Cacophony Drowns Out Pathankot
Such is the fear of straying off the standard India-Pakistan script, that how to respond to the other side with regard to the Pathankot terrorist attack probe has become bigger than the probe itself. This is a shame. The Pakistani media report has deemed the Pathankot attack as “stage-managed” after quoting an anonymous member of Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team (JIT). The JIT had been invited by India hoping that bringing Pakistani ‘state actors’ into the picture would improve ‘trust issues’ between the two countries. It turns out that the Pakistan publication has resulted in yanking back the India-Pakistan narrative to square one, forcing New Delhi to make a show of its outrage against the media report. It also shows that elements beholden to Rawalpindi still hold more in store in peddling the ‘anti-India’ narrative than engaging against the common threat of terrorism.
The Pakistani reaction gives grist to the mills of opposition voices in India who saw the Modi government ‘sell out’ to Islamabad as soon as the Pathankot JIT was invited. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, for one, sounds vindicated now as he slams the prime minister for having “bowed down before Pakistan”. The truth is that there is no other constructive option but to engage with Pakistan. And for that, the government should be ready to pour wax into its ears to block out all siren songs of political one-upmanship. To be seen doing its bit to make Pakistan come on board is important, if for nothing else than to make the global community judge for itself which party of the two is walking the extra mile.
Expectations, of course, need to be based firmly on realism — not on peacenik idealism or the anti-Pakistani attack dogmatism. Canny diplomacy is about chipping away. Even in the middle of a whole lot of hammering.