After a year of barefaced antagonism, India has conceded that engagement with Pakistan needs to continue, as if there were any prior efforts on India’s part to “engage” Pakistan in anything other than war last year. MJ Akbar, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs stated that Indians have to deal with Pakistan with eyes open, and not with closed minds, touting familiar tokens of ‘dialogue ensuring peace’. His colleague VK Singh amiably played the bad cop to Akbar’s good cop rhetoric, stressing that there would be no talks where there is terrorism, signalling that India had really not changed its rigid stance one iota.

After every hand that Pakistan has held out to India to engage it in peaceful dialogue, India has slapped it back. The attack in the base camp at Uri in India held Kashmir, India’s fake surgical strikes and the resultant tension along the border eradicated any progress at engagement. In the aftermath of the attacks Pakistan made repeated efforts to resolve standing issues. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif repeatedly stressed peace with India and the resolution of the Kashmir Issue in UNGA but was slammed by Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in an acid rejoinder that quashed any process of dialogues. Similarly, India’s continued violation of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) harbours the same disdain of dialogue, countering any effort at arbitration with threats of choking the water flow.

India also openly opposes the CPEC, displaying its growing alarm at Pak-China ties as well as Pakistan’s improving relationship with Russia. As the Russia-China-Pakistan trilateral talks work towards building a new axis in Afghanistan with Pakistan at the forefront, Modi went the extra mile to strengthen relations with the US, a move that culminated in the India-US-Afghanistan trilateral dialogue that seeks to isolate and counter Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan.

Dialogue is held out only to be granted as a favour and has itself become leverage for India over Pakistan. It is best that Pakistan becomes equally stoic. India’s half-hearted statement is only a scared reaction to Russia and China’s relations with Pakistan. It is all for show, and until a real meeting between India and Pakistani diplomats happens, we expect nothing from our neighbour.