Irecently about CPEC but also about reviving the Iran-PakistanIndia pipeline now that Iran seems set to break free of its international isolation. Equally, outstanding disputes cannot be totally ignored if meaningful dialogue is to ensue. Pakistan, in return, should consider westward concessions to India - in its own interest given that CPEC's gains can't be optimised till this north-south axis connects to the east-west one. Incidentally, the Chinese understand this just as well and have been hinting at it in private conversations.
Second, despite all the differences and the grave mistrust on terrorism on both sides, they can't succeed without talking to each other.
No matter how either side argues their case at the track I or II levels, the discussion inevitably ends up being a blame game centred on the two sides not sharing enough intelligence and evidence. The two sides debate issues of political will, the definitions and roles of vested interests, the origins of particular attacks, the pace of legal trials, and all the rest but ultimately, you'll find them acknowledging that there isn't a future for countering terrorism if India and Pakistan keep going at it separately.
The discussion at Chaophraya focused not only on Mumbai, Gurdaspur, and Udhampur but also on the rise of the selfstyled 'Islamic State' in Afghanistan and its threat to Pakistan and India.
There was a consensus that unless IS is stopped, it will pose major challenges to our two countries. And equally, that IS may be the first 'truly common' terrorism threat (as the two sides perceived it) that ought to force India and Pakistan to collaborate in Afghanistan.
We ended up recommending a dialogue between the two countries' intelligence agencies to find ways to cooperate on IS even if they continue to contest each other in other spheres. Finally, security experts like me were forced to think beyond the here and now during conversations on climate change - specifically water.
The Chaophraya dialogue has set up a task force on the issue, one whose deliberations convinced me all over again that the challenges we talk about pale in comparison to the threat from nature.
The single biggest take-away from the presentations we heard was entirely unsurprising: there is noway for either side to survive the scare without cooperating, and cooperating for decades to come.
Our two-day interaction left me reconsidering the seeming capitulation of the Pakistani prime minister during the Sharif-Modi meeting at the recent Ufa summit.
Nawaz Sharif got bashed at home for having left out Kashmir and other disputes of importance to Pakistan. But as one participant suggested, could this be a price worth paying for getting back to dialogue, with a mutual understanding that it won't now be interrupted by any parallel attempts to isolate the weaker party? If this is the deal, it may well be worth it.