India-Pakistan relations do not move in a straight line. They zigzag from crisis to crisis.
In the interregnum the two countries either engage in negotiations or struggle to revive an interrupted dialogue. This is not something new. It has always been the case.
This pattern veils a strange paradox. Behind all the polemical exchanges the reserve of goodwill between the people of the two countries has continued to grow. This was manifest in abundance at Caux (Switzerland) on the sidelines of the Forum for Human Security last week.
Nearly 30 delegates from all walks of life — activists in their own way — from India and Pakistan got together to talk about various issues that have divided their two countries. This meeting was the brainchild of Rajmohan Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, that great apostle of non-violence…
Adopting the Chatham House rules — no one can be cited by name without his/her permission — the participants could speak freely. And voilà! What emerged was a wealth of information which is considered too sensitive to be shared at public forums. Hence the need to protect the anonymity of the speakers.
A number of issues were discussed — some with the idea of creating a better understanding of what is happening on the ground and others to unravel the knots that have made disputes between the two countries so intractable. Of course, the ubiquitous Kashmir dispute was brought up as were the water issue, terrorism in Fata, trade and extremism in India.