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Continued Cacophony of our song with Pakistan
The latest terrorist attack on Uri in Jammu & Kashmir has once again raised questions on how to deal with a troublesome neighbor like Pakistan. Also it has bought into focus the ruling government incoherent policy towards Pakistan. In its desire for quick visible returns, the government has displayed a lack of nuanced skill and understanding in the art of diplomacy and the costs of undertaking a war. From a year-long military standoff at Jammu international border, to quiet parleys between the NSAs of two countries, to the Prime Minister s surprise visit to Lahore in Pakistan, the government s engagement with Pakistan has been moving like crest and trough of waves. The tactful political management in the aftermath of Pathankot terror attack had succeeded in not damaging the relationship. The main reason why Uri attack mauled our relationship with Pakistan was that it came in backdrop of ongoing crisis in Kashmir. Of course the Pakistan s not so diplomatic support to hostile elements in Kashmir aided the cause. And the government lapped it up to divert attention from Kashmir which was proving to be awkward for it. The fact remains, however, that Pakistan is an unreliable neighbor continuously reneging on its bilateral promises and India does not have any innovative diplomatic policy to deal with Pakistan. Amidst the relentless clamor for a hard military response to Pakistan, the well-thought view within the Indian strategic community and retired military commanders is that coercion may not be the best feasible option. There are unacceptable costs of waging and winning the war with Pakistan which needs to be taken into consideration. We need to look at the big picture. India is a fast developing country with global ambitions and Pakistan is a small irritant in these big schemes of things. The Prime Minister s recent speech at Kozhikode de-emphasized military response and instead sought to reach out to people in Pakistan to fight a war on unemployment, poverty and illiteracy first. That is a good beginning indeed.

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