Indian cabinet’s decision to maintain the status quo and not to demilitarise Siachen has removed doubt if ever there was one that it is not serious about resolving bilateral conflicts of outstanding nature. The cabinet categorically decided that the issue should not even be discussed during the upcoming Defence Secretary level talks with Pakistan. This is despite feelers from Pakistan including the politicians and the army that a negotiated settlement could be worked out. Resolution of the conflict would have given a chance to both the countries to go a step further in ironing out their differences.
The Western capitals that often hold Pakistan to be more belligerent of the two nations should reassess the situation. They must stop blaming us for being unnecessarily hostile to India. For the umpteenth time, it has become obvious that Islamabad wants peace but it is India that is not yet ready to listen. New Delhi cannot expect us to concede everything while it is not even ready to budge an inch. This is the kind of intransigence that has kept the two countries from coming close to resolving their disputes. If this is their stand on Siachen, — the world highest military war zone — where the cost comes around to millions of dollars per annum, it is hard expecting them to listen to reason on other issues notably Kashmir. Under the circumstances, Islamabad has to stay firm. It must maintain its principled stand on all the disputes. A desire for peace is fine but it does not come easily especially in an atmosphere of mistrust and aggression.