Dialogue with Pakistan need not be hurried: Experts

New Delhi, July 16 (Calcutta Tube) The India-Pakistan talks and the subsequent targeting of each other in press conferences instead of building trust seem to have further vitiated the atmosphere, said experts Friday, with some feeling that the dialogue process does not need to be hurried.

‘There was no consistency in the way that Pakistan was speaking. After the foreign minister’s (Shah Mahmood Qureshi) remarks, India’s external affairs minister should have given a formal rebuttal,’ said Jawaharlal Nehru University’s professor of international relations, Savita Pande.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi, answering a question at the press conference Thursday on Lashkar-e-Taiba supremo Hafiz Saeed’s continuing hate speeches against India, said that Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai had also made accusations against Pakistan’s ISI.

‘Tell me to what extent that helped?’ Qureshi asked. He had even said that Krishna was on the same page with him. ‘We’re both of the opinion it was uncalled for,’ Qureshi added.

According to Pande, there was no need to rush into dialogue with Pakistan. ‘There should be dialogue, but at a time, when the desired results can be achieved. Dialogue for just dialogue’s sake is not worthwhile,’ she added.

Similarly, Major General Afsir Karim, a Pakistan watcher and strategic expert, said that there was no harm in talking to Pakistan. ‘Talking is very different from having a structured dialogue. In talks, you can be brutally frank,’ he said, adding that India will have to make clear that a structured dialogue can only follow a decrease in cross-border infiltration.

Karim noted that Qureshi’s outburst at the press conference Thursday was not surprising, as ‘he was catering to a domestic constituency’. He pointed out that the Pakistan foreign minister had been criticised in the past for ‘giving away a lot to India’.

‘India had refused (during the talks) to talk about resuming dialogue, Siachen or discussing Kashmir. Instead, it mentioned the Headley accusations. Pakistan did not have any tangible answers,’ he added.

There was also another opinion that the trigger for Qureshi’s comment, the home secretary’s remarks to a newspaper, were perhaps part of an Indian strategy on dealing with Pakistan.

‘Surely the home secretary would not say those things without getting it approved from higher ups,’ said Delhi-based think tank, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies’s P.R. Chari.

He opined that India felt that it will be the best way to put pressure on Pakistan.

In light of the current troubles in Kashmir, Chari said that India should have postponed the talks, saying the timing was not conducive. ‘The whole idea seemed to be to go through the motions, also ensure that nothing happens,’ he added.

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