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Pragmatism Needed


There has always been a lobby seeking to improve relations between India and Pakistan through the ‘bhai-bhai’ approach, which famously failed when applied to the India-China matrix. Nor has the experience been any different with Pakistan. The closest India and Pakistan came to any kind of stable relations was when ‘confidence building measures’ were introduced so that discussions could begin on resolving the Kashmir issue. Everybody knows how it all melted down when ISI backed ‘non-state actors’ intervened to scuttle any understanding by which Kashmir would remain in India, with POK staying with Pakistan. Dr Farooq Abdullah is one of the few who still stands by that position.
This has led to a hard line approach being adopted by India under which Pakistan is required to entirely quit sponsoring terrorists in a verifiable way before talks can even begin. The experience with confidence building was a bitter one because Pakistan took every advantage but conceded nothing except talk sweetly. The people of Kashmir are also being asked to accept a ‘them or us’ polarity. The peaceniks are seeking greater nuance in both these relationships in the belief that ‘Pakistanis are just like us’.
Having tried the soft line and failed, it is necessary to give the new approach a sufficient try. The people of Pakistan, in particular, need the opportunity to deal with the war mongers and elect pragmatists as leaders, so that the real issues can be addressed. Not having peace must hurt more than the delusional anticipation of humiliating India. If those seeking ‘normalisation’ of relations between the two countries really want peace, they should stand with the Indian Government in implementing its policy. Their peace offerings are considered a ‘weakness’ and ‘cupidity’ by the Pakistanis to be exploited – very few reciprocate with any sincerity. There have to be clear indications from across the border that real power is being exercised by those who wish their people to progress instead of using them as cannon fodder to achieve an impossible dream.
The pragmatists know that two nuclear countries cannot settle any issue by war. Pushing India on Kashmir makes conflagration all that more possible. It is ridiculous for any ‘Islamic’ country to demand that the Muslims in India be given their rights while denying them to their own minorities. This is one of the reasons why other Muslim countries only pay lip service to Pakistan’s Kashmir rant – they do not wish to change their own ways for a distant cause. Pakistan will have to walk the talk if it wishes to be taken seriously by India. Till then, both nations are better off not engaging with each other in any way.