Composite dialogue only

WHY do the Pakistani policy makers continue to pussyfoot around India. The Indian External Affairs Minister, Krishna, has categorically stated that India will not resume the composite dialogue but will only talk to Pakistan on terrorism. That should not be acceptable to Pakistan since its position, which was reiterated again, has been that the composite dialogue needs to be resumed if India wants Pakistan to come to the table. Since India has now in very simple and clear language declared that it will not resume this composite dialogue, nor will it talk on any issue other than terrorism, Pakistan must therefore stick to its principled position and reject this forced Indian agenda for a so-called dialogue. Unfortunately, Pakistan seems to have put itself under pressure and instead of coming out with a clear cut response to Krishnas statement, has asked India to clarify its position. What is there to clarify? Does the Pakistan Foreign Office and leadership not understand the simple and clear-cut English Krishna spoke in? It is distressing to find the Pakistani leadership showing such pusillanimity in the face of continuous Indian pressure. Why should Pakistan talk to India on terrorism in the first place unless it is in the context of water terrorism and Indian aid to the militants in Pakistan? On these points Pakistan could have legitimately sought some clarifications that is, how exactly does India see the agenda for talks on terrorism? And in that process Pakistan could have made its own demands that if India wants to discuss terrorism, Pakistan wants to see water terrorism heading that agenda. Instead, the Pakistanis are whimpering away and as usual are without any clear cut position on the issue. Of course, the US pressure is also there; but the US has its own interests and it is time Pakistan asserted its vital interests. Fear of a negative Indian reaction should be overcome by the Foreign Office and the political leadership. Already, too much time has been wasted in inaction on critical issues like water and Indian terrorism in FATA and Balochistan. If India now is under pressure to resume dialogue with Pakistan, we must ensure that it is a meaningful dialogue premised on the composite talks formula which has already been agreed to by both sides. We must not fall into the trap of Indias diplomatic games and point scoring. If we are pressured to go in for talks on terrorism, let us demand dialogue on water terrorism as a starting point, as our only concession. It is time we made our red lines clear.

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