India, Pak NSAs “ secret meeting “ has many positives

Binoo Joshi

 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.

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