Clamming that India and Pakistan shared cultural history, former ambassador and chancellor Central University of Jammu (CUJ) Gopalaswami Parthasarathy said on Saturday that both countries needed a people-oriented policy for good relations.
"I feel pain when Pakistani children needing medical treatment in India have to wait six weeks for visa. These are the issues we need to take a stand on. If some Pakistani artists came to perform we should not have any problem. This nuisance approach towards a country is determined to cause you internal damage," Parthasarathy said while addressing a seminar on the theme "Transboundary Issues in South Asia—Indus Water Treaty and Indo-Pak relations" at the Jammu University.
"The detailed study of Pakistan's history suggests that Kashmir is not only cause of India- Pakistan dispute. The Punjabi-dominated military in Pakistan and its intelligence agencies kept disturbing peace and harmony in India much before the militancy erupted in Kashmir. Islamabad (Pakistan's capital) is not representing the entire Pakistan. It is represented by politicians and bureaucrats," he added.
"By and large the people of Pakistan want peace with India and we have to design our foreign policy accordingly. Don't treat every Pakistani a bad guy. There should be more youth exchange programmes and we should set a positive narrative," he said.
"Atal Bihari Vajpayee (former prime minister) had told me to give as many as visas to Pakistan so they could see India and that worked for us. We had issued more than 300 visas in a year when I was the ambassador," he said.
Claiming Kartarpur Corridor is a milestone in Indo-Pak relationship, he said the corridor did not happen overnight because there was "pressure on Pak groups to incite violence in Punjab to destabilize India and close communication and surface channels to Kashmir".
He added that diplomatically SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) is not heading India anywhere because "Pakistan is not cooperative". However, he said, India has successfully grouped with other neighbours.
The BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) comprising Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, he said, was working very well.
"BIMSTEC recently conducted a conference of all army chiefs, which is impossible with Pakistan. If Pakistan misbehaves, don't hesitate to isolate them. This goody-goody does not work always," he said.
Lieutenant General (retired) Syed Ata Hasnain, former GOC of Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, said in his address that Pakistan cannot fight a conventional war with India and hence only a "proxy war which the country is fighting in Kashmir is in their favour".
"So our neighbors keep us engaging on various fronts to destabilize internal security and foreign policy," he said.
Ambassador TCA Raghavan, Director General (DG) of Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), said there had not been prolonged "shutdowns in the bilateral relations between India and Pakistan".
"The Kartarpur Sahab is a significant diplomatic breakthrough and proved that inconsistencies in the bilateral ties will remain. He stressed that a holistic policy will help both nations to prosper.The cultural hegemony of India can be used in Pakistan to India's advantage. The development of Supreme Court and Election Commission in India has influenced entire South Asia including Pakistan," he said.