Modi negates his own peace statement
IN a media interview, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that his government was undertaking efforts for peace with Pakistan. He also claimed that his country always wanted friendly ties with its neighbours and that there was no debate on that. In the first place, one must welcome statement of the Indian leader that his country wants to promote peace with Pakistan as this is the only option available for the two countries. There are, no doubt, issues and irritants but these can also be addressed through a sustained dialogue and it is through durable peace that the two neighbours can fulfil their agenda of fighting poverty and backwardness and concentrate on progress and prosperity of their people. If Modi means what he says, there is no reason the two countries would not engage into dialogue and resolve their problems for peace, security and stability of the region and a secure economic future of their people. This is because there is not only reciprocity but more enthusiasm on this side of the border to have normal relationship between the two countries. This is particularly so in the case of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who started offering goodwill gestures to India even before assumption of office and afterwards also demonstrated vision and passion for peace in the region. History bears testimony to the fact that he opted to exercise utmost restraint even in the face of extreme provocation from the other side both in terms of harsh and bullying statements and military posture. It is also unfortunate that while trying to establish his peace credentials, Prime Minister Modi also resorted to his favourite line of action – hurling threats – as he added in the same breath during the interview that his forces at the borders have ‘full freedom to answer back’ in whatever manner they have to. We wish Modi realizes that these shallow statements and outbursts are not helpful for the cause of peace and he will have to demonstrate sincerity by extending a genuine hand of friendship to Pakistan. The habit of bullying Pakistan and running away from dialogue must change and in that case New Delhi would not be disappointed by Islamabad.