The Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Strategic Policy Planning Dr Moeed Yusuf did supremely well to clarify Pakistan’s stance on security, bilateral relations, terrorism and the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir (IIOK) on Tuesday. In an interview to an Indian TV channel, Dr Yusuf carefully laid the groundwork for possible discussions with the Indian state. But he did so by highlighting the current situation; India is an aggressor and Pakistan was the mature, peace-loving neighbour. Any discussions that were to take place would only be possible if the reality was accepted on both sides of the border.

But perhaps what was the most important part of this interview was taking India to task over terrorism. No government in the past has openly attached India’s name to specific attacks, such as the one in Army Public School in 2014. This has been the Indian strategy, one that has proven to be successful in their narrative against us. But the situation has changed quite a lot since August 2019.

At a time when India continues to carry out atrocities in IIOK, it was important to continue to refute the narrative of “an internal affair” and remind the Indian state of its responsibilities in light of UN resolutions. Piecemeal efforts such as releasing Mehbooba Mufti after a full year of detention will not work; why have other leaders not been released in any case? This is nothing but a failed strategy that will not convince the international community or the Kashmiris of a change of heart in the Modi government.

Dr Yusuf did well to attack the Indian state for its transgressions where necessary but left the door open for an olive branch to be offered when the situation was right. The narrative in the region is slowly shifting. Pakistan has done itself no favours in the past by not highlighting all we have lost and suffered in the fight against terrorism. This latest thrust will be of great benefit in the long run.