From Lahore surprise to Pathankot shock: Can talking cure manic-depressive India-Pakistan ties?

pathankot terror

Breakfast and lunch in Kabul, tea in Lahore, dinner in Delhi. And mourning in Pathankot! The gap between the dreamy idyll and the shock of reality is so stark in the perennially conflicted, convoluted India-Pakistan relations that it defies imagination. The more one thinks about, the more inescapable is the sense of mental defeat. Where does such cold-hearted savagery originate from? Who are these compulsive traffickers in terror, and their perverted mentors? But this is not the time for defeatism, morbid brooding and a thousand visions and revisions, which a moment will reverse.

Post Lahore, India’s Options

It’s time for decisive action and a coherent strategy to take on an implacable enemy which is deaf to the language of reconciliation and statesmanship.

More specifically, what are Prime Minister Modi’s options vis-à-vis Pakistan, especially after taking the audacious initiative to fly across to hug Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Lahore? Realistically and strategically, there should be no turning back after Lahore – having taken that bold gamble to revive engagement in such a dramatic headline-hogging manner, Mr Modi should not backtrack. The dialogue must continue, even in an atmosphere of terror, to defeat those who wilfully believe in the ideology of terror. After all, nothing on the ground had changed for the photo-op in Paris leading to the Modi-Sharif hug in Lahore, except a leap of faith, a flight of the imagination that has sadly come crashing against the designs of Pakistan’s deep state.


Calling off the planned talks between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan will serve no purpose, except giving in to those anti-people forces which do not want the two neighbours to come closer in a web of win-win opportunities. India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar must go to Islamabad with a clear-cut message that while India will persist with the revived dialogue process in the near term, even in the face of provocations, such terror attacks like the Pathankot siege, which are seen to be the handiwork of Pakistan’s military’s old client Jaish-e-Mohammed, can only denude the dialogue process of any meaning and content. Talking for the sake of talks is not going to bridge mutual suspicion and distrust, but only make such a dialogue process look anaemic and doomed. If this is what delinking dialogue from terror means, then it’s a pathetic state of affairs to be in!

Get Real


Looking ahead, India should be realistic in its expectations that for all the euphoria about PM Modi’s Lahore diplomacy and the spin about Pakistan’s powerful military establishment being on board, the retrograde forces across the border, which are conspiring against their own people, will be busy plotting against India. Pakistan’s Army Chief Raheel Sharif is known for his deep dislike of India, and he, for one, would like both Modi and Sharif to fail. For PM Modi, this is not the time to indulge in diplomatic kite-flying, but to focus hard on bolstering India’s counter-terror infrastructure and ensure that soldiers and innocents don’t die unsung amid misplaced hopes and euphoria.

Talking Cure: Will it work?

PM Modi may like to consult psychiatrists (not for his mental health!), but for the sake of India-Pakistan relations. The fact of the matter is that India-Pakistan relations have come to resemble a manic depressive, and even schizophrenic, patient. In case of mild behavioural disorders, counselling and talking cure may help, but dealing with full-blown schizophrenia or manic-depression requires chemical-altering medicines, and even electronic shocks. The Pathankot terror strike is probably the first in a series of shocks administered from the other side; India should shun such crude methods, but make sure that its shock therapy is more effective and costly for the sick patient to persist in its delusional tactics.

Author Profile

Manish Chand
Manish Chand
Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network ( and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.