Is Our Peace Dialogue With Pakistan An Exercise In Futility?


In a Group Discussion, soon after the examiner’s exit from the scene, the prevailing silence is broken. The candidates initially start asides or subdued conversation with their neighbours. Being seated in a closed circle as to watch others in the group without hindrance, some also indulge in cross talks. One or two candidates turn around to find out where the examiner has gone and whether he has returned. Soon the noise gathers momentum and several persons are seen talking at the same time. At this stage, No. 4 raises his voice sufficiently high to be heard by all in the group and speaks to the group as a whole.

No. 4 : Hey folks ! I must say this is rather an easy subject. In fact, there could be only one view so far as I am concerned. No question of opposition and bringing round others after arguments and convincing and what not. Hope you get my point. If you ask me, we can finish this topic in 10 minutes or so, and then relax. When we finish this topic and get going on our own, I wish they allow us to smoke and order some tea. It will be so well then.

No. 6 : No, Mr. 4,1 am afraid it is not going to be that easy. This is an important, extremely controversial and intensely burning topic of the day. It has been discussed in the Parliament, debated on the TV and radio and in the newspapers. Even foreign Press and public media are devoting a lot of time and space to this. I do not know whether you have been reading the newspapers and magazines. I read even the foreign journals. I say, in fact, I can talk for hours on this subject.

No. 4 : (Interrupting No. 6 a bit rudely) Now listen, you, No. 6. Before you go about talking any further, I want to make two things damn clear. (This sudden outburst and arguments between Nos. 4 and 6 mahe others in the group to put a stop to their asides, whispers, etc. The attention and interest of the group is centred on Nos. 4 and 6. They listen to No. 4 with some apprehension, and No. 4 in the meantime continues) First, No. 6, I warn you that I do not like being contradicted by anybody. I do not care who and what he or she is. That applies to you and also to all others present here. I want this to sink deep into your heads.

No. 6 : (Showing some nervousness at this threat and rude talk from No. 4 and seeming somewhat apologetic) Look, all I said was…


  1. he more you say, the less people remember. Be brief and gain a lot.

No. 4 : (Again rudely shutting off No. 6 by sudden interruption) I already told you once not to interrupt me. Now you are just doing that. Do not repeat the mistake again, or you will feel damn sorry for yourself. Next time, I will use such language and back it up with telling action that you sure are not going to like it, buddy (No. 6 looks around in a helpless manner. No. 5 sitting as his neighbour wedged between Nos. 4 and 6, gently pats on the arms of No. 6 to reassure him without, however, saying or doing anything openly to attract the attention of No. 4. In the meantime, noticing that No. 6 has beaten a retreat, No. 4 proceeds to address the group further.) The second thing you said was that I do not read the newspapers and books. This I regard as a great and most damaging insult. I demand an instant public apology. For your information, we get a dozen dailies in our house and may be 100 journals a month. My only problem is to find the time to read them. One can damn well say that there is a library and reading room in our house. (He glares at No. 6)

No. 6 : (Rather uneasy at the hostile attitude of No. 4, attempts to get up as though to tender the apology demanded by No. 4. But No. 5 stops him by pulling his arm with a slight pressure and indicating to him that he should remain silent. Next, No. 5 himself proceeds to intervene.)

No. 5 : Well, No. 4 and friends, please permit me to say a few words at this juncture. (Others seem to watch the new development with more interest. Thy seem to wonder what No. 5 would say, and how No. 4 would react further.)

No. 4 : What do you want ?

No. 5 : (With a smile) You see my friends, I am in the unenviable position of being sandwiched between Nos. 4 and 6. Although they may not mean it, if they decide to have a showdown and fist fight, it is I who would get hurt the most. (He laughs. His humorous speech and tacful intervention remove the tension in the group. Others are also encouraged to participate. In the meantime, No. 5 continued) First of
all, I want to request the two friends sitting on my left and right to spare me from this ordeal. (He laughs further good- humouredly and the group joins him. The tension is now completely defused, and all are at ease. Only No. 6 still remains a bit apprehensive.)

No. 1 : (At this stage No. 1 comesforward to make some remarks.) Thank you, No. 5. I suppose you are right. We were rather worried that an unpleasant fight might break out between your two neighbours. Now you have broken the ice and calmed down the entire atmosphere. The war clouds have vanished and sunshine is on; to put it poetically. Since the time is running short, why do you not go ahead with the discussion and give us your views on the subject ?

No. 4 : That is exactly what I intended to do when this fellow, I mean Shrimanji No. 6 butted in.

No. 5 : Well, No. 4. You will agree that we are here as friends. My submission is that we do not bear or show any ill feelings towards one another. You should not say anything personal. In this Group Discussion, each member of the group has complete and total freedom to express his views and ideas for what they are worth. Everyone has the right to agree or disagree with such views. My request is that we all conduct ourselves as friends. Suppose I were to disagree with your arguments, it does not mean that I am insuhing you personally. Among friends, there is no question of apologies and regrets. I am sure we are all agreed on that.

No. 1: Of course, yes No. 5.1 second you in toto. We cannot talk freely and exchange our ideas meaningfully if we feel hurt by opposition, disagreement or criticism. (Turning to others in the group) What do you all have to say?

Nos. 2, 8 and 7 : Yes, yes, please. We agree.

Comments : We saw that No. 4 showed ambition and enterprise to shoulder responsibility. He addressed the group as a whole, and also got a hearing. But he was found lacking in ideas and the ability to carry others with him. He was over-assertive and made sweeping statements. No. 6, who obviously has some ideas on the subject, expressed views contrary to those put forward by No. 4. This annoyed No. 4 who did not relish contradictions and criticism. He, therefore, became boorish and violent, and went after the blood of No. 6. The

Hp, except No. 5 seemed Ntever, No. 5 came Np courage and \ deal of tact, He avoided any 4, but tackled the on and resourcefulness. „ the natural leader and e group. As for No. 6, the a has unnerved him. Though cere, he proves to he an impulsive . was on the verge of tendering a public gy to No. 4, but thanks to No. 5, the Ueal was avoided. No. 1 also came forward to coordinate and promote the group activity. He gave excellent support to No. 5 and mobilised the group opinion in his favour. Thus, we see the group leadership alternating among different candidates according to the part they choose to play at any given time.

No. 5 : Thank you, No. 1. However, since No. 4 has the ball rolling, he might like to be the opening speaker. Then, if you all agree we can go anti­clockwise to complete the round. That is after No. 4, Nos. 3, 2, 1, 8, .7, 6 and 5 can speak in that order. I would suggest that we take about three minutes each during the first round.

No. 1 : Excuse me. One minute, please. I entirely agree with all that you have said. But just one correction. Instead of speaking for three minutes, it may be better to limit it to two minutes only. Then we will have more time to react to the views expressed by others. I mean we can have a second round for a post-mortem. Another point I wish to add. That is, when one candidate is on his feet and speaking, he is not to be interrupted. Otherwise, there would be delays and diversions.

No. 5 : Well said and thank you, No. 1. You are perfecdy right. Your amendment is accepted. Now No. 4. Please go ahead.

No. 4:1 do not want to speak first. No. 1 has already asked you to open the discussion. If you do not want to talk, I suppose No. 1 can perform the opening ceremony.

No. 5 : What do you say. No. 1? Being No. 1, it might be appropriate for you to be the opening speaker.

No. 1 : (Smiling) Thanks for the honour conferred on me. I am ready to obey the orders of the group. However, if there are other volunteers, it is only fair that their claims should be respected. Perhaps, No. 6 would like to volunteer.

No. 6 : No, no, thanks please. (He does not as yet seem to have got over the jolt he received at the hands of No. 4).

No. 5 : I see there are no volunteers. You may get going, No. 1.

No. 1 : Well No. 5, would you mind if we proceed in a clockwise manner? You see, No. 8 is not keen to be the second speaker. Hej^ants to speak last.

* J.*he unplanned sudden visit of PM Mr. Narendra Modi to Lahore on his way back from Kabul stunned everybody, because hitherto his approach to Pakistan had not given the impression of friendship.

No. 5 : Oh, yes. It hardly makes any difference. We proceed clockwise, and we will speak now in the order of our roll numbers. (He smiles) By the way, if one does not want to speak when his turn comes, he is at liberty to forgo his chance. He can speak later. As I explained, this is only a friendly chit chat. Now, No. 1 kindly speak on.

Comments : We find No. 5 to be very sporting and making special efforts to win the full cooperation and support of No. 4 for further harmonious group deliberations. He offers the opportunity of being the opening speaker to No. 4. But No. 4 spurns the offer and wastes the opportunity. Perhaps his ideas are shallow, or he hasn’t any. AsforNo. 1, he readily accepts the opportunity. But, in his turn, he also wants to give encouragement to No. 6 who is yet to come out of the shell into which he was driven by No.

  1. We find Nos. 5 and 1 giving precedence to group interests over their own. No. 1 asks for volunteers and No. 5 backs up the call. We notice team pint and selflessness on their part. Another point to note is the porting and cooperative way in which No. 5 accepts criticism and amendments to his original proposals from No. 1. The approach of both is constructive and positive. Both have emerged as dynamic leaders and others turn to them for leadership. At this stage, No. 8 who so far remained a mere onlooker, was given the opportunity to be the second peaker. But he purns it. He does not want to accept even this reponsibility. He opts to be the last peaker. It dppears that he is content to remain a follower throughout.

No. 1 : Our subject for discussion is “Is Our Peace Dialogue With Pakistan An Exercise In Futility”. It implies that Pakistan cannot stick to its promises that it makes during dialogue. Our attempt at establishing peace between the two countries has not yielded any positive result so far. It has only offered Pakistan an opportunity to hatch conspiracy against us and do everything possible to destabilise India.

The unplanned sudden visit of PM Mr. Narendra Modi to Lahore on his way back from Kabul stunned everybody, because hitherto his approach to Pakistan had not given the impression of friendship. On December 25, 2015 he not only met Pakistan PM Mr. Nawaz Sharif but also his mother who hails from the Indian side of Punjab and wished Mr. Sharif on his birthday.


No doubt, any effort to make the relations between India and Pakistar smooth, iron out their mutual difference? over numerous contentious issues anc facilitate opportunities for them to come close with an inherent spirit o: cooperation, depends on the manifestation of a sane and positive attitude on the par of the political leadership of Pakistan. Anc unless Pakistan sheds its conventions- policy of India-bashing, refrains from hobnobbing with militant outfits o: conniving at their criminal assaults in the Kashmir valley or somewhere else, it i? impossible to attain the goal of peaceful bilateral relations between the twe countries. But Pakistan is still as obstinate and unrelenting as ever in the past to acknowledge the efficacy of peaceful relations with India. One blatant instance of its unreasonably hostile and reactionary, stand in this regard had come to ligh: following the ghastly serial bomb blast; that had thrown into complete disarray the life in the country’s financial capita Mumbai in July 2006, killing over 20C innocent people. The outcome o: investigations into the brutal mayhem unequivocally suggested that the terrorists who masterminded the tragedy had the backing of Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI. When the Indian authorities raised the issue, their Pakistani counterparts not only denied terrorist outfits like LeT hideously launching their anti-India operations from Pakistan, but brazenly demanded proof from India before making any allegation. Again in November 2008, ten terrorists killed over 173 anc wounded more than 310 people in Mumbai. All the terrorists except one were killed in encounters. The sole surviving gunman Ajmal Kasab was captured and he turned out to be a Pakistani national. This fact was at first not accepted by the Pakistani leaders, but they had to admit Ajmal ^Casab a Pakistani after India gave unrefutable evidence. In May 2010, he was convicted by an Indian court on four counts of murder, waging war against India, conspiracy and terrorism offences and the court sentenced him to death.

I fail to understand the vague logic of our political leaders right from Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru to Dr. Manmohan Singh or Mr. Narendra Modi who have time and again demonstrated peace postures even in the face of Pakistan’s unabated onslaughts on this country either through direct wars or through proxy war unleashed in J&K and elsewhere through cross-border terrorism. The negative way Pakistan Government has responded to our Government’s well-meaning gestures and measures to bolster friendly ties and has adhered to its typical antagonistic position in the wake of Mumbai blasts and attacks disregarding their dangerous
fallouts make. I personally believe that any peace dialogue with Pakistan will be an exercise in futility. Given the fact that Pakistan has tacit support of China, it will hardly respect any friendly gesture by our leaders in the future also.

Comments : No. 1 has fair ideas on the subject and, as the opening speaker, he has given a good introduction on the subject. He is able to decide on his priorities. His power of expression is good, and he has been succesfiul in creating a fairly strong and receptive impact on the group. He is ready to take risks and accept responsibility once the lead is given and the example is set by a stronger leader. He is regarded as one who can respond to training. Selected.

No. 2 : Gentlemen, as Pakistan is presendy not under a military ruler, the time is opportune to cement our bilateral relations with Pakistan by continuously pursuing the policy of constant dialogues on all fronts and embarking on initiatives for peace through measures such as people-to-people contact through evolving new channels of transport and telecom connectivity as well as other CBMs (Confidence Building Measures). One commendable effort to connect the peoples of the two countries was the launching of the bus service between Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir and Rawalakot town in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on June 20, 2006. While flagging off the first bus to Rawalakot, Congress President Ms. Sonia Gandhi apdy commented that the two countries could improve in all aspects only through peaceful existence.

No doubt, there are quite a few issues over which they have serious differences. Also, there are enemies of peace surreptitiously trying to make holes in the ongoing efforts for smoothening their relations, through disruptive activities across the border. The more such elements are allowed to occupy the centre stage, the more likely are the countries to be pushed to the brink of a destructive war, which nobody except a bunch of fanatics and sadists want. ‘Another Kargil war’ is an idea, which no sane mind would enjoy.

The July 11, 2006 Mumbai blasts and later on, November 26, 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai dealt a severe blow to the increasingly improving relations between the two countries. The condition particularly worsened after 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008. However, it must be kept in mind that the terror network, which has spread across different parts of our country, including all major cities, can be destroyed promptly with the support of Pakistan. We cannot afford to keep putting blame on each other’s head for our national tragedies. Besides, we cannot ignore the fact that, in some

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