islamabad - Senior academicians and former defense officials do not anticipate a radical shift in India-Pakistan bilateral relations and have cautioned the government in its reach out to the neighbour.

Speaking at a seminar on ‘India-Pakistan Impasse and Implications for Regional Diplomacy and Regional Stability’ organised by the Strategic Vision Institute, a think tank that specialises in security and strategic stability issues, on the occasion of its third anniversary yesterday, the speakers further underscored the need for a more robust foreign policy to deal with the challenges particularly in the neighbourhood.

The National Security Adviser Lt Gen. (Retd) Nasser Khan Janjua presided over the seminar. Former defense secretary Lt Gen. (Retd) Asif Yasin Malik in his key note address said the two countries always had a roller coaster relationship. He does not foresee any major change in the character of this relation.

Gen Malik warned that India was “playing cat and mouse” in ties with Pakistan. He recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an electoral speech before coming to office had vowed to make Pakistan irrelevant both in the regional and global context. To Modi’s shock, he noted, the vision could not be materialised.

He also criticised the country’s Foreign Ministry for lacking dynamism and urge d the government to appoint a full time foreign minister and launch a strong diplomatic campaign to protect national interests.

“Bending is not an option. … We bend and we get a kick,” he said.

Another former defense secretary Lt Gen. (Retd) Naeem Lodhi said India and Pakistan are caught in a historical bind with no future détente in sight. “It seems that one and half billion people of the region are doomed to live in eternal adversarial environment.

The salvage is only possible, if by chance visionary leadership assumes command of both the countries at a time and rather than past accusations resolve their issues with open and fresh minds,” he said. Gen Lodhi said third party mediation was the only way forward. 

Senior academician Prof Zafar Nawaz Jaspal said: “Islamabad shouldn’t be trapped in New Delhi’s bait and bloodletting strategy.”  

President SVI Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema observed that Indian designs of hegemony and dominance were bigger obstacles in the way of establishing good neighbourly ties.

Secretary Defense Production Lt Gen (Retd) Syed Muhammad Owais, who has remained associated with SVI as member board of governors, spoke about the three years of SVI and its future direction.“SVI is planned to be a key building block in the development of national strategic vision essential for skillful and innovative policy-planning. SVI would advance the strategic expertise and proficiency in decision-making and policy formulation process,” he said.

SVI, he said, stood for prudence in dealing with national and international issues.

On this occasion, Gen Owais launched SVI’s bi-annual publication the ‘Journal of Security and Strategic Analyses (JSSA)’. The publication would focus on contemporary issues of security and strategic studies with a multi-disciplinary perspective.