Kasuri asks India’s Modi to resume talks with Pakistan

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  • Ex-FM advises Indian leadership to give up attempts to isolate Pakistan

Former foreign affairs minister Khurshid Kasuri has asked India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resume dialogue with Pakistan as neither country has any other option.

He said this in his writing for the Force, India’s leading defence and security journal which is read by top civil and military leadership and strategic and diplomatic community. “Pakistan and India are approaching rough symmetry at three levels of competition: sub conventional, conventional and nuclear,” Kasuri quoted leading defence experts as saying.

Moreover, he asserted that he had already given details of the contours of the Kashmir settlement worked out between the two countries and which was a win-win for Kashmiris, Pakistanis and Indians. He advised that a meaningful dialogue between Pakistan and India was the way forward to break the present impasse.

He also advised the Indian prime minister to give up attempts to isolate Pakistan since that is not possible because of Pakistan’s geostrategic importance; its standing in the Muslim world; its nuclear status; its huge population base; its centrality to any possible solution to the Afghan problem; and with the world’s fifth or sixth largest, strong, disciplined and battle-hardened army, it just cannot be isolated.

Kasuri said that neither country has any option but peace since they had tried everything else including wars and near war situations but that neither country had succeeded in compelling the other to accept its position on Jammu Kashmir. He said that both the countries have huge standing armies, nuclear weapons, with miniaturisation at a fairly advanced stage, with an ever growing stockpile of fissile material, and sophisticated delivery systems, consisting of both ballistic and cruise missiles as well as advanced aircraft.

Furthermore, both the countries have a second strike capability which means that neither party could get away with a surprise nuclear attack since there was bound to be retaliation, inter-alia, by the submarines of the other. This, he said, ought to impose a degree of responsibility among war-mongers on both the sides and called for adopting a policy of restraint.

The former minister also quoted many experts who have reached similar conclusion and referred to three recent books, two of them written from an Indian perspective, ‘Not War, Not Peace?’ by George Perkovich and Toby Dalton and ‘Dragon on Our Doorstep’ by Pravin Sawhney and Ghazala Wahab. He also quoted another book, the China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics by Andrew Small in this regard.

He concluded by saying that leadership of both the countries owed it to their poverty-stricken masses to revive the peace process and said that it was shameful that 600 million people live below the poverty line in both the countries, whereas China has lifted the same number above that line.