By Moin Ansari

Bharati politicians have come to the simple conclusion that there is no other option than to talk to Pakistan. The hoopla over Mumbai could have been resolved in a few private meetings, but the events were overtaken by media hype and the proclivity of the Bharati politicians to exaggerate, sensationalize and point fingers across the border.

In an prodigious article written by Happymon Jacob (Happymon Jacob is Assistant Professor in Diplomatic Studies at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.) in the Hindu the professor has the following advice for Bharat.

  • Even as it is busy crafting a new strategy of engagement with Islamabad, New Delhi needs to remain cognisant of some important facts, discard certain myths and think outside the box as to what should constitute a renewed Indo-Pakistan dialogue
  • First, it needs to abandon the myth that nothing was achieved during the 2004-08 peace process.
  • Secondly, it needs to be realised that though Pervez Musharraf did add drive to the Kashmir dialogue, tremendous progress has been made
  • Thirdly, it is now clearly understood that New Delhi’s interests in Afghanistan will be served better in cooperation with a friendly Pakistan.
  • Fourthly, New Delhi should engage the Pakistan Army. It is widely considered to play an important role in influencing Pakistan’s India policy
  • Finally, talking to Pakistan about water-related issues is vital

The media and the current residents of Rashpati Bhavan continue to see Pakistan as a caricature. The Indian National Congress (INC) has done great disservice to the pullulating millions of South Asia by casting all those that opposed the INC as villains and all those who were part of the INC as shining warriors on white steeds. By creating such binary notions of history, it has shackled the entire Subcontinent into perpetual animosity.


If Bharat and Bharati politicians are serious about dialogue with Nepal, Lanka, Bhutan, China, and Bangladesh then Delhi must be prepared for some serious sacrifices. Regional power does not grow out of the barrel of a gun–it grows through ¬†mutual respect, admiration and apologies for past misdeeds.

Whatever Bharat thinks of Pakistan and Pakistnais is besides the point. If Delhi wants to impose settlements upon all its neighbors, then it might as well bid goodbye to any notion of a global or regional player. That status is only possible if the relations between Bharat and its neighbors are like those between the US and Canada. Unless and until the people of Bharat relaize that Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) eliminates the possibility of any decisive victory against Pakistan and China, there can be no peace in the Subcontinent.

Peace is not a prize given to those who behave well or conform to diktats. Peace has to be achieved through building relationships and trust.