Indian Prime Minister Modi on a recent global jaunt threw caution to the diplomatic winds and made an unplanned stop at Lahore to have direct one-on-one talks with Pakistani PM, Nawaz Sharif. Opposition leader and cricket superstar Imran Khan was quick and right to point out that the meetings between the PMs must be through institutional frameworks with MFA in the loop for sustainability. If you set aside protocol for the moment, any effort to improve relations between the two countries is more than welcome. From that perspective, if trying something out of the box is what it takes so be it. Our PM cannot be faulted for trying something different.
Interestingly, most political parties in Pakistan welcomed the move. Unfortunately for Modi, the visit was followed by the terrorist attack in Pathankot. Not surprisingly, he flagged Mr. Sharif to take swift action. But no matter how peace-loving Nawaz Sharif might be, any attempt by India’s leadership to establish any kind of personal bond with him has its limitations when it comes to contributing towards long-term peace. The reality is that his hands are tied and any attempt by him to extend his authority beyond a certain point is sure to earn the wrath of the Pak army and the ISI. Sharif has already been down that treacherous road in the past when Musharraf booted him out of office. He runs the same risk every single day of his existence. The militants will continue to thrive as long as the army holds the upper hand.
To read the rest of this post, please visit the Economic Times website where it was first published.