ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Belligerent Nationalism

New Delhi is bent on changing the rules of its diplomatic and military engagement with Islamabad.

As the death count of civilian and military casualties gets higher, a truce along the Line of Control between the Indian- and the Pakistani-held territories of Kashmir has increasingly become the need of the hour. Much to its credit, it was Pakistan that took the initiative to get the ball rolling, when Sartaz Aziz, its de facto foreign minister, indicated that his government was ready to resume high-level comprehensive and unconditional talks with the Indian government, including about Indian allegations of terrorism from across the border in Pakistan. Aziz suggested that a beginning could be made on the sidelines of the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the “Heart of Asia—Istanbul Process” on Afghanistan, a meeting involving that country and its neighbours and regional partners, chaired by India and held at Amritsar on 3–4 December. The occasion was a golden opportunity for New Delhi to diffuse the diplomatic and military hostilities that seem to be getting out of hand over the past few weeks, but instead it chose to rebuff Islamabad.

Indeed, New Delhi even went to the extent of using the “Heart of Asia” conference to advance its campaign to diplomatically isolate Islamabad. Of course, Aziz did briefly meet his counterpart, Arun Jaitley, who was standing in for Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is unwell, and India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval. Aziz reportedly had a longer meeting with Doval, but India’s Ministry of External Affairs denied that this was a bilateral meeting. Indeed, Aziz seems to have been snubbed.

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