After Pathankot, Pakistan has taken the right first steps. India has nothing to gain from not talking.
- New Delhi must beware the trap of linking future diplomatic engagement with the fate of the Pathankot investigation in Pakistan.
- This would, for one, give forces in Pakistan’s military establishment who are hostile to normalisation a perverse incentive to derail action against their jihadist clients.
- Secondly, military retaliation against terrorism will impose asymmetric impacts on India’s growing economy.
- Finally, disengagement shuts the door on long-term gains.
- Even if India realises no security gains from dialogue with Pakistan, there are none to be had from not talking, either.
- Dialogue, though, opens up possibilities for incremental gains on business, resource management and cultural contacts.
- It thus strengthens those sections of Pakistani society with interests in peace, like the business community and civil society.
- India’s interests are best served by cold-blooded defence of its strategic interests — not the seductive heat of righteous rage.