The idea that pursuing peace talks and continuing negotiations with Pakistan is the only way forward and the path that will help both victim countries (“Dialogue is the only option,” editorial page, Sept.2). Warfare will only lead to destruction and violence which neither country can ill-afford. India must now aim to strengthen democratic forces in Pakistan. No doubt it will be a very slow process, with more wounds being inflicted, but staying the course will ensure that the peace-loving tortoise beats the terror-loving hare.
Both countries have a rich and common history; fought like brothers against imperialism, and then fallen victim to communal forces. Now, both nations yearn for peace. India must push ahead with trade, people-to-people contacts by road and rail and win the confidence of the democratic government there. Simultaneously, Pakistan must show that it cares and push ahead with enhancing the most favoured nation status.
The article admits that successive Indian governments in the last three decades have been trying to talk peace with Pakistan. Despite the failure of the elusive search for harmony, the author has reiterated the banal “there is no substitute to dialogue” argument which rests on a dangerous and untenable premise that it is India’s job to mould public opinion in Pakistan and weaken the Pakistan Army’s influence in policy-making.
India has done its part to avert a major conflict on two occasions when it was justified in launching an offensive against terrorists operating from Pakistani soil — after the attack on Parliament and the horror inflicted on Mumbai. No nation is as forgiving of injustice and treachery as India. Unlimited restraint in the face of blatant provocations is something no self- respecting nation will pursue just because it will help to influence the internal, political dynamics of the adversary. If Pakistan’s politicians are unable to tame their belligerent and Indophobic army, it is their problem. The Utopian peace-at-any-cost policy has outlived its utility vis-à-vis Pakistan.