While India continues to step up its aggressive rhetoric towards Pakistan, the PML-N government seeks ways to actively pursue peace in this time of hostility. Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal has expressed hopes that there will be a better environment to pursue peace talks with India after the state assembly elections, as sadly, the electoral dynamics in India still revolve around Pakistan-bashing, instead of focusing on their internal issues. Whenever the electoral process in India commences, grand speeches about the mighty surgical strikes are made, the valour of the Indian forces is highlighted in the face of ‘Pakistani sponsored terrorism’ and false promises are made to deny Pakistan of its water. At least the lies garner voter support, and for politicians like Rajnath Singh and Modi himself, that is the only thing that truly matters.

The government has taken every opportunity to express our country’s desire for dialogue and Pakistan had actively pursued peace with Afghanistan and India because the development that will be ushered through CPEC depends on it. New Delhi needs to look at CPEC as an opportunity to enhance regional cooperation, and to expand its own trade and economic prospects, just like it does with other countries. When it comes to Pakistan, India would rather focus on spending money on arms and defence, knowing full well that Pakistan is only interested in long lasting peace. India has signed a number of ‘emergency’ arms deals worth 200 billion Indian Rupees (INR) over the past two or three months to ensure its armed forces’ preparedness for battle on short notice and also announced a 10 percent increase in the country’s defence budget for upcoming fiscal year.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during a rally said that a referendum must be conducted in Pakistan to check whether its citizens want to remain there or to merge with India, mocking the Kashmiri people’s struggle for self determination in a crass manner. The BJP leadership and its support base are completely divorced from the reality of politics in Pakistan and Kashmir. He went on to assert that Kashmir has always been with India and will continue to remain a part of it. While Mr. Singh can continue to blame Pakistan for the worsening of bilateral relations between the two countries, the fact that hundreds have died in Kashmir due to violence by Indian forces speaks for itself. Rajnath is safe in India, and can mock the men, women and children who have died fighting for their freedom and then brand them as terrorists- just like any dictatorial leader would to the people he wants to subjugate.