Pointing fingers at each other seems to be Pakistan and India’s favourite pastime, as the recent comments from both sides displays how little it takes for both countries to get riled up against each other. The specialty of politicians is supposed to be diplomacy, and yet we see shameful displays on the contrary from both countries with an alarming frequency. Political leaders in both countries have historically constructed this trend of hating the next door neighbors, and now both are reaping the consequences. Hawks are calling for war on both sides of the border, without realizing what the cost of this mindset has been so far.

The recent remark by Manmohan Singh about Pakistan’s inability to win any potential war against its neighbours has added fuel to the fire and has put a damper on the recent friendly overtures of Pakistan. As inflammatory as this statement is, he was asked a question in reference to the reported comments of Sharif regarding Kashmir and how this issue is the biggest obstacle in their relationship and one which could eventually lead to a fourth war. Since then, Sharif has vehemently denied that he made any such comment; however, it seems that the damage has been done. Conversely, given that ever since his confirmation as the Premier of the country, Sharif has been reiterating his commitment to improve ties with India, one should be inclined to believe him. Sartaj Aziz’s advice for India to remove its troops from Siachen in the interest of environmental protection is also rational, yet, once again, will undoubtedly be turned on its head by the hardliners on both sides. A wiser move would be to discuss terms of a bilateral withdrawal, because trust is something that is hard to come by in this relationship.

Rationality is becoming increasingly rare to come upon, and Hina Rabbani Khar is right in pointing out that the historical differences need to be swept under the carpet in order to move on and develop a healthy relationship. Too long have statesmen from both countries won the favour of the populace by spewing hate for the ‘enemy’ and pretending that only one side was to blame even though the evidence against this is clear to see. This boundary is only 66 years old, and it is important to understand that the differences created between the two nations are actually not as insurmountable as they have been depicted. We have the same background, and it is high time we worked together for mutual benefit. The path to war has been tried and tested, and the results were not satisfactory for any involved. The road less taken is the only real alternative, and this tradition of using the tu quoque (pot calling the kettle black) fallacy must end before things come to a head once more.