11 May, 2021

Two Wayfarers On The Bridge Of Spies

Track II is a behind-the-scenes bridge to efforts at resolution. Dulat and Durrani’s informative ‘intel dialogue’ falls short of the candour that might make a difference.

Gen Asad Durrani (left) and A.S. Dulat, former chiefs of the ISI and RAW respectively, who held an ‘intel-dialogue’ in 2016-2017
Two Wayfarers On The Bridge Of Spies

It was former US State Department officer Joseph V. Montville who had coined the word ‘Track-II’ while writing in Foreign Policy (Win­ter-1981-82) on conflict resolution negotiations. He was defining att­empts by non-official channels to find common ground that official negotiators (Track-I) could not. But Montville did not invent the process. President Dwight Eisenhower had used it thro­ugh Norman Cousins, editor of The Saturday Review, to break a stalemate in negotiations with Soviet Union during the Gary Powers U-2 Spy plane incident (1960-62). Cousins had set up the ‘Dartmouth Confe­rence’ in 1960, asse­mbling American and Soviet intellectuals for info­rmal dialogue.

READ ALSO: Espionage Diary

But Montville did not consider ‘Track-II’ as a substitute for ‘Track-I’. The aim of both tracks is problem solving and not mere dialogue. Montville’s Track-II only...

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