India-Pakistan Resumption of Dialogue
Talk, and just talk
Zafar Hilaly, The News, February 18, 2011
Blessed is the man who expects nothing for he shall never be disappointed. That’s the feeling virtually all have about the forthcoming India-Pakistan talks. At best we will get a bit of friendliness when what is needed is friendship. Hardly anyone, therefore, whether in government or the public at large, expects anything to come out of these talks. They are likely to be thoroughly inconclusive and demoralising, much like the previous rounds and diplomatic interactions. They will consist of all the contradictions and inconsistencies that have become an integral part of the so called India-Pakistan ‘dialogue’ – truly the dialogue of the deaf.
“Meetings are only really necessary”, said an ex ambassador, “when you don’t want to do anything”. And as it happens there is nothing of substance that either wants from the other and which either is remotely in a position to concede or, frankly, in the mood to do so. India perhaps needs the talks a mite more than Pakistan. It helps her perennial quest for enhanced stature at a time when it is seeking a permanent membership of the Security Council and after the recent uprising in Kashmir sullied her image. It also helps India manifest a keenness for a peaceful solution even as it visits further brutalities on the hapless Kashmiris. Of course, it fools no one and least of all the Kashmiris but then India is a slave to habit. On the other hand, our image is beyond repair and our preferences and dislikes set in stone, so whether or not talks are held is really of no import.
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