In Reverse Gear Again

It seems that the hawks have once again succeeded in wrecking Indo-Pak relations. After a painstaking progress over the past two years that saw the two nations move towards a promising trading relationship, the situation has suddenly gone back to square one. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh conveyed as much on Tuesday when he ruled out “business as usual” with Pakistan. "After this barbaric attack, there cannot be business as usual with Pakistan. Those who are responsible for this (mutilation of bodies of Indian soldiers on LoC) must be brought to book," Singh told reporters. Singh’s statement came in the wake of the Army Chief General Bikram Singh saying that the army will retaliate “at a place and time of our choosing”.  The statements have already translated into some action. The new visa regime that had brought a remarkable thaw in ties has been put on pause. On Tuesday, when the scheme was to come into effect, Pakistani senior citizens who had turned up at the Wagah border were turned away. According to the agreement, the senior citizens from both sides would receive visa on arrival. Similarly, nine Pakistani hockey players who were signed up to play in a private league were sent back. While one can understand the public outrage in the country over the beheading and mutilation of Indian soldiers which resulted in the breakdown of the relations, there is too much riding on the current Indo-Pak engagement to always keep it at the mercy of this or that incident. In this way, the two countries will not be able to improve their relations for eternity. Because the dialogue will never progress beyond a point. More so, when there are any number of forces on both sides of the border who do not want any constructive engagement between the two countries to come to fruition. There is therefore the need for India and Pakistan to keep the dialogue going, knowing fully well that it is a deeply hazardous path and full of unpleasant surprises.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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