If politics is an art, diplomacy is half the skill. There is something to be said about regional Indian diplomacy ever since the BJP took over the reigns of the government this year. With an ever-assertive China, and an unstable Afghanistan, ironically, Pakistan could be the only real friend India has left in the region.

The PML(N) government has been rather open with extending a hand of friendship, and the relaxation of travel restrictions and trade between the two countries seemed to be on track before Modi decided to play big sulking bully. Could Pakistan have done anything differently (materially, of course)? We could have bowed our heads a little lower, been wary of meeting with the Hurriyat leaders, perhaps even gone as far as handing over Dawood Ibrahim who remains a great sore point between the two countries.

We could have done those things to show a bullish Indian side that our government meant business and was willing to go beyond photo op handshakes, gestures, international meetings and mango crates. But there is a lot of bad blood that accompanies this relationship, and to start with, diplomacy is the only tool we have to ease into bigger negotiations. We have active military standing by on our borders, frequent skirmishes, Kashmir, the water problem, the militant contention; and India’s aggressive insistence that the heart of these problems be sorted as quickly as possible from our side, without any diplomatic foreplay from their side, is foolhardy. It is myopic, unintelligent and a great fail for diplomacy.

Once again this weekend, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh accused Pakistani “state actors” of destabilising India, singling out Pakistan’s intelligence agency and blaming it for an attack on an army patrol in Indian held Kashmir earlier this week. Let us understand, that although these are issues that must be spoken about between the two countries, they are deeply sensitive and must take place keeping in mind the etiquettes of diplomacy and negotiation. This cannot be an open mic moment for Indian government officials to come crashing down on the Pakistan army and the ISI. It will do far more harm than good, especially to India, which is digging itself into a black, insular hole. It is singling out China and Pakistan repeatedly, at a time when it needs both the most, and on the back of such diplomatic strategies, there seems little hope for a healthy working relationship in the near future.