Guest Column - Force Magazine
Trust Deficit
The last decade has not ironed out the differences between India and Pakistan despite a growth in trade
Kanwal SibalBy Kanwal Sibal
Pakistan remains a perennial problem for us. It is a unique situation in which the animosity of 65 years has not been overcome despite vast changes in the international arena, with former implacable adversaries like the US and Russia moving, despite serious differences, towards fundamental reconciliation. It is not surprising, therefore, if the last decade has not produced normalisation of relations between the two countries.

The fundamental problem is the mindset of the ruling Pakistani elite towards India. This has not changed in the last decade. The basic antipathy, distrust and sense of rivalry towards India conditions Pakistan’s policies towards us. The Islamic roots of Pakistan and differences with India rooted in religious ideology remain a huge obstacle. If Pakistan’s hostility is anchored in the ‘idea’ of Pakistan, unless that ‘idea’ evolves, burying of differences will not be possible.

Indian and Pakistani soldiers at the Attari-Wagah border The Pakistani mindset has an organic linkage with the military’s domination of Pakistan’s polity. The Pakistani armed forces provide the physical and moral muscle to confront India. With Pakistan becoming nuclear, its capacity to confront India, despite other weaknesses of the country, can be sustained longer than might have been the case otherwise.

India has been unable to craft a policy that through threats of retaliation, engagement and deterrence moves the relationship towards a form of normalisation. In the last decade India has given priority to dialogue, overlooking serious Pakistani provocations, but without the expected results.

On the central issue of terrorism India has played for time, hoping that at some stage the problem may go away or become more manageable. In 2004, Pakistan committed itself to not allow terrorist attacks against India from territory under its control. As against this, India agreed to restore the composite dialogue. A clear linkage was established between dialogue and terrorism. This linkage was discarded in the years that followed as the dialogue continued despite a series of Pakistani abetted terrorist attacks against India, whether in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Benares or Mumbai. India played along in obscuring harsh realities by formally agreeing to delink the two by proclaiming in a joint statement with Pakistan at Sharm el Sheikh in July 2009 that action on terrorism should not be linked to the Composite Dialogue process and these two should not be bracketed.

Such a concession coming after the monstrous terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 was difficult to explain. If the assumption was that this would give the Pakistan government political space to try those responsible for the Mumbai massacre as a first step towards the elimination of terrorism from its soil directed at India, then that assumption has proved wrong. Pakistan has exploited every procedural legal trick to delay the trial.
Comments(0) Share
[View Full Story]

  © 2013 FORCE ARROWHEAD MEDIA PVT. LTD. All Rights Reserved. Private Area | Link Directory | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Sitemap