A little less conversation, a little more action

Nawaz Sharif must provide credible proof of his intent before New Delhi resumes dialogue with his government

While India’s response to the killing of Indian soldiers in the Poonch region along the Line of Control must be calculated and cold-blooded (see an earlier post), it is untenable to contend, as some commentators have done, that dialogue with the Pakistani government must continue regardless of the provocation.

There is no case for New Delhi to engage the Nawaz Sharif government in serious dialogue at this time. While Prime Minister Sharif has made verbal overtures to the need for better relations with India, he has demonstrated little by way of putting this sentiment into action. Talk is cheap. It is action that matters.

We have seen nothing by way of tightening the pressure on outfits like the Lashkar-e-Taiba/Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the prosecution of the 26/11 accused has run aground and the Pakistani military establishment has raised the temperature by attacking Indian diplomats in Afghanistan. On Mr Sharif’s side of the equation, “it’s only words…”. His predecessor, Asif Ali Zardari, did try to match words with actions. Although he didn’t go far enough, although his party colleagues undermined the effort, and some of his associates paid a heavy price for those actions, it made some sense in pursuing dialogue with his government. Mr Sharif’s party, on the other hand, relies on political support from Islamist militants in his home province and has shown no sign of taking on either the military or the jihadis so far.

Maybe it’s too early for Mr Sharif to act in ways that make his words credible. Maybe he needs more time. That’s both reasonable and fair to him. In the meantime, what’s the hurry for New Delhi to pursue dialogue with his government, even if there had been no attacks in Jalalabad and gunfights along the Line of Control? Why not wait to see credible signals that Mr Sharif has the intentions and the wherewithal to deliver on the pre-requisites for a serious dialogue?

There is no case for resuming dialogue—leave alone for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan—until that time. As even simple people know, it is foolish to make an advance payment to a person who might not actually have the goods he’s promising to sell.

Related Link: Why Pakistan is really two distinct entities—the military-jihadi complex and the putative Pakistani state. The former holds all the cards as far as peace is concerned. The latter is feeble.

2 thoughts on “A little less conversation, a little more action”

  1. as you tweeted this afternoon, unless everyone is on the same page that there are 3 different pakistans, these debates get pretty boring.

    we need to wage war with MJC at all times, engage with the people of pakistan no matter the cost and keep an arms length from their govt.

    who’ll take india’s peace overtures seriously in Pakistan, if we ban their cricketers from playing here and blame every pakistani for the work of MJC?

    and why do our TV channels present a completely one-sided view of the border skirmishes. indian army seems almost equally responsible for border tension. they use terrorists, while we use poor and hotheaded jawans to do the dirty work.

  2. how do you know the indian side does the same tricks. Can you site some info somewhere or just your imagination??

    Allowing their cricketers/actors wont help as it did not help for many decades. Common man of Pakistan does not give a damn to these cricketers/actors as we do the same with this class here. Those Pakistani cricketers/actors come to india to earn money and this is not going to help because it cannot help. If you want to help the common men out there, device new ways.

    In my opinion, the war with Pak has to be fought at many fronts – with the army, with the people/their perception, the propaganda inside Pakistan and international community/interests and vested interest in Indian media/govt official/politicians. Now this kind of war was fought in Mahabharat by Pandav with the help of Krishan. Now there is no one who is like that, so we will loose it. This is my current understanding and opinion. It might change in future depending on how time changes.

    You must have faith in our nation and its army. Our army fought the battle bravely, even the ones we lost. They did everything at their disposal and gave away their lives knowing fully they would not survive. we should respect that attitude and their sacrifice.

    Our destiny is tied to our nation (assuming you are not trying to run out of country). Lets work to make this nation better to attain the lost glory.

    Lastly when you give argument, think like it is you not the nation, then your cunningness/shrewdness will come out. And you will now write some silly argument like we also do.

    Dont feel offended as it happens what goes around comes around.

    Take care, your com-patriot

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