"The more we speak with Pakistan, the more terrorists will be marginalised": Interview

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What should India's response be post the Pathankot attack is a subject that has been debated to the hilt. There have been various suggestions that are made about how India should respond to Pakistan.

The government of India is very clear and that is why it expects action against the masterminds of the attack, it in no way wants to stop talking to Pakistan.


"There is a need for India and Pakistan to take a different approach now. Talks should now essentially focus largely on trade and commerce," says former officer with the Research and Analysis Wing, Amar Bhushan.

In this interview with OneIndia, Bhushan says, "the more we talk with Pakistan, the more marginalised the terrorists would get." [Timeline of Pathankot terror attack]

Do you agree that talks with Pakistan should continue?

Yes I do. In fact talks should not stop at any cost.

What can India and Pakistan talk on?

Talks should focus on trade and commerce essentially. I think the other issues should be left out for the time being.

What about Kashmir and terrorism?

I am not saying we do not talk about these issues. These are important, but they should be dealt with separately. With Nawaz Sharif, the best way to address the Pakistan issue is talk trade and commerce.

How does talking on trade help?

We need to engage Pakistan financially. Once they start importing from India products which are vital to them, then they will protect the pipeline from the non-state actors. This is the only way to move forward.

Can Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif take a decision all by himself on this?

No he cannot. In any case whatever the relationship with India is, Sharif will have to take the army on board.

What about the Kashmir issue?

Yes what about it? What can you talk on Kashmir? Kashmiris have been fighting for a separate identity which Indians will not allow. It is a talk for the sake of talking and not for achieving anything. So many attempts have been made to study Kashmir and their suggestions are basically to empower the Kashmiris and hoping that once they are empowered they will merge with the Indian mainstream. I do not see a solution in the next 50 years.

How does India deal with Pakistan's non-state actors?

The non-state actors continue to engage against India for their own survival. When we engage with Pakistan on issues of trade, we also need to simultaneously talk with their army about these non-state actors.

Is an institutional form of dialogue the better approach?

Yes it is. The talks need to be continous and there has to be an institutional way of talking. Let the army talk to the counterparts in Pakistan. Let the commerce minister talk to their counterparts.

What do you think about Narendra Modi's Pakistan visit?

We need a leader who will go out of his way to make Pakistan feel that we want to talk and are not constrained by domestic politics. We did not have a leader until Modi who could do this.

His visit was a masterstroke and I hope that he does not cancel his visit to Pakistan come what may. Manmohan Singh was there for 10 years but he could not do it. He was not the kind of leader who could take path breaking initiatives on such issues.

What about our own internal security?

Let us strengthen our forces and intelligence. That should not be compromised in any case.

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