Favour dialogue over agression
In agreement with the external affairs minister Salman Khurshid’s quip that a meeting between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan would require an ‘atmosphere’ of amicability and promise of delivery, it should nevertheless be kept in mind that dialogue is always a better weapon than the bullet or a missile. In the wake of the latest showdowns between India and Pakistan at various points along the Line of Control, particularly Poonch, the government’s demand that our beleaguered western neighbour resolve issues at hand first, before the ‘peace process’ and diplomatic negotiations can be resumed at the highest level is not particularly unfounded. But as Khurshid rightly points out, that there has to be ‘desire’ at both ends, and clearly, unless Pakistan establishes beyond reasonable doubt that it is ready for pushing diplomacy over militancy and insurgency, attempts on the Indian part are likely to meet resounding defeats. Moreover, although Salman Khurshid’s meeting today with his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Kyrgyzstan, is likely to prepare the stage for the future meeting of the premiers at the UN General assembly in New York later this months, unless Pakistan shows some genuine initiative, not much can be expected from the talks, that have been reeling under a shroud of mutual mistrust. Evidently, Pakistani government’s inability to control the brute militia which is the ISI, and its lack of power over the Army in general under Kayani, is not a new phenomenon, since this is the disease that has plagued even the previous PPP regime.