As the Pakistan-India talks stalled yet again, no one is really surprised. After all, this was on the cards ever since Mr Modi took office. Diplomat level talks were called off by the Indian Foreign Ministry just days before they were scheduled to commence, after the Pakistani diplomat met with leaders of the Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir. Interestingly, this was not the first time the Pakistani leadership has met with the Hurriyat; it has become Pakistan’s standard practice to consult the Hurriyat stakeholder before any major talks with India. This fact is well known in India and accepted in previous talks. Calling off a fledgling peace process on the basis of imagined provocations betray the dubious intentions behind the public invitation to talk.

It’s said that a good compromise leaves both sides unhappy. Both sides will have to swallow some bitter pills and let go of some cherished beliefs for there to be a meaningful conclusion to the Kashmiri quagmire. Sticking to ones guns is not negotiation. Both will have to move past slights, provocations, internal dissent at home and self interest to genuinely seek a solution.

After what seemed like a promising start at the inauguration, Mr Modi drew first blood when he gave carefully constructed incendiary statements in the highly sensitive region of Kashmir, while addressing troops. Once the waters have been muddied, his defense minister toured the line of control (LOC) and there has been an upshot in ceasefire violations from both sides. Having ridden a wave of Hindu nationalism and anti-Pakistan rhetoric to office, it seems that Mr Modi is more interested in appeasing the hardliners back at home than promoting dialogue.

For a leader who promised to ‘talk to Pakistan in its own language’ softening his stance on Pakistan is impossible. With the world watching both sides will not back down from their demands. The only hope is that Modi’s rigid nationalism is not an impediment in back-channel talks, where his voters won’t be watching.