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 

What’s the difference between ‘a’ washing machine and a ‘great’ washing machine?

The right machine can save water, power consumption, time, energy and your clothes from damage.

In 2010, Hans Rosling, a Swedish statistician, convinced a room full of people that the washing machine was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution. In the TED talk delivered by him, he illuminates how the washing machine freed women from doing hours of labour intensive laundry, giving them the time to read books and eventually join the labour force. Rosling’s argument rings true even today as it is difficult to deny the significance of the washing machine in our everyday lives.

For many households, buying a washing machine is a sizable investment. Oddly, buyers underestimate the importance of the decision-making process while buying one and don’t research the purchase as much as they would for a television or refrigerator. Most buyers limit their buying criteria to type, size and price of the washing machine.

Visible technological advancements can be seen all around us, making it fair to expect a lot more from household appliances, especially washing machines. Here are a few features to expect and look out for before investing in a washing machine:

Cover your basics

Do you wash your towels every day? How frequently do you do your laundry? Are you okay with a bit of manual intervention during the wash cycle? These questions will help filter the basic type of washing machine you need. The semi-automatics require manual intervention to move clothes from the washing tub to the drying tub and are priced lower than a fully-automatic. A fully-automatic comes in two types: front load and top load. Front loading machines use less water by rotating the inner drum and using gravity to move the clothes through water.

Size matters

The size or the capacity of the machine is directly proportional to the consumption of electricity. The right machine capacity depends on the daily requirement of the household. For instance, for couples or individuals, a 6kg capacity would be adequate whereas a family of four might need an 8 kg or bigger capacity for their laundry needs. This is an important factor to consider since the wrong decision can consume an unnecessary amount of electricity.

Machine intelligence that helps save time

In situations when time works against you and your laundry, features of a well-designed washing machine can come to rescue. There are programmes for urgent laundry needs that provide clean laundry in a super quick 15 to 30 minutes’ cycle; a time delay feature that can assist you to start the laundry at a desired time etc. Many of these features dispel the notion that longer wash cycles mean cleaner clothes. In fact, some washing machines come with pre-activated wash cycles that offer shortest wash cycles across all programmes without compromising on cleanliness.

The green quotient

Despite the conveniences washing machines offer, many of them also consume a substantial amount of electricity and water. By paying close attention to performance features, it’s possible to find washing machines that use less water and energy. For example, there are machines which can adjust the levels of water used based on the size of the load. The reduced water usage, in turn, helps reduce the usage of electricity. Further, machines that promise a silent, no-vibration wash don’t just reduce noise – they are also more efficient as they are designed to work with less friction, thus reducing the energy consumed.

Customisable washing modes

Crushed dresses, out-of-shape shirts and shrunken sweaters are stuff of laundry nightmares. Most of us would rather take out the time to hand wash our expensive items of clothing rather than trusting the washing machine. To get the dirt out of clothes, washing machines use speed to first agitate the clothes and spin the water out of them, a process that takes a toll on the fabric. Fortunately, advanced machines come equipped with washing modes that control speed and water temperature depending on the fabric. While jeans and towels can endure a high-speed tumble and spin action, delicate fabrics like silk need a gentler wash at low speeds. Some machines also have a monsoon mode. This is an India specific mode that gives clothes a hot rinse and spin to reduce drying time during monsoons. A super clean mode will use hot water to clean the clothes deeply.

Washing machines have come a long way, from a wooden drum powered by motor to high-tech machines that come equipped with automatic washing modes. Bosch washing machines include all the above-mentioned features and provide damage free laundry in an energy efficient way. With 32 different washing modes, Bosch washing machines can create custom wash cycles for different types of laundry, be it lightly soiled linens, or stained woollens. The ActiveWater feature in Bosch washing machines senses the laundry load and optimises the usage of water and electricity. Its EcoSilentDrive motor draws energy from a permanent magnet, thereby saving energy and giving a silent wash. The fear of expensive clothes being wringed to shapelessness in a washing machine is a common one. The video below explains how Bosch’s unique VarioDrumTM technology achieves damage free laundry.

Play

To start your search for the perfect washing machine, see here.

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