KHALID IQBAL Another round of foreign secretary level talks between Pakistan and India is on the cards. To avoid replication of the previous fiasco, Pakistan needs to evolve a national consensus as to the agenda of the peace talks and convey it to the Indian administration. While remaining within the composite dialogue framework, we need to prioritise our list. Moreover, Indian involvement in the recent Lahore explosions should be squarely discussed and supported with available evidence. Otherwise, another purposeless round of talks should be avoided. By now, we clearly understand that the present Indian administration neither has control over its Pakistan policy, nor has the vision and will to regain the control. Since the Mumbai tragedy, Congress abdicated the prerogative of steering bilateral relations with Pakistan; the initiative now rests with political opportunists and ideological zealots. Realpolitik considerations of that time pushed the 'shaky Congress dispensation into an overly unrealistic and hence an untenable tough stance. Ever since, cues picked up by Indias ultra rightwing organisations are sufficient to tighten the noose around the incumbent government. Though there is a realisation within the Congress cadres that right from the outset, it was not a far-sighted stance to keep the entire spectrum of Pak-India relations hostage to a single event; and make Pakistan bashing an election wining instrument; its leadership however still finds itself thoroughly mired in a self-created slush of bigotry. Inviting our foreign secretary for a 'no talks session has once again exposed the inherent weakness in the Indian administrations Pakistan policy-making mechanism. Lack of consistency and succumbing to expediency clearly came out as the driving factors of Indias policy that appears to have only one constant underwriter, and that is domestic appeasement. The format of BJPs love-hate policy towards Pakistan is quite interesting. When in opposition it does not let the Congress move in the direction of rapprochement; however, while in government it takes substantive initiatives towards better relations with Pakistan. The Congress, on the other hand, creates frenzy for public consumption and then gets caught up by the absurd belief as if it were their actual Pakistan policy. The recent criticism of the Indian administration by BJP in Lok Sabha (Parliament) is indeed natural fallout of an illogically high pitch anti-Pakistan posture assumed by the present leadership, during its previous stint, for political encashment. In the same vein, the frequent U-turn(s) taken by the Indian government during its current term, in the context of resumption of composite dialogue with Pakistan, have seriously eroded its credibility. This pattern of blowing hot and cold is not sustainable indefinitely. If this contour continues, Pakistan may prefer to wait out the 'indecisive Indian government. The perception is that during this difficult period when Pakistan is busy handling the menace of extremism, India would like to fish in troubled waters rather than giving a strategic space by engaging it constructively. Proponents of this school of thought argue that as India has a chance of a lifetime against Pakistan, it does not want to miss it. While Pakistan is striving for the revival of dialogue, India is comprehensively involved in a wide spectrum of 'stabbing in the back kind of activities. Incontrovertible evidence of Indian involvement in Baluchistan and many other incidents of terrorism in various parts of Pakistan support the notion that currently India is on Pakistan squeezing spree. As the luck would have it, overall India is on the losing end. 'Brother Karzai has realised - though belated - that the key to perpetual peace in Afghanistan is with Pakistan, while the key to protracted turbulence in the region is with India. He appears to be correcting his course. Hopefully, he would demonstrate his sincerity of purpose and act swiftly to ensure a quick and significant roll back of Indian influence in Afghanistan. Expectantly his actions should soon speak for themselves, especially of not allowing Afghan soil as a spring board for subversive and disruptive activities in Pakistan. The latest report released by the US State Department on Human Rights, has brought to light the glaring human rights inadequacies in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK). Widespread incidents of extrajudicial murders, disappearances, torture and rape cases involving Indian military, paramilitary and police forces once again confirms that India is a practitioner of state terrorism as an instrument of policy, especially in Kashmir. Homegrown insurgency in Kashmir is being carried forth by the second generation with a remarkable resolve and resilience. However, the report only reconfirms the facts which have been a common knowledge in this region for the last 60 years. This report should serve as a wake-up call to bipartisan leadership of India that in this global village it is no longer possible to indulge into medieval era practices of oppression, and yet get away with it. It is indeed a close call for President Barack Obama who seems to have gone into hibernation with respect to his earlier promises, especially in the context of the Kashmir issue. It is time that appropriate sanctions are invoked against India and as a token of solidarity with the suffering people of IHK; further implementation on Agreement 123 should be held in abeyance till the resolution of the Kashmir issue in line with the UN resolutions, where India itself took the matter for settlement. Ever since, those resolutions are haunting India, and awaiting the collective conscience of the comity of nations to rise to the occasion. A history of weak bilateral conflict resolution indicates that if Pakistan and India are left to themselves, the chances of a settlement of Kashmir conflict are remote. Hence, there is a need for US supported UN initiative to handle this issue of a lingering human tragedy. Moreover, the Indian government is using water as a weapon to coerce its neighbours. Indias construction of dams which have drastically reduced flows downstream is a clear violation of the Indus Basin Waters Treaty; indeed it is an act of water terrorism. Through these illegally raised dams, India has significantly reduced the down flow of these rivers. This is causing a severe blow to Pakistans agrarian-based economy. These dams and reservoirs on Pakistani rivers are also poised to have serious environmental degradation. Through the construction of 60 dams on Indus, Jehlum and Chenab rivers, India could literally choke Pakistan economically by turning its fertile land into barren tracts. The gravity of the water issue has the potential of driving both India and Pakistan to the brink. However, during the Indian Indus Water Commissioners, Auranga Nathan, recent visit to Pakistan he seemed to be convinced that Pakistan was facing a serious water shortage. The commissioner made an encouraging statement by saying that there will be no wars between India and Pakistan on the water issue, adding that, the issue will be resolved through peaceful negotiations. Therefore, the Indian political leadership needs to carry forth the process immediately. It is undoubtedly in the interest of both India and Pakistan to resolve the water issue amicably through the conflict resolution mechanism provided in the treaty. Forthcoming round of secretary level talks has a platter full agenda of serious issues; most of these are haunting the two countries since independence. We need to get back to roots of diplomacy - that is talks During the recent 'no talks session in Delhi, Indian foreign secretary had acknowledged the usefulness of composite dialogue framework; it is time to re-embrace it. The writer is a retired air commodore, PAF. Email: