From the Viewsroom

Press pause on Indo-Pak peace

N S Vageesh | Updated on March 08, 2018 Published on September 25, 2016

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Focus on the mandate within the country. That’s priority

After naming and shaming Pakistan as a terror state at the UN, it is important the Modi government maintains that stance till we see a decisive and sustained improvement in Pakistani behaviour. That means, don’t have ‘pull aside’ meetings and clandestine conferences, or offer a hug at the next summit or drop in for surprise a visit, hold hands and sing love ballads together. This may seem like unnecessary caution, ludicrous even, given the current situation, except that we have a pathological weakness to unleash a ‘peace offensive’. We have done this so often. The 1971 war was followed by the Shimla accord, the Kargil attacks by the Agra summit, the attack on Parliament was followed by the understanding in Islamabad two years later.

These flip-flops are due to a peculiar fixation among Indian PMs to go down in history as ‘peace-makers’ with regard to Pakistan. Perhaps they secretly harboured the hope of securing a Nobel Peace prize, of leaving a ‘legacy’ or receiving the adulation of western leaders. Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh, Rajiv Gandhi, IK Gujral, Modi — all of them persevered under the delusion, at least at the start of their innings, that their charm and gravitas would somehow persuade our neighbour to stop being hostile. They are soon chastened by experience, until the cycle is repeated by the next PM. So much for ‘change with continuity’!

It is time the Modi government recognised that enduring peace with Pakistan is a pipe dream; it will not come anytime now. If anything, our growing economic prosperity will only fan our estranged neighbour’s jealousy and hatred. It is time to make our country’s plans accordingly. So, forget about Saarc and peace for South Asia or for all mankind. Kiss the Nobel goodbye. Just focus on saving Indian lives, protecting our property, providing jobs and improving livelihoods here. That’s what you were elected for.

Associate Editor

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Published on September 25, 2016
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