|Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar|
It is not that no high hopes were held about the New Delhi talks that their inconsequential outcome has set off no despondency or dismay. The people here have got used to this familiar pattern of bilateral talks between India and Pakistan over these past decades. From their experience, they know that the interlocutors would emerge from the conference room either with smiling faces or with frowns on their brows, but the outcome would be the same. Over the period, they have witnessed talks even at the highest levels finally ending up the same way: a damp squib. Only a commentariat that latches on even to the most insignificant to burnish its talking skills gets enthused. Keep talking is their mantra, even if it means continue talking to infinity with no concrete result whatsoever coming by on any substantive issue outstanding between the two countries. Talking keeps the two countries at least at bay from tensions or a conflict is the commentariat’s mantra, even despite being proved wrong on this count again and again. Their dialogue is indeed the first casualty of any flare-up between the two. The hard facts are a living testimony of this truth. And if their tensions over the period have not gone wild, it is because of the dreadful weapon that both possess. Not even a loony would permit the tension flaring up to the point where a nuclear Armageddon is unleashed on the region.In any case, the keep-talking-battalion has something to crow about. The two top diplomats of the two countries have in their New Delhi decided to keep talking. And it should come as great consolation to the battalion that the have agreed to meet again, mark you, by the middle of next year, not the next century. But homilies, platitudes and pious vows that the people have heard now they have heard earlier too. The brew is the same; only the bottle is new. It was a “composite peace dialogue” then. Now it is a “full spectrum dialogue”. Over four rounds of the composite dialogue went by stillborn on substantive issues. The first round of full spectrum has culminated likewise. And take it from us, this will go on like this if a hard bitter truth is not contended with.Although our self-righteous mob of political pundits, commentators and analysts, which has transformed self-flagellation into a fine art, would have it believed that the obstruction to normality between the two countries is our security establishment, the boot fits squarely the leg of its Indian counterpart.