The secret meeting of the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Thai capital Bangkok should be seen in the positive light rather than being weighed in as a contradictory approach of the Narendra Modi Government vis-à-vis Pakistan .
Some have placed two versions “ talks and terrorism cannot go together “ and the secret meeting of the Indian NSA Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Naseer Janjua in Bangkok in opposite frames . This is misreading of the situation that the two nuclear weapon armed neighbours in South Asia face within their own boundaries. India is victim of Pakistan sponsored terrorism . There is little dispute about it . The frequency of the attacks from across the border – on Line of Control and international border in Jammu and Kashmir as also the terror attacks like 26/11 and December 13, 2001 Parliament attack are some of the unforgettable tragedies . Pakistan knows that it has done it . There is no point in charging its non-state actors with these acts of horrendous violence. The non-state actors and the state actors are indistinguishable in Pakistan and no one knows it better than the people of Pakistan.
Pakistan has done two things . It has wounded itself by patronizing terrorists and thinking that these terror networks can be used against its neighbours ,India and Afghanistan , to achieve its foreign policy goals . It wants strategic depth in Afghanistan , which it treats now as its backyard on which it should have full control , and it wants to avenge the humiliation of 1971 war in which its East wing was lost for ever.
That is the situation , but should that be allowed to be a permanent feature in the relationship of the two countries that share common heritage, culture , languages and also shrines. This face-off situation is not the answer to the problems. The dialogue holds the promise. The back channel is necessary to open the doors to the visible dialogue .
It should always be kept in mind that what India and Pakistan can do between themselves, no third party can do that . Prime Minister Modi is a firm believer of the bilateralism in resolving the issues . The secret meeting was an expression of that.
That the meeting between the two NSAs made it to media explains that it was not to be kept under wraps . Had the two wished it to remain secret, it would have remained secret . There is something more than what meets the eye and that , it seems, is good for Delhi and Islamabad.