New DELHI has been quick to set the record straight in its firm response to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks that he is no longer interested in a dialogue since ‘all the overtures made for peace and dialogue were taken for appeasement’. India’s Ambassador to the United States recalled past experience of how ‘every time we have taken an initiative toward peace, it has turned out badly for us’. Be it Kargil or Pathankot. Credible, irreversible and verifiable action against terrorism by Islamabad has been the non-negotiable Indian policy for initiation of talks. Not much has moved on the ground for any change of heart, a fact reinforced by the Asia Pacific Group of FATF, the global watchdog for terror financing and money laundering.
Pakistan has been under the FATF radar for its complicity with terror groups working against India. Already on the grey list for failure to curb funnelling of funds, it faces a further downgrade in October, which could deliver a body blow to its already struggling economy. Under immense pressure at home following diplomatic reverses and the global community’s reiteration that abrogation of Article 370 is India’s internal matter, Khan’s frustration is apparent in his undesirable comments. Accepting the reality would take some doing for Pakistan, given the huge political capital invested in Kashmir, but dialogue is the only way forward.
Plans to reduce regional tensions would most likely form the crux of Donald Trump’s meeting with PM Modi in France over the weekend, and the timing of Khan’s diatribe can be linked to it. Eager to initiate the exit of troops from Afghanistan before his re-election campaign kicks off, the US President has already opened another can of worms, saying India too, along with Pakistan, ought to be fighting Islamic extremist groups in the war-torn country. The challenges ahead for the subcontinent are immense. An established proponent of terrorism, Pakistan has often declared itself as its biggest victim too. Here’s an appeal to its better sense.
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