A:     I don’t see why it is necessary for the Prime Minister to go. We can send the President instead. It’s SAARC! We’re really not going to miss out on anything, I assure you. A world without SAARC would be no different from a world with SAARC. It’s just a talk shop, and the conversation is hardly ever worth it.

S:     It is foolish to expect groundbreaking developments from such bodies. That is how they operate; slow, steady, bit by bit. SAARC, just like the European Union, is a multilateral forum, which allows different countries to sit together and deliberate. There are conflicting interests, varying concerns, all of which cannot be addressed as effectively and quickly as you’d prefer. Modi will be there, so Nawaz should be there too. We can’t afford to lose space on any international forum.

A:     But SAARC is no EU, is it? South Asian politics has been traditionally dominated by India and Pakistan. More SAARC summits have been cancelled than held. You are not even allowed to bring up bilateral issues at the summit. So, if we can’t even speak to Modi about Kashmir, what’s the point?

S:     SAARC is not EU, yes, but it might be one day. The EU of today, which you admire so much, has taken years to take the form it is in now. Modi is trying to follow that model: relaxed visa and trade policies, enhanced connectivity and free movement of goods. Now, we can either get on board or be isolated in the future. And I think we have understood by now that Kashmir will not be resolved head on. Maybe this is what we need to build trust and converge interests to put ourselves in a better position to deal with the Kashmir issue.

A:     Get on board? I’m pretty sure that Modi will ensure that Pakistan is isolated regardless of what position it may or may not take.

S:     I understand your distrust towards Modi, but try to be objective.

A:     Tell that to the Muslims of Gujarat.