THE cosmetic nature of communications from Pakistan to India suggesting comprehensive talks to resolve all matters can be obvious even to a blind person. The letter from Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan to Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and the communication from Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi to Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar can be catergorised as efforts for the gallery and not for the specific purpose of resolution of mutual issues. Both the communications, thus, constitute a mere formality without any genuine desire to sort out matters. Obviously, Pakistan wants to show to the world that it is Islamabad that first extended a hand of cooperation once Mr. Modi settled for the second term as Prime Minister. Beyond this, there is no other purpose. India’s stand on all such issues has been clear:
There could be no meaningful talks unless Pakistan promises and implements the promise successfully to curb terrorism. Until Islamabad achieve that basic success, New Delhi cannot go ahead with any talks, no matter the two latest letters. When India did not invite Mr. Imran Khan for Mr. Modi’s swearing-in ceremony for the second term, it was actually a good enough a snub to Islamabad. Pakistan tried to play down the episode, all right.
Yet, it was obvious that Mr. Imran Khan was hurt for being excluded from the clutch of Asian leaders whom New Delhi invited for the historic oath to mark the beginning of the second term. After Pulwama, after Balakot, after successful diplomacy to have Masood Azhar proscribed by the United Nations, the world did not expect New delhi to demonstrate undue respect for Islamabad. To add fuel to fire, the Ministry of External Affairs has already made it clear that there is no possibility of a meeting between Mr. Modi and Mr. Imran Khan on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) due soon.
That suggestion -- of a possible meeting -- too had come from Pakistan, which India ruled out without fuss. The snubs reached the right place in Islamabad, which is indicated by the letters by Mr. Imran Khan and Mr. Qureshi. Islamabad now appears intent upon pushing the idea of talks with New Delhi for two possible reasons: One, it wants to show to the Pakistani people that it is making all efforts to bring India to to negotiation table; and two, it wants to show the world as well that it favours peace and is willing to open talks with India.
There have been enough reasons why India would not want to get engaged with Pakistan for futile talks. No matter his so-called friendly exterior, Mr. Imran Khan does come across as a Prime Minister in charge of things in Pakistan. Much to the contrary, he has only buttressed the universal opinion that he is no more than a stooge of the Army that still calls the shots in Pakistan, no matter the terrible consequences of such a management policy. In due course of time, there may be some official connect on issues between New Delhi and Islamabad on a piece-by-piece basis. But that will never mean to suggest comprehensive talks which Islamabad is now trying to push. For, India knows that Pakistan is a Rogue State in the neighbourhood.