Source: The Hitavada      Date: 25 Sep 2018 10:46:30

THE outburst of Pakistan Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan against India after cancellation of the proposed Foreign Minister-level talks on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly, is senseless. Instead of trying to understand how strong the provocation which terrorists provided to India was to call off the talks, Mr. Khan chose to call India ‘arrogant’. This approach of the inexperienced Prime Minister of Pakistan gave enough indications to India that dealing with him would not be an easy business. Mr. Imran Khan does not sound impulsive, but certainly gives an impression that he could fall prey to the temptation of cheap tactics. It is clear that India’s diplomacy will have to be moulded accordingly while dealing with Mr. Imran Khan’s Pakistan. 

Even a child in the street would know how correct India’s stance was in calling off the talks. Yet, Mr. Khan seems to have chosen to indulge in a gimmick of feigned innocence -- as if abduction, killing and mutilation of the bodies of three Indian policemen by terrorists, and publication of postal stamps highlighting the importance of Burhan Wani as a ‘freedom fighter’ are no provocations at all. This behaviour is nothing but plainly childish and irresponsible for a Prime Minister.

Mr. Khan did not stop at that. The following day, he indulged in a bravado that the world should not take Pakistan’s offer of friendship to India as a weakness, implying that Pakistan is very strong if it came to taking on India in a confrontation of any nature. This statement, too, indicates the new Prime Minister’s immaturity. Obviously, he does not have proper and matured advisors to qualify his expressions with wisdom and depth.

For India, this is going to be some challenge in the years to come. Looking back at the developments in Pakistan in the past few weeks, we can sense the truth in a general impression in India that Mr. Imran Khan is a stooge of Pakistani’s politically-driven military establishment. Initially, going by the face value of Mr. Khan’s statements at various points in time, we had tended to wonder if the ‘stooge’ allegation had substance. Today, however, we are constrained to have a serious rethink of our own in this regard. Perhaps, there is an informed substance in the allegation and that Mr. Imran Khan must be eating out of the Pakistani military’s hands.

This is, of course, unfortunate. For whenever this has happened, Pakistan tended to create more senseless and avoidable troubles against India. If this is going to be the one-sided fate of India-Pakistan ties in the next few years, then even gods would not be able to help in sorting out ticklish bilateral issues. For, when a Prime Minister is indulging in cheap tactics, then Pakistan is going to conduct its diplomacy in an immature manner.

Unfortunately, this has happened on more occasions than less in the past seventy-plus years since the formation of Pakistan. For the Indian leadership, engaging Pakistan has, therefore, remained always a frustrating experience. This is not just the Indian experience, but also of many other countries, including the United States of America, in the past seven decades. Pakistan has proved itself to be a cantankerous ‘other’ side and has often thrown tantrums when things were getting closer to sensible dialogue. The present outburst of Mr. Imran Khan, too, is of a similar variety, cantankerous and childish.

It is too early to predict how Mr. Imran Khan’s Pakistan is going to conduct itself in international relations. But suffice it to say at this stage that we are disappointed at his immaturity. Contrary to overall impression in India, we had hoped that under a ‘sportsperson’ who knows the rules of healthy accommodation of the other side, Pakistan would be a better neighbour. A huge question-mark has now cropped up in its place.