India and Pakistan have no choice but to keep engaging themselves for a better neighbourhood, a leading Pakistani newspaper said on Tuesday.
“Where India seeks to engage Pakistan, Pakistan should engage with India, and forthrightly express its concerns about India’s actions and posturing,” the Dawn said in an editorial.
The comment followed a reported meeting in Bangkok between National Security Advisers General Nasser Janjua (retired) of Pakistan and Ajit Doval of India. Neither country has officially commented on the meeting.
The Dawn felt that Jammu and Kashmir was likely to have featured heavily in the talks.
“If the violence along the Line of Control (LoC) can be quelled and Pakistan and India take up unexpected confidence-building measures on the Kashmir issue, a window of opportunity for a wider dialogue may again open,” it said.
But it noted what it said was “the inconsistency of India’s policy towards Pakistan” — the Modi government at times aggressively maligning Pakistan and deploying anti-Pakistan rhetoric for domestic political purposes to occasionally permitting unexpected and somewhat positive gestures.
Asking rhetorically why the two countries were talking, the Dawn said: “There is simply no alternative; geographical and security realities mean that India and Pakistan will always have a number of reasons to speak to one another, no matter how hawkish a government there is in New Delhi.
“Foreign policy and national security cannot be totally subjugated to domestic politics.
“For Pakistan, the challenge remains the same: managing what is likely to remain a hostile relationship with India while reassessing a national security strategy for the long-term benefit of Pakistan itself.”
The daily warned Pakistan against allowing hostility emanating from India to distort the fight against militancy and extremism domestically.