Unconvincing. That is the expression that flashed across one’s mind as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made his reply to the debate on his joint statement with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
What citizens at large wanted to hear was how India would prevent the mention of Balochistan in the statement from being misused by Pakistan. There was no answer to that and the allaying of other concerns in his speech on Wednesday.
Instead, Singh argued that there was no other way except to talk with Pakistan. He said, “Let me say that in the affairs of two neighbours we should recall what president Reagan once said—trust, but verify. There is no other way unless we go to war.”
True, but what Singh left unsaid was that there is a vast space between those two poles: That of constant Pakistani needling of India and utter contempt for curbing terrorist activities directed against India. There is a trust deficit with Pakistan. Unless that is overcome, talks will be nothing but empty words.