THERE is hardly anything to feel euphoric about the likelihood of an informal meeting between the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India on the sidelines of the SAARC summit at Thimphu (Bhutan), since New Delhi has given no indication that it has, after all, realised the urgency of resolving bilateral disputes. And, unless its mindset undergoes a radical change and it starts thinking that dragging the disputes on is harming not only Pakistan but also India, there is little justification for optimism. Nevertheless, while keeping our fingers crossed at the hint from an unnamed Indian source that a meeting might take place, and hoping that the ice is broken when it does take place and the way is paved for meaningful negotiations within the composite dialogue mechanism, we should have a look at the issues that have bedevilled relations between the two. Inevitably, lack of progress towards their solution has been casting a dark and lengthening shadow over the objective, shared also by the SAARC, to improve the lot of the teeming millions through social and economic development of the two countries and the region as a whole. Although India, the largest of eight SAARC nations, is at odds with almost every other member on one bilateral matter or the other, it is with Pakistan, the second largest and nuclear-armed as India, that it has disputes having far-reaching implications. Heading the list is Kashmir, that has lately given birth to a serious contention about the flow of water into Pakistan, and that is why it has all along been called the core issue. Indias forcible occupation of the state, later the shameless reneging on commitments it had made at the UN and to the people of Kashmir to give them the right to decide about their future, and when there was an indigenous uprising trying to subdue it brutally - the entire attitude is a negation of democratic pretensions of India and a slap on the face of those who call it the largest democracy as well as a crying call against the human rights violations of Kashmiris. Equally crucial to Pakistan is New Delhis insidious design to starve our thriving agriculture of water by diverting its normal flow, in blatant violation of the Indus Waters Treaty. Such existential threats can only aggravate enmity that could possibly explode into an open confrontation. The aggressive mindset has not allowed India put out of the way such minor issues as Sir Creek - several times billed as having been resolved in press reports - and Siachen. Unless India is ready to rethink the whole gambit of its relations with Pakistan and engage it in result-oriented talks to solve these problems, there is little point in our leaders desperately looking for an opportunity to have a word with their Indian counterparts or even shake hands with them.