Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishnan has said that Indian and Pakistani friendship is inevitable, because of the international situation. He said this while inaugurating the Passport Office at Srinagar on Thursday. While Mr Krishnan thus came very near to admitting that India was seeking an improvement because of the international situation, not for the good of the fifth of humanity that the two countries contain, which might be why he did not identify the real reason for the fractured relations. And that is the Indian intransigence over the core issue of Kashmir. Mr Krishnan contented himself with the bare statement that Kashmir was a difficult problem. He tried to throw the blame on the opposition by saying that it was a difficult task to convince it of the changes made necessary by the international situation, but he did not explain what he was doing to end the Indian hold over Kashmir, and its refusal to obey the orders of the international community as expressed in the UN Security Council resolutions on the subject. The international community itself is no supine compliant of India’s, but has also been ignoring the widespread and routine violations of human rights it has committed there, while making a fuss about human rights violations in places where it wants to send in troops. The world must not put pressure on Pakistan and India to simply talk, so much as it must put pressure on India to comply with the UNSC resolutions which call for a UN-supervised plebiscite to enable the people in the Valley to determine whether they wish to join India or Pakistan.

Mr Krishnan should realise his responsibility as the man in charge of India’s foreign policy. His praise of Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, as bringing a message of greater cooperation from Pakistan, reflects credit on Pakistan’s government, but in Pakistan it is felt that little is being done to solve issues instead of simple traditional posturing .

India should change its position from one of obduracy to one of problem-solving. If Mr Krishnan’s words are anything more than just so much noise, India should engage with Pakistan in the problem-solving mode it has avoided so far.