The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified.

As expected, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has chosen not to answer Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demand that to resume dialogue with India, Pakistan must walk away from terror. Instead, he has picked the Kashmir rant again to blame India.

Nawaz Sharif is in Davos to attend the World Economic Forum. According to the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio Pakistan report, Sharif, while talking to the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said that Pakistan invited India for talks but India did not respond.

The report says that Nawaz Sharif said that resolution of all outstanding issues between Pakistan and India including the core issue of Kashmir is imperative for durable peace in South Asia. Exporting terror in Kashmir while continuing his double speak, Nawaz Sharif said that “peace in the region is in the best interest of the people of the region”.

While playing the victim Nawaz Sharif did not forget to polish his credentials by mentioning Indian violations of the Indus Water Treaty and that how India has been thwarting Pakistan’s sincere efforts ‘for durable peace in the region’, the foremost priority of his government. While he spoke of all outstanding issues including Kashmir, he did not mention terror and India’s only demand to resume dialogue with Pakistan.

While delivering the inaugural address of the 2nd Raisina Dialogue on January 17 in New Delhi, PM Modi said that if Pakistan wanted to resume dialogue with India, it must first renounce terrorism. Modi said, “Pakistan must walk away from terror if it wants to walk towards dialogue with India”.

While saying that a thriving well integrated neighbourhood was his dream, Modi said, “My vision for our neighbourhood puts premium on peaceful and harmonious ties with entire South Asia. That vision had led me to invite leaders of all SAARC nations, including Pakistan, for my swearing in. For this vision, I had also travelled to Lahore. But, India alone cannot walk the path of peace. It also has to be Pakistan’s journey to make. Pakistan must walk away from terror if it wants to walk towards dialogue with India.”

Prime Minister Modi’s unscheduled Lahore stopover in December 2015, while returning from Afghanistan, had left everyone stunned and his unilateral move to improve ties between the South Asian neighbours was appreciated globally.

This was his one of many initiatives to improve relations with a country that has behaved as India’s sworn enemy ever since its birth in 1947, beginning with Modi’s invitation to the South Asian leaders including Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony on May 26, 2014.

But Pakistan, continuing its tradition of backstabbing India, gave Pathankot airbase attack and declared Hizbul terrorist Burhan Wani a martyr and fuelled and supported the latest round of unrest in Kashmir.

Pakistan’s actions forced India to put forward the condition that the future India-Pakistan dialogue will be on the issue of terror only. Pakistan, the main sponsor of terrorism in India, obviously could not have accepted it and chose to escape, shielding behind its Kashmir rant. It said it would not go for dialogue with India until Kashmir is on the table.

Raisina Dialogue is organized jointly by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF). It is India’s geo-political conference and is aligned with India’s foreign policy priorities. Its second edition is being held in New Delhi from January 17 to 19. More than 250 global leaders from 65 nations are slated to speak at the conference which has ‘the New Normal -Multilateralism with Multi-Polarity’ as its theme this year.



Being the largest functional democracy, we the Indians are inadvertent stakeholders in the democratic affairs of our two neighbours, Pakistan and China, because an undemocratic dispensation is basically confrontational in nature and the situation worsens when there are contentious boundary and territory issues involved, like we have with Pakistan and China.

And without any hesitation, it can be said these two countries are blots on the spirit of democracy. One is an occasional pseudo-democracy while the other is a preserved sanctuary of autocracy.

Pakistan that was carved out of India in 1947 to appease the proponents of the ‘two nation’ theory has been run by military rulers most of its history. Pakistan’s origin saw one of the worst communal riots the humankind has ever seen.

The proposed motherland that was supposed to bring peace and closure from the alleged ‘big brother’ attitude of India was shattered very soon when the military coup followed the partition riots of 1947.

And peace remains elusive in Pakistan since then.

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Nawaz Sharif is finally coming to India. Being seen a masterstroke by Narendra Modi, the move is being discussed as a diplomatic coup for Pakistan.

There were obvious voices in India when the Indian Foreign Office sent invitation to the SAARC country heads, the regional block of eight South Asian nations.

But the voices of opposition were not criticising the decision the way political criticism on a serious (hostile) issue is delivered, except the invitation to Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, one of the two major talking points on the SAARC invitation exercise (apart from the routine stuff, like initiating the process to place the South Asian house in order).

On Sri Lanka, where Tamils are protesting the brutalities against the Sri Lankan Tamils and Jayalalitha, the TN CM, is boycotting the swearing-in, the reactions on Pakistan invitation were routine in India. Everyone knew it is a win-win situation for Mr. Modi irrespective of the ‘turnout’.

Now that Sharif is coming, Modi will be credited with taking a bold step to initiate the process of setting relations with Pakistan on a normalization course. If Sharif could not have made it, Modi was going to have an upper edge in putting Pakistan on the backfoot on international platforms (and Modi’s oratory is capable of achieving the objective).

Yes, but the way it created an issue out of nowhere in Pakistan, has made for the headlines, in Pakistan, in India and elsewhere keeping tab on India-Pakistan issue.

The whole Pakistan sounded to be gripped by the ‘stickiness’ of the issue as if nothing else was to be discussed. In spite of Nawaz Sahrif sounding positive to it, it took him some time before he could say the final ‘yes’, only after he could get the go-ahead from the universally powerful (in Pakistan obviously) Pakistan Army and its chief. Both beings ‘Sharifs’ didn’t help Mr. Nawaz Sharif.

The way Sharif’s trip to India to join Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony was opposed by the powerful personalities and institutions in Pakistan and the fact that in spite of all that, Mr. Sharif is coming to India, tell us Pakistan’s political establishment was forced to take this decision by the Modi’s deft move, silencing his critics in India and Indian fundamentalists expecting a hardline against Pakistan and opening a channel with Pakistan, a Muslim republic having history of being the sworn enemy of India.

The consequences could have been seriously paying for the Pakistani political establishment that survives on a leased life from the Pakistani Army. The pressure from the international community including from the US is a major contributor in sustaining the lease period.

Now, not responding to this invitation that can come out to be an ice-breaker in bringing India-Pak talks back on track (symbolically, perceivably), would certainly put Mr. Sharif in an awkward position in the international community.

And an edge to Mr. Modi over Mr. Sharif in the international community would certainly weaken position of Mr. Sharif in Pakistan where the built-up fanaticism against India has been main course of the political diatribe for decades.

Now that Mr. Sharif is coming to India, he has a chance to sound and act parallel to Mr. Modi with a bilateral meeting between the two leaders scheduled for May 27 and Mr. Sharif would be counting his cards to make his move(s).

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –