The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has expressed its non-commitment on talks with Pakistan in the wake of the killing of Indian soldiers near the Line of Control (LoC) last week. It is a step which was clearly taken under immense pressure created at home by the Opposition and the media. But sticking to this position will, in the long run, hit both India and Pakistan hard.
India-Pakistan alliance important
An alliance between New Delhi and Islamabad is very very important today, more because soon we are going to witness a new front being opened in Afghanistan once the western forces pull out from there next year. The militants have been aiming hard to derail the Indo-Pak peace process and fuel a tension between the two nuclear powers once the presence of the western troops are gone.
The Indian intelligence agencies are already worried over what could be the scenario in the post-2014 period. According to them, if the militants succeed to fill up the vacuum in Afghanistan, they could focus on India and even if they don't, they still could come at India hard.
Pakistan isn't in a happy situation, either
This doesn't leave Pakistan in a happy state of mind either. New Delhi's role in reconstructing Afghanistan in the post-occupation days is a headache for Islamabad, besides the regular challenge of fighting disturbances both in home and on its western frontier. The prospect of India 'encircling' Pakistan by joining Afghanistan troops is bound to bother the rulers in Islamabad.
Bilateral confrontation is not the question today
There is no point in proudly reiterating what were the results of the wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971 and the armed conflict in 1999. The situation today is not confined to a bilateral confrontation of a pre-globalised world and involves several angles to consider. The Opposition in India, if comes back to power next year, will find the same act which it has been committing today by giving calls of boycott of talks, unsustainable once the Afghanistan episode comes into play. So, why do we decide to put ourselves in a disadvantage by calling off talks and put Islamabad under a serious threat (from the army, militants and several other disruptive forces in the country).
Foreign policy isn't about black-and-white considerations
Foreign policy can not be just decided on black-and-white terms. During the Cold War period, we had two superpowers living on the same planet sharing hostile relations but yet never took it to a point of no return.
Why can't India and Pakistan, both about to complete 66 years a day after, handle the situation in a mature way instead of wasting time in a propaganda war? The big worry is that the establishments in New Delhi and Islamabad have been all caught up with border skirmishes and not think about what drama could unfold in Kabul two years from now.
US reiterates India and Pakistan must continue with talks
The US has also reiterated the need for the two south Asian neighbours to take their stalled peace process forward for it is the only weapon that one can avail to tackle a probable chaos in Afghanistan. If India and Pakistan end up fighting among themselves today, the entire south Asian region will be left burning. Pakistan will be direct casualty while India will be hit next.
Things could be resemble the post-Soviet period of 1989
Hafiz Saeed, leader of the Lasjkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has announced that he is keenly waiting for the Americans to leave the Afghan soils. The situation could be very much similar to the 1989 period when the Soviet forces had withdrawn from Afghanistan.
Thousands of people, who have little to get in the violence-ravaged Afghanistan, may find an incentive to shift their focus on Kashmir in the subsequent days. If India doesn't work on its defence, both by military and diplomatic means, to prepare for such an eventuality, then it will be up against some serious trouble in times to come, particularly after the US pulls out of Afghanistan.
The only option looks to be a stronger civilian government in Pakistan joining hands with New Delhi to put up a defence against all those who feel delighted with a raging fire. Let's hope as an aspiring superpower, India keeps its thinking cap on and not allow jingoism to take over the steering of foreign policy.