Cancellation of Talks: An Indian Mantra
By Waheed Ali
This is not the first time when India has cancelled her talks with Pakistan. Cancellation of talks is a repeated mantra of arrogant Indian governments. If looked at history, there are several such examples available when India has denied the political solution of the existing bilateral issues. There is no denying the fact that there is no solution other than political one i.e. talks because military adventure or conflict is not in favor of either side; neither Pakistan nor India can afford to wage a full scale war. Though limited war and border skirmishes continue but going beyond this will have huge repercussions for both neighboring countries.
Historically, there are a number of evidences available regarding India’s moves for cancellations of talks. In 2014, India called off secretary level talks on pretext of holding meetings with Kashmiri leaders by Pakistan’s then High Commissioner in New Delhi. In April 2017, India cancelled maritime talks with Pakistan in a row over death sentence awarded to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav. In the meantime, Pakistani maritime officials were due to visit India to discuss fishermen and search and rescue operations related issues. So, keeping in view India’s aggressive and war mongering attitude an unwillingness to resolve outstanding issues is putting the bilateral as well as regional security and development at risk. Indian mantra of not to hold talks with Pakistan on whatsoever pretexts will hinder peace process and it would further delay prosperity that is dreamt by both neighboring countries. For peace, prosperity, development and security, India needs to flip-flop her attitude.
Pakistan, on the other hand, continues to support bilateral talks and it has always been Pakistan not India, who has always been preferring peace over war on both political and military fronts. Recently, Pakistan’s new PM Imran Khan proposed engagements of both countries in peace process, initially accepted but later on within the pace of twenty four hours was rejected by the ill-sensed Indian government. This shows that India is longer interested in resolving bilateral issues and her such posture could further expand the vacuum of mistrust and it would not be in favor of India herself. She is at misconception that by not discussing and sidelining Kashmir would make her stance stronger as she thinks that her stance over Kashmir has acquired weightage at the international forums as she has been continuously terming the freedom fighters’ struggle as militant and terrorist activities.
In June this year, the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) launched her report on the Human Rights violations in the Indian occupied Kashmir. The report has rightly portrayed the atrocities done by the occupying forces of India against unarmed and innocent Kashmiris. This report is enough to support Pakistan’s stance over the Kashmir. In the light of this report, Indian stance over Kashmir is in complete negation as India has always tried to portray them militants. The report has exposed India and has showed the world the gross human rights violations in the occupied valley. Foreign Minister of Pakistan while commenting on India’s refusal to hold meeting during his address to the UNGA, said that India preferred politics over peace. However, Pakistan is keen to pursue a policy of partnerships for peace, security and prosperity in our immediate neighborhood and the beyond. Pakistan’s military leadership has all the time reiterated that they do not believe in military engagements rather they prefer peace, not war.
In a nut shell, if India continues to create setbacks in holding talks to resolve bilateral relations, then pace and prosperity will always remain an unfulfilled dream. For peace to achieve in the region, India must act sensibly by preferring talks over bullets and blames. Pakistan’s firm resolve to maintain peace and find solution of the issues including Jammu and Kashmir must not be misunderstood as weakness. However, India needs to play apolitical role and focus and prefer peaceful dialogues for durable regional peace.
By Waheed Ali
The writer is a Research Associate at Pakistan House