Business Standard - - DEMOCRACY AT WORK -

Dawn: “Un­for­tu­nate and bizarre as the even­tual In­dian re­sponse to Pak­istan’s of­fer for di­a­logue has been, it re­mains true that talks are the only ra­tio­nal path that the two South Asian ri­vals can take. Prime Min­is­ter Modi’s BJP is the front run­ner in next year’s gen­eral elec­tion in In­dia, so it would be­hove the party and its lead­er­ship to demon­strate sen­si­ble lead­er­ship in­stead of en­gulf­ing South Asia in deeper un­cer­tainty and even fear.”

Ex­press Tri­bune: “The re­cent geo-strate­gic en­vi­ron­ment has also com­pli­cated their al­ready trou­bled re­la­tion­ship. With In­dia’s grow­ing tilt to­wards the US and Pak­istan’s close­ness with China, the trust deficit be­tween Is­lam­abad and New Delhi is also grow­ing. Ob­servers are scep­ti­cal if the two coun­tries will be able to re­sume full spec­trum of di­a­logue given the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in In­dia next year.”

The Na­tion: “Where is this ag­gres­sion com­ing

from and what does it mean? Maybe we should give a ben­e­fit of doubt to the BJP and as­sume that this rhetoric does not mean any­thing other than pop­ulist pre-elec­tion strat­egy. Un­like in Pak­istani pol­i­tics, where In­dian is­sues have never been a strong talk­ing point, in In­dia, bash­ing Pak­istan and fur­ther­ing anti-Pak­istan rhetoric has been a strat­egy that un­for­tu­nately wins votes. Per­haps the fact that In­dia ini­tially ac­cepted Pak­istan’s of­fer for a meet­ing in­di­cates that the Modi gov­ern­ment might not be com­pletely hos­tile to a con­cil­ia­tory ap­proach; it just does not deem it fea­si­ble a few months be­fore the elec­tions. The un­timely with­drawal of the ac­cep­tance of talks by the In­dian gov­ern­ment, which was right af­ter out­rage by the Congress party and other ri­vals, could mean that this was just a U-turn on a con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion. Per­haps In­dia is not so dif­fer­ent from us af­ter all.”

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