08 March, 2021

To Go Or To Forego

Can India temper firmness on 26/11 with some goodwill to Pakistan?

To Go Or To Forego

The desire to have normal relations with Pakistan has long dominated the Indian foreign policy establishment. It was a constant obsession with Jawaharlal Nehru, who took over the reins of newly partitioned India, and several prime ministers who succeeded him. But three wars and generally hostile relations between the two countries over six decades have seen only three Indian prime ministers visit the estranged neighbour in any sort of proactive bid to improve bilateral ties. Ditto for Pakistan; the army generals or the civilian leaders who have run the country have had few occasions to come to India on official visits. More often than not, such trips have been couched as side-shows to a cricket match, or stopovers on a pilgrimage, as Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari did last Sunday in Delhi.

The Bhuttos and Zardaris are believed to be great followers of pirs. The Pakistan president has a resident pir at the Awan-e-Sadr, the presidential house in Islamabad, who guides him on matters personal or political. He is also known to sacrifice...

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