Indo-Pak relations: Back to normal

Published: May 13, 2011

By all means, India should ask Pakistan to properly investigate but it should use more tact.

After the recent brouhaha over cricket diplomacy, it looks like India-Pakistan relations have again slipped into their comfort zone of allegations and counter allegations.

Last month, as I saw Manmohan Singh and Yousaf Raza Gilani in Mohali, I was reminded of David Grey’s song “This year’s love had better last.” But then, in typical Ross and Rachel-esque fashion, statements by our diplomats have begun to resemble “We were on a break” and “No, we weren’t”.

The fact that Osama Bin Laden died only complicated matters. Soon after the news of Bin Laden’s death spread, Indian news channels went into overdrive. Predictably enough, Indian media contemplated conducting similar operations in Karachi to capture Dawood Ibrahim. The common explanation given was “if America could do it, so can we”. May be its just me, but it’s amazing that how insane levels of stupidity can pass off as ‘analysis’ these days. Firstly, even if India had the capability to conduct such an operation, the loss of secrecy due to the media coverage would render it ineffectual.

Secondly, it amazes me how India’s middle classes can be so dismissive about Pakistan. Surely, a country with a 5,00,000 strong army, a relatively advanced air force and most importantly, a sizeable nuclear arsenal is not going to make hay while Indian helicopters hover around Clifton and Defence. America still had the foreign aid card with which it could afford to carry out such an audacious operation. But what do we have? Diddly squat!

It really amazes me how we take the concept of war so lightly. Maybe it’s because the present yuppie generation has never seen a war. Sitting in their air conditioned houses, war seems more like an issue of testosterone rather than blood.

What the Indian media has forgotten in this whole fracas is that the operation to kill Osama was itself illegal and in violation of international laws. Not only did it undermine the territorial sovereignty of Pakistan, there was no trial against Osama. I could go on about the inconsistencies of America’s blundering foreign policy, but I shall leave that to the real experts like Noam Chomsky who had an excellent take on the whole issue.

Anyway, coming back to India, the media circus was soon followed by India’s foreign ministry when it sent the list of the alleged ‘50 Most Wanted’ criminals. The list included the predictable choices like Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Saeed, along with several officers of the Pakistani army. Now I am not absolving any of these gentlemen of their alleged crimes. Naturally they should be brought to justice. However, what irks me is the in-your-face crudity with which the demands were made. It seems that the list was not made with the intention of its stated objectives; it was rather an attempt to pre-empt the jingoists at their own game. The government probably wanted to allay fears that it was not a ‘soft state,’ and it was prepared to deal firmly with terrorism.

Real diplomacy is seldom carried out by making grand announcements; instead, it is a result of careful and secretive planning at the lower levels. By all means, India should ask Pakistan to properly investigate into this matter. But, it should use more tact. We should get out of our self-righteous shells and realise that our ‘Big Brother’ approach is generally not well received by any of our neighbours. It is our inconsistent approach which nullifies any goodwill that we might have earned due to the much hyped cricket diplomacy. The sooner we learn this, the better.


Amit Julka

A student from India currently pursuing his Masters in South Asian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He blogs at

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Fahad Raza

    Nobody would wants war of any kind, be it conventional or God forbid Nuclear. Any such attempt will start an uncontrollable chain reaction. Indian media will Of course try to defame/blame “Pakkistan” ANda (AYE ESS AYE) for TRP.
    Personally i think right now Indian Prime Minister is acting quite sensible. They do have some chicken hawks in their parliament and cabinet but their leader Manmohan Singh is quite clam. Mostly due to the fact who ever serves at the position of Top executive (Prime minister or President) level in government on both Pakistani and Indian side understands and realizes eventually that War between two nuclear Neighbors will leave nothing but cockroaches. Look at our Ex CEO/COAS/President/Army Cheif Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime minister A.B.Vajpayee. after 5+ years of their experience. Recommend

  • faraz

    From a strategic point of view, live Hafiz Saeed is better than a dead one. India can continuously humiliate Pakistan on international forums for providing refuge to a wanted terrorist. It provides a powerful argument to Indian diplomats, intellectuals and lobbyists. I hope the decision makers in Pakistan realize the studpidity of allowing Hafiz Saeed to appear in public rallies. Recommend

  • Majeed

    Who is Amit Jhulka?
    What is his expertise on the Pak-India relations,
    except that he like the readers of this thread are mostly South Asians.
    Is the only reason for the Tribune to publish his blog,
    because it is a happy relief for Pakistanis to see India’s establishment
    trounced by their own?
    Why not have a well considered serial blog by India’s own defense expert,
    viz. Chellaney or Nitin Pai?
    Would that be too gutsy for the Tribune … or would that rankle the
    ‘other’ Pakistani establishment? Recommend

  • Nobody

    Very well said, matches my sentiments almost exactly. I understand Indians wants the responsible party brought to justice, and they’re not totally off base in what they’re saying/asking, but the way they are doing so is in poor form and creating more bad blood between the two nations. Why tiptoe in the direction of a potential war between the two countries? That’s the last thing either country needs/wants right now (or ever, I would hope). Hope this matter can be resolved using a bit more tact, grace, and maturity! Recommend

  • Avi Dear

    Everybody has right to their opinion, but to their facts!

    India has given this list to Pakistan way back in March!

    Off course, the blogger and others have right to charge India with lack of tact, consistency and whatever else they feel like.Recommend

  • http://na deep

    Amit, I was also hoping that India’s response would have been nuanced. Saying that it is good Osama is dead but a country’s sovereign space should not have been violated. It should have been a joint operation. In another more non-aligned time, we would have probably made such a statement. Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    Does any one has to be an expert to blog about Pak-India relations?
    i think you just didn’t see the link which says:
    he is a student from India currently pursuing his Masters in South Asian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He blogs at
    Why on earth would we want and INDIAN defense expert to trash Pakistan in some RSS way?
    I think it would ranker readers of tribune blog who quite centered keeping an opinion on both righ and left. Recommend

  • amoghavarsha.ii

    authout should elaborate on ” tact “, rest is know to all from past 60years interaction with pakistan. If pakistan or india still did not know the rest, then both have useless officers.Recommend

  • maestro

    This article portrays the sentiments of every sane Pakistani. Whenever we hope for just one word of support from India, we get propaganda threats. Then you wonder why terrorists like LeT attack Mumbai? YOU give them reason to! If India had come out in full support of Pakistan after the OBL raid, like China, the UK and EU did, people would see you in a much different light. As for threat of conducting similar “surgical strikes” within Pakistan by India – India, and Pakistan, will pay a very very heavy price. Pakistan is a nuclear armed country with a very powerful army and air force, contrary to what people are depicting right now. There’s a lot more than meets the eye here. But do not think for a second a nation of 180 million is not capable of defending itself. Lets instead talk peace, trade, movies, music (which I know Indians love Pak rock), cricket. Welcome each other as even more than neighbors – as brothers who have been separated but that is reality so we should all let go of it and move on. Pakistan is now here to stay. Lets both move forwards together!Recommend

  • Malay Deb

    @Fahad Raza
    I am an Indian and I totally concurr with your views.
    Like the author I feel embarassed too, when I see some our politician/media persons
    dishing out such inane chest thumping, but trust me they are in minority.
    And even this minority say what the say is for their domestic clients/vote banks.Recommend

  • Pradeep

    Oh… So Mumbai fiasco was just a response to Indian posturing? There can be no excuse for Mumbai attacks. Period.Recommend

  • gp65

    1. YEs Pakistan is here to stay. No-one in India wants to combine the two countries. If that had been the intent in 1971 ay least an attempt to subsume Bangladesh would have been made (I am not saying it would succeed). But no such attempt was made

    There have been many instances where India did support Pakistan. These are conveniently forgotten but include the floods last year where India’s aid was rejected by Pakistan. Also when all Western nations had refused to play in Pakistan India (along with Sri Lanka) was willing to support Pakistan. India was goint play in 2009 Jan in Pak but that came to a stop due to Mumbai attacks. Sri Lanka’s support took a U-turn in Lahore 2009.
    Even where India has lived up to all its obligations (e.g. honouring Indus Water Treaty even through wars), Pakistani media maligns India. In 2009 when there was a huge drought in India (one of the biggest since 1973) of course the water that came to Pakistan also reduced. Pakistanis pounced on India and acused it of stealing water.

    I also fail to understand your justification of terrorism acts of LeT. Are you saying that if India does not say supporting words, that justifies terror? That is extremely strange logic.

  • abhinav

    your comments are funny.
    The OBL operation happened because Pak wouldn’t have captured OBL even if USA would have given exact coordinates. There are earlier instances when Pak saved OBL from US when information was shared with them.

    China is supporting (only in words) Pak for their own interest. Actually even Pakistan is not seriously opposing this operation. If Pakistan and China are really serious about Pak air space violation, why not Pak raise it in UN and China supports it in security council? Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    @Malay Deb: Thanks
    @abhinav: listen to Malay Deb Recommend

  • http://Delhi akash

    Who actually wanted the cricket diplomacy in first place… lets not forget mumbai. I am all for peace but how can you talk peace when the other party is pointing gun at you ??

    Pakistan is yet to come out of the 1971 debacle and romantics of kashmir which for Pakistan is but a religious issue.Recommend

  • Rana M

    Good comments from all of you buddies but we all are waiting for the momennts like this and see these for ever.
    It.s the time to maintain the chain of love.
    So keep praying from both sides.Recommend

  • http://delhi ghairatmand

    @Author – Very good article, and you certainly and subtly exposed Indian mentality. Not to justify the absurd tactic by our Indian media, the response by common Indians comes from the frustration. Comes from ignorance. we are ignorant to a point that we want to put every Pakistanis in same basket as terrorists and corrupt army / intelligence officials. I once asked my Pakistani hater friend why he hates Pakistan, for a moment he did not have an answer and then he said what I expected “maybe kargil, maybe mumbai, …..I dont know, I just hate them for being so blind and their attitude of covering up and defending the misdeeds of certain nuisance in their society”. Made me think maybe people on other side of border have the exact same feeling. So how do we fix this ? How do we settle this ? when people are so aggressive on their communal brotherhood how do you convince them to let go one of their brother who has committed crime ? Communal pride will take over and they will defend and possibly even attack the accuser just to protect one of their own. And this is true for both India and Pakistan. It is maybe hopeless to expect that this attitude will ever change. requires lot of mental strength and support from masses to do right thing. It is like asking the whole generation to change their thinking overnight, accept the wrong doings of themselves and of their own and accept the righteous punishment to assuage the decades of emotional,mental and physical hurting of its own people. Giving a list of criminals or media bashing or any tact will not work if there is lack of trust. And unfortunately and sadly the trust between two countries is not just low it just does not exist. I only wish India and Pakistan unites someday, we have much more in common.Recommend

  • Ashutosh

    What media do in India may be worst than that of Pakistan … or any one else say is alright .. we can not stop it as they are within their democratic right …
    However, whatever India dose can not be equated to nurturing of terror and providing safe heaven to the most wanted terrorists and criminals of the world …
    India ( or any other country) must proactively guard it boarders, strengthen its internal security and intelligence and try to marginalize terror to the extend possible …
    The world must unit to wipe out terror from the face of earth and take punitive action against those who harbor and nurture terror … no mercy there!Recommend

  • G. Din

    “I could go on about the inconsistencies of America’s blundering foreign policy, but I shall leave that to the real experts like Noam Chomsky who had an excellent take on the whole issue.”
    That one sentence said it all. Real experts like Chomsky? Now, that is a joke You are another of our own Chomskys, after Arundhati. You might have as well ended your blog right there, instead of ranting on and away! Nothing after that illumined!Recommend

  • Walter Gonsalves


    Yeah, we all saw how powerful your military is, when a bunch of terrorists infiltrated a high security area like PNS Mehran, blew up 2 sophisticated planes, killed scores of your so-called powerful military men and kept them at bay for over 16 hours! You may have the best equipment in the world but do you have the men to operate them? These equipment have come from America so you are at their mercy for their spares, accessories, etc. Going by the current US-Pakistani relations, I wont be surprised if they stop giving any military aid to Pakistan. What would you do in such a scenario? Threaten India with water-pistols???Recommend

  • Ahmer Ali

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.There is the one and only solution of normalization of India-Pakistan relations permanently and on priority basis and that is solution of Kashmir issue peacefully according the wishes of Kashmiri people and without claiming Disputed Kashmir as an integral part of India by Indian leadership.Recommend