Diplomatic drill

At the seventh SAARC ministerial conference at Islamabad that Home Minister Rajnath Singh will attend on August 4, he will broach the matter of Pakistan’s sustained support to cross-border terrorism. There is, however, no bilateral meeting scheduled with his Pakistani counterpart, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.  The spokesperson said, “He (Rajnath) is going for a multilateral SAARC event.” This will be the first visit by any senior Indian leader to Pakistan after the Pathankot attack on  January 2, which created tension between the two countries.  

Apart from Pakistan sponsoring and stoking acts of terror in India, Singh is expected to bluntly also raise the issue of the slow pace of probe into the Pathankot airbase terror attack, which was carried out by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad along with the trial into the Mumbai terror attack case in that country. 

About the kind of signal India, which has postponed the resumption of Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue in wake of Pathankot terror strike, was giving by sending the Home Minister to Pakistan, Swarup said,”Our participation is in the context of our “neighbourhood first” policy and our commitment to regional cooperation within the SAARC framework.

While the protocol of diplomacy may be carried out in full gear, the formalities cannot tide over the stark realities of failure of the Indian establishment which has lingered on for decades together. Needless to say, this statement is made in the context of Kashmir, further magnified in the event of the unrest for the last two weeks. Not denying the fact that it is essentially a political problem at its root, the matters are compounded to the present intensity due to the apathy and laxity of both the governments combined – India and the state of Jammu and Kashmir.  It is true that the people of Kashmir have continuously been at the receiving end for no fault of theirs, they have been wronged, and the violence and protests they break into time and again only reflect their genuine anger with the system and its continued failure.  

Indian state representatives may express assertively that “Kashmir is an integral part of India” and any civil unrest is an “internal matter”, but the fact remains that in all these years, no government of India, has been able to do anything substantial – with the single exception of the Vajpayee government which had come very close to a solution. However, it remains to be seen what result follows from this conference.  


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