As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shook hands with his Indian counterpart and exchanged pleasantries during the inclusion of both countries into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Indian Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat continued the hostile tirade against Pakistan and claimed that the Indian army was perfectly capable of dealing with enemies on two and a half fronts. His meaning was missed by no one – China, Pakistan and non-state actors within the country and the organic movement in Kashmir were the subject of this latest display of unnecessary bravado.

Pakistan and India’s inclusion into the SCO ought to mean that the countries are likely to move closer, but if the BJP-led government’s stubborn stance is anything go by, even China and Russia’s diligent efforts to mediate between the two countries is not likely to yield any positive results. The reason for this is simple; India claims that the only way to resolve outstanding issues with Pakistan is through bilateral talks, and yet chooses to not engage even when Pakistan has provided it with every opportunity to do so.

Although the SCO is supposed to be a cooperative organisation of member states in many areas such as economics and defence to name a few, it is still unclear how the governments of both countries will learn to work together when every opportunity in the past has been squandered.

With Pakistan and India as members, the SCO now represents roughly half the world’s population, and stands to benefit the eight member nations in more ways than one. With increasing regional interconnectivity, this organisation just might become the next behemoth that the European Union once was. But for that, a cooperative partnership between Pakistan and India is essential. With this membership, it is hoped that the Modi government sees the bigger picture – its policy of diplomatic isolation against Pakistan has proven to be futile and its attempts to instigate a skirmish on the border through cross-border firing and pointless statements such as the one by General Rawat have not been entertained by us. It would be best if the Indian government starts treading the path of sense and looks towards reconciliation with Pakistan for immense mutual benefit.