In what can be considered as ominous clouds, the supposed National Security Advisor level talks between India and Pakistan scheduled for Sunday collapsed just hours before it was about to begin. Not only is it a clear indication of the inherent mistrust between the two nations but also the fact that force can’t be a way to resolve these long standing disputes.
As uncertainty looms large over the future of further talks immediately, what could we infer about the relationship between these two primary neighbours of the Indian Sub-continent? Can we call it curtains in context of resumption of peace talks in the region?
Well frankly going by the Govt statement released by both nations, an amicable solution seems to be a distant dream at the moment. While Pakistan has been blaming India for imposing conditions ahead of the talks, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj clarified it several times that talks would not proceed if the Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz did not drop plans to meet Kashmiri separatist leaders.
Not only was meeting Hurriyat leader a bone of contention, even the basic agenda of the meeting was in disputed territory. While India wanted to focus on terrorism, Pakistan’s intent was to include all outstanding matters which no doubt includes Kashmir.
The writing is on the wall! The manner in which the issue was involved, one cannot help but wonder if the whole imbroglio is rather stage managed to jeopardise prospects of any talks. While diplomacy has never been an easy game, it has always taken up complicated forms in Indo-Pak matters. Perhaps the biggest loser in this entire game of chess is the average citizen in both countries. It is importantly for this reason that Governments in both countries need to look at proactive, amicable and constructive solution to this issue.
While India in the last few years has shown significant grit in asserting its position in the region, Pakistani policy has been a mere pawn in the hands of the country’s military. Therefore, more than deciding on a new date for talks and trying out face saving gimmicks to win the average citizen’s trust, it is finally time for hard hitting action with long-term implications that seeks to constructively alleviate the continuing tension.