Advisor to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has called for a comprehensive dialogue process between India and Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues. Terming last week’s visit by the Indian foreign secretary to Islamabad a positive development, he hoped that this would pave the way for further talks to help find common ground to end differences. He also pointed out that the existing trust deficit has not been bridged. According to him, more positive initiatives and efforts are needed to end this trust deficit. All important issues including the core issue of Kashmir were discussed in the foreign secretary-level meeting that augurs well for the future course of diplomacy. The visit of the Indian foreign secretary to Pakistan was also welcomed by the US, which termed it a good initiative. The US said that it was ‘encouraged’ by the resumption of talks between the two countries. Although no breakthrough was made in the secretary-level talks, it is a positive development for all those who yearn for peace in the region and want an end to the existing hostility between the two states. During his media talk on Sunday, the adviser said that the SAARC summit 2016 would be hosted by Pakistan. He was hopeful that all the SAARC leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend. It is a great opportunity for both rival states to engage in dialogue and sort out their differences, thereby improving bilateral relations.
The dialogue process between India and Pakistan is still at the very initial stage and it is not yet clear how it will proceed. There is need of political will for bringing an end to the decades long mistrust and resentment. The leadership of both countries must rise above all the differences for the establishment of permanent peace. Instead of sticking to the traditional mindset of undermining each other, both sides need to show flexibility. They must compromise in the larger national, regional and global interest. Another issue that needs to be taken note of is the role of non-state actors and spoilers who always jump into such situations and try to derail the peace process through spreading terror. In their pursuit of their nefarious agenda, the terrorists and evil-mongers do not care for borders. As hinted at by Mr Aziz, there was the possibility of an important development in the bilateral relations during the Indian prime minister’s visit to Pakistan back in 1999 but relations were disturbed again due to the Kargil war. Both the governments of India and Pakistan must be aware of these detractors of peace.
The two neighbourly states have failed to come on good terms since their independence from British rule. They are still unable to find ways and means to end unnecessary hostility and get rid of so-called superiority complex. The dividends that peace offers are unlimited and achievable through the establishment of long lasting peace in the region. The leadership of both countries must resolve all bilateral issues in a civilised manner. They must listen to each other’s opinion, address grievances and seek solutions. The trade and economic prospects between both states are enormous and cannot be ignored. The governments of India and Pakistan spend huge budgets on the defence sectors. If both states decrease their defence budget and divert a small chunk of this budget to the welfare of the common man, it will change the whole fabric of society in both countries. The masses in both countries are the real sufferers of this hostility and cannot afford any more warfare. There must be an end to the cold war insanity and serious efforts must be made for the establishment of friendly relations between India and Pakistan.