India, Pak need to talk

The renewed freeze in Indo-Pak ties brought on by the Pathankot attack looks set to linger on for some more time to come.

The renewed freeze in Indo-Pak ties brought on by the Pathankot attack looks set to linger on for some more time to come. Despite Pakistan's repeated calls for the resumption in dialogue, India has shown little inclination to resume the engagement.

 In fact, speaking at a recent event in Kashmir, foreign secretary S Jaishankar clearly spelt out India's unwillingness to resume talks unless Pakistan takes some credible action against the perpetrators of Pathankot attack.  

Speaking at Raisina Dialogue,  the first big international conversation on geopolitics, organised by Ministry of External Affairs and the Think Tank Observer Research Foundation, Jaihankar said that after a terror attack, New Delhi would prefer pursuing action against perpetrators than the dialogue.

This has effectively put the onus of creating conditions for the resumption of talks on Pakistan. As of now there are no laid down minimum conditions that Islamabad will have to meet to get the dialogue going again. Earlier, speaking at a press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry, advisor on foreign affairs to Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj complained about India giving "veto power" on bilateral ties to non-state groups.

He said Pathankot attacks were difficult to check for any state as they were carried out by the groups which no country had successfully controlled so far. "No country has totally controlled them. So for somebody to orchestrate an incident, with people on both sides of the border, these kinds of incidents would always take place," he said. Similarly, Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit has said that the dialogue between the two countries was a necessity and not a "favour by one country to one another". Significantly, he has called Jammu and Kashmir as "the root cause of all our bilateral problems" and called for working together to settle this issue". But there is little indication that the talks are nearer to resumption. Islamabad has taken some measures against some suspects in the Pathankot attack. Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar has also been detained. And with registration of an FIR against unknown persons, a process has been initiated to bring to book the alleged perpetrators. However, the law will take its drawn course. This could take years. So should the dialogue remain suspended until that happens? Not at all. The best way out is to get back to the talks and work in good faith towards the settlement of all the bilateral issues.   This is the anti-dote not only to the lingering animosity between the two nations but also to the persisting violence by the state and non-state groups. 

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