP terrorists were in touch with Indian officials in Kabul). Every intelligence agency in the world knows which organisation did it and why, even their own man (referring to Taliban leader Ehsanullah Ehsan) has been talking about this. Pakistan wanted to use this interview to further their agenda by putting forward their best ‘sophisticated foreign studied scholar’ but in reality it ended damaging its credibility even more,” another official stated.