Back to dialogue

INDIAS call for resumption of the secretary level bilateral talks with Pakistan are reflective of Indias gradual move towards a more realistic understanding of the regional ground realities. Foremost among these realities is the fact that there is no way out of the bilateral dialogue with nuclear Pakistan. The alternative of warmongering threats and brinkmanship strategic doctrines simply will not work as India has found out when none of these tactics worked against Pakistan. In fact, the international community has also realized this critical factor. That is why important allies of India like the US have shifted ground to pressure India into seeking dialogue with Pakistan. India also suffered a major setback when the major extra-regional players accepted Pakistans position and left India out in the cold at the recent London Conference on Afghanistan. For Pakistan the desire for dialogue on the part of India has to be welcomed. However, unless India is actually intent on a serious and meaningful dialogue on all conflictual issues, merely resuming the dialogue to fool powerful allies, will achieve little in terms of peace and stability. The other ground reality is that Kashmir holds the key to regional peace and it is high time India honoured its commitment to the UN and the Security Council resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir. India has tried to circumvent this demand through all manner of political ruses and repression of the Kashmiri people. Nothing has worked and the Kashmiris have made it clear not only to the Indian state but also to the world that they will not accept being a part of India. They have sacrificed generations of their youth fighting Indian occupation. It is time for India to accept the need to resolve the Kashmir dispute according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people in consonance with UN resolutions. For Pakistan resumption of dialogue also means bringing up the crucial water issue to stop India from stealing Pakistans share of river waters whereby it is seeking to desertify the rich Pakistani lands. There are also the traditional unresolved border issues along with Indias illegal occupation of Siachin. However, a new and most pressing issue relates to Indias activities in Afghanistan, including the aiding and abetting of militancy in FATA and Balochistan. Indian state support for terrorism needs to be taken up by Pakistan when dialogue resumes. It was encouraging to hear the Indian Home Minister Chidambaram admit that there may have been an Indian hand in the Mumbai terrorism. For too long the Pakistan-India dialogue has skirted around the substantive conflictual issues. This must alter if the dialogue is to have any meaning at all. While dialogue is always welcome, a meaningless one, merely to placate allies, can become a diplomatic liability, creating despondent polities on both sides. The costs of a situation of 'no war no peace serves neither Pakistan nor India in the long run.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt