Pakistan is reported to have sought resumption of Indo-Pak composite dialogue process that was thrown off the track by the January ceasefire violations which led to killings of both Indian and Pakistani soldiers. Signals emanating from South Block suggest that the UPA government has agreed in principle and the dates are being finalised to set the stage for a possible meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in the last week of September.
At a time when ceasefire violations by Pakistan Army are on the rise and India’s home minister has warned the country about renewed efforts by its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to facilitate infiltration of terrorists operating from its soil to revive militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, this is a shocking response. It only goes to show that with Singh dreaming of open borders with terror-exporting Pakistan, India’s Pakistan policy remains driven by delusions of hopes, not statecraft. It is time New Delhi realised the series of unilateral political concessions by India to Pakistan, including delinking dialogue from terrorism has only solidified Pakistani reluctance to bring the Mumbai attack masterminds to justice and emboldened it to continue its anti-India activities.
Being nice with a determined adversary in the hope that this will change its behaviour is not strategy. India’s Pakistan policy needs to be anchored exclusively to its strategic and national security interests. Dialogue with Pakistan needs to be discontinued with only a modicum of diplomatic relations to continue. India must firmly tell Pakistan that unless it takes tangible steps to address India’s strategic concerns nothing meaningful can be achieved by restarting the dialogue process. India’s Pakistan policy needs to pivot back from its “Pakistan appeasement” mode of the last nine years to one of hard-headed realism.