With victory over Pakistan in the World Cup semifinal at Mohali, India has given a potent reason to the people of the nation to celebrate it. It was unprecedented that people thronged to streets and fired crackers. Similarly, it was a wonderful event that Manmohan Singh invited Pakistani top leadership to watch cricket at Mohali, which was heartily accepted by Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani. This diplomatic move of Manmohan Singh deserves lavish praise. The thaw between the relations of two countries, developed owing to the terror attack in Mumbai, looks melted to some extent, but it will boost the tie when Pakistan drops cynicism towards India and shows warmthness what was seen in Gilani’s attitude during the Mohali mega event. The pre-planned Home Secretary level talks in Delhi ended on positive note before the meeting between the premiers of the two countries in Mohali, while it was perceived that the talk would be a mere formality. For long, there was a dialogue between the two nations, but the relation was not getting back to the track.

It is seen as an outcome of Manmohan-Gilani talk in Mohali that Pakistan gave its approval for special team visit to Pakistan to investigate the Mumbai terror attack in the Home Secretary level meet. In reply to the changing attitude in Pakistan, India too shared the investigation of Samjhauta Express blast, which could push the probe of the Mumbai terror attack and melt the thaw between the relations of two countries. But it is suspected that Pakistan will let the Indian investigative team grill the architects of the Mumbai terror attack. Home Minister P Chidambaram himself revealed this misgiving in a press meet. There was positive talks on several issues in the Home Secretary level talk. It was decided that a hotline would be set up between the Home Secretaries of the two countries along with approval for sharing the list of prisoners.

However, the people of both the nations have not perceived the effect of Manmohan-Gilani meet in Mohali, but the way both the team played in amicable manner will have positive impact. It is worth mentioning that tension was conspicuous by its absence during the match. It is more pertinent that skipper Shahid Afridi issued a statement when we play against India, why people harbour felling of hostility? When we watch Indian films and programmes, we do not have any feelings of animosity and hatredness?  “I do not think the matches with Indian need to be treated with sense of life and death,” Afridi said. Perhaps this is the result of changing ambience that Afridi struck such positive note. Pakistan will have to understand it that improving the relation with Indian will benefit them. Pakistan should have clear mind that India does not carry ill-feeling for them. Presently, Pakistan is facing serious internal challenges. The explosive situation of Pakistan is the cause of concern for Indian subcontinent. Pakistan should shy away from the reality that it is treated as the epicentre of global terrorism. As Pakistan is not able to face its internal challenges, it is but natural that India’s concern is going high. If the relation between the two nations is normalized and there is a joint effort to control over the fundamentalist forces, Pakistan will get more benefit than India. If there is a continuous exchange of intelligence between the two countries in order to control terror elements, the economies of India-Pakistan will directly be benefited. It is important that if leaders of both countries take a bold step to build confidence. Given by the volatile situation in Pakistan, it is a matter of grave concern that Pakistan is laced with nuclear weapon. According to an estimate, Pakistan has collected more nuclear weapons than India. The rush for nuclear weapons is not helpful for either country. It is only possible to check on nuclear weapons when the confidence between two countries builds upon.

The way Pakistan has come forward to improve the relation, it is expected that Pakistan will take a serious step to build confidence, but simultaneously there is a cloud of suspense that effort to boost the relation between the two countries does not get abortive. The reason behind this anxiety is the bitter experience of the past. After the Prime Minister’s bus journey to Lahore, the Kargil war had spoiled the relation between India and Pakistan. Despite being cheated by Pakistan, India invited Musharaf to Agra summit, but it did not work. Later, Indian Prime Minister visited Islamabad to participate in the SAARC summit. Pakistan made promises during the summit, which have not been kept to date. With a bid to improve relation with Pakistan, India needs to be alert because the Army has dominating role in the administrative system of Pakistan and feels threatened from India.

India cannot ignore that ISI, an intelligence agency under the control of the Pakistani Army, is involved in anti-India activities. They keep plotting to destabilize India. Creating turmoil in Kashmir is on top of their agenda. When a section of Pakistani Army is invariably trying not to improve the relation with India, the Indian leadership should be alert that the country is not deceived again by Pakistan at this juncture. It difficult to assume that Pakistan is committed to boost the relation with India, but it is certain that the Indian government, beleaguered with scams and scandals, has got some relief and Manmohan Singh, known for his suave and economic acumen, has succeeded to leave impression on the diplomatic front.       

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on April 3, 2010 translated by the English Editorial)