Compulsion to talk

Finally, India and Pakistan are talking again. Since India's sudden U-turn a few days back on its stand of 'no talks till Pak dismantled terror network directed against us from its soil', a debate is raging in India whether we should be talking at all to a neighbour who has cared the least about our proof of its direct involvement in terrorism. We again feel punched in our nose with the Pune terror strike a few days back. Well, many in India feel the German Bakery blast in Pune was a disruptive effort by the elements opposed to the Indo-Pak talks. But it can also mean Pakistan punching us once again to bring home the message 'that is how we initiate talks with weaklings'.

But talk we have to. Reasons are obvious - the Americans want us to talk to our rogue neighbour because they want that rogue to be kept in good humour for reasons internationally well known. President Obama soon after assuming office made his intentions clear that he wanted US out of Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible and he is desperately exploring all possible means to achieve that goal (even if that means supping with the devil). Ironically, today India needs US more than the US needs it. Pakistan is hell bent upon linking Kashmir to peace in Afghanistan. India knows it very well that the Americans can damage us gravely just by uttering a single word; Kashmir. Another area of concern is that there are legitimate aspirations India has on a permanent UNSC seat and entering the elite nuclear club for which the US help is very vital.

The just concluded London conference on Afghanistan has almost tacitly approved President Hamid Karzai's plan of striking a deal with the Taliban. Pakistan which has already decided to eliminate the Pakistani Taliban (the Afghan Taliban are not disturbed as Pakistan feels they might soon be ruling Afghanistan once again) is feeling much elated with the outcome of the London conference while India is already nervously feeling left out in the cold. With China upping its ante every now and then India rightly feels that the atmosphere around it is not entirely in its favour and in future things are going to take a turn for the worse. It is certainly not the time to annoy the United States by displeasing it on Indo-Pak matters. The US has to be obeyed even if that means eating a humble pie.