India-Pakistan Ties

View from Dawn: Why India and Pakistan need to revive dialogue, now more than ever

With India moving further towards the right, stakes are too high for the countries to have turbulent relations, says an editorial in the Pakistan daily.

Pakistan High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit, has made a sensible and timely observation: important as the terrorism issue is to bilateral ties, there are other matters of equal importance that deserve to be focused on and therefore dialogue needs to be revived at the earliest.

The high commissioner’s remarks came on a day that the Bharatiya Janata Party shocked India with its nomination of a controversial, hard-line Hindu priest to the post of chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state. The reaffirmation of a message of constructive dialogue on Pakistan’s part at a time when India may be lurching further to the political right is necessary; the stakes are simply too high for India and Pakistan to drift into a new era of turbulent relations.

The high commissioner’s remarks, then, are a welcome reminder that right-thinking individuals in both countries are continuing to dwell on the need for dialogue and not jettisoning the shared experience of the past seven decades, which has proved that while dialogue is difficult to initiate and even harder to sustain, it is the only realistic option.

Easy tangles?

Consider the so-called low-hanging fruit that Basit referred to: Sir Creek and Siachen. Sir Creek in particular was once regarded as an agreement within reach – a border and maritime dispute that can be resolved by technical teams, if the political will to do so exists.

Similarly, the mindless stand-off in Siachen, more than three decades old and a growing environmental concern, could be resolved in a manner that satisfies both the military and political leaderships in both countries.

But the freezing of dialogue has stalled all progress, in disputes small and large. And in the case of Siachen, there is a sense that the intransigence of the Indian military and its growing influence in the national security and foreign policy domains have effectively cancelled the low-hanging-fruit status of the Siachen dispute. Unhappily, the absence of dialogue is allowing other factors to intervene and make historical and already complicated disputes even more complex.

The revival of political will to engage in dialogue is the obvious starting point.

Having established his party as the dominant political force in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has an opportunity to pivot and return to the path of dialogue with Pakistan. Modi also now has the benefit of greater experience – the unexpected return to dialogue and the unveiling of the so-called comprehensive dialogue process with additional baskets in late 2015 was a commendable effort, but was not adequately militancy-proofed. The subsequent Pathankot attack caused a rupture where more experienced and committed dialogue partners may have found a way to sustain the process.

Almost a year and a half later, with Pakistan having taken a few steps against India-centric militant groups and large-scale counter-terrorism operations under way across the country, the dialogue process can be restarted in a more conducive environment.

This article first appeared on Dawn.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Children's Day is not for children alone

It’s also a time for adults to revisit their childhood.

Most adults look at childhood wistfully, as a time when the biggest worry was a scraped knee, every adult was a source of chocolate and every fight lasted only till the next playtime. Since time immemorial, children seem to have nailed the art of being joyful, and adults can learn a thing or two about stress-free living from them. Now it’s that time of the year again when children are celebrated for...simply being children, and let it serve as a timely reminder for adults to board that imaginary time machine and revisit their childhood. If you’re unable to unbuckle yourself from your adult seat, here is some inspiration.

Start small, by doodling at the back page of your to-do diary as a throwback to that ancient school tradition. If you’re more confident, you could even start your own comic strip featuring people in your lives. You can caricaturise them or attribute them animal personalities for the sake of humour. Stuck in a boring meeting? Draw your boss with mouse ears or your coffee with radioactive powers. Just make sure you give your colleagues aliases.

Pull a prank, those not resulting in revenue losses of course. Prank calls, creeping up behind someone…pull them out from your memory and watch as everyone has a good laugh. Dress up a little quirky for work. It’s time you tried those colourful ties, or tastefully mismatched socks. Dress as your favourite cartoon characters someday – it’s as easy as choosing a ponytail-style, drawing a scar on your forehead or converting a bath towel into a cape. Even dinner can be full of childish fun. No, you don’t have to eat spinach if you don’t like it. Use the available cutlery and bust out your favourite tunes. Spoons and forks are good enough for any beat and for the rest, count on your voice to belt out any pitch. Better yet, stream the classic cartoons of your childhood instead of binge watching drama or news; they seem even funnier as an adult. If you prefer reading before bedtime, do a reread of your favourite childhood book(s). You’ll be surprised by their timeless wisdom.

A regular day has scope for childhood indulgences in every nook and cranny. While walking down a lane, challenge your friend to a non-stop game of hopscotch till the end of the tiled footpath. If you’re of a petite frame, insist on a ride in the trolley as you about picking items in the supermarket. Challenge your fellow gym goers and trainers to a hula hoop routine, and beat ‘em to it!

Children have an incredible ability to be completely immersed in the moment during play, and acting like one benefits adults too. Just count the moments of precious laughter you will have added to your day in the process. So, take time to indulge yourself and celebrate life with child-like abandon, as the video below shows.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of SBI Life and not by the Scroll editorial team.