Nuanced hard line
So, jaw-jaw is better than war-war provided the talks are on terror
The nuance introduced by the Ministry of External Affairs vis-à-vis the Indian Government’s stand on talks with Pakistan via its statement on Thursday is subtle, but vital. “Though terror and talks cannot go together,” the MEA spokesperson said, “talks on (ending) terrorism can certainly go on.” Bravo. Indeed, this was the first official response — and confirmation — of the talks at a between the National Security Advisers of both countries in Bangkok recently. For those with long memories, it is also a happy coincidence that this nuanced but robustly uncompromising stand on dealing with the rogue state of Pakistan was articulated on the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official visit to India given that the mainstream Israeli stand on Palestinian terror has been similar and consistent for decades now.
Effete liberals who have built networks that promote intergenerational privilege in exchange for supporting a bogus policy of moderation with evil even as the subject of their entreaties has relentlessly pursued its national/ummah interest are likely to get their knickers in a twist at the thought of an Indian Government showing the courage to take a maximalist position — surgical strikes, disproportionate retaliatory military operations to provocations, no talks till terror continues and a diplomatic squeeze on Pakistan are all part of the same strategy. The latest talks-on-terror-are-fine addenda reaffirms that for all its other shortcomings, the current ruling dispensation does recognize the need to stay true to an implacable no-compromise stand on the crazies in our neighbourhood while factoring in realpolitik to ensure some crumbs are thrown to the international community led by the US so New Delhi is not blamed for being recalcitrant and/or hostile to peace talks with Terroristan.
It is also a sound move because as the history of peace between hostiles has shown, a compromise, if one were ever to be possible by some miracle which in turn would be premised on Pakistan first getting its act together (but please don’t hold your breath), would require concessions from India too and a maximalist position affords us that negotiating luxury. The fact that even New Delhi’s international community interlocuters, especially Washington which is the only player with real leverage in the geopolitical game in South Asia, are fully aware, recognize and accept — despite proforma noises from East Coast peaceniks whose kids don’t die daily due to Islamic terror action — that the talks-on-terror-are-fine line is just a fig leaf that doesn’t cover India’s hard line in any substantive way indicates that they seem to be finally acting in concert with India to lighten the burden of Islamabad’s long-running diplomatic song claiming India doesn’t want talks, which has had some resonance in largely uninformed civil society groupings in the past.
As for the future, here’s a prediction: Pakistan has to understand the new rules of the game put in place by India which will include covert action, aggressive diplomacy, cross-border military operations, abrogation of the Indus Water Treaty, withdrawal of Most Favoured Nation trade status and, eventually, unless talks on terror don’t end the religion-inspired war the Pakistani deep state and non-state actors have launched on India, actioning a quiet but unwavering policy to break the territory of Pakistan into four or five sovereign states. For the sake of the peace-loving section of the Pakistani people who are struggling with the basics of daily life much as Indian citizens are, we hope we are wrong and both nations can instead turn the spotlight on themselves to deliver on the promise of equity and prosperity that 1947 promised.
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