Former Defence Secretary retired Lt Gen Asif Yasin Malik called for 'open and extensive' debate within the country on its relations with India.

Addressing a seminar on 'Impasse in Pak-India ties –Implications for Regional Diplomacy and Strategic Stability', Malik cautioned that no radical shift in ties was expected, although there could be minor improvement caused by expediencies of the international environment.

For Pakistan, "bending is not an option; either forward or backwards. We bend and we get a kick," Malik, who retired as defence secretary in 2014, was quoted as saying by the Dawn today during the seminar organised by the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI).

He recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'belligerent' posture towards Pakistan during his election campaign and said India continued to play 'cat and mouse' in ties with Pakistan.

Malik listed a number of measures he expected the government to undertake — both internally and externally — in order to effectively deal with the challenge posed by India: de-linking Pak-Afghan ties from the Pak-India relationship, safeguarding the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), tackling political fissures over CPEC, pursuing water security more seriously, and appointing a full-time Foreign Minister.

Retired Lt Gen Naeem Lodhi, another former Defence Secretary, echoed Malik when he noted that there was no detente in sight.

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