The real cause of most problems between India and Pakistan is that neither understands the other, which leads to misunderstandings that further complicate issues, said former external affairs minister Salman Khurshid.
Participating in a ‘public conversation on a quest for peace’ with former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri at the Royal Over-Seas League here on Thursday evening, Khurshid said trade between the two countries could open up many opportunities for both countries.
“The problem is that both India and Pakistan do not understand each other. There needs to be a rediscovery of Pakistan by India and a rediscovery of India by Pakistan”, Khurshid said.
Kasuri, who spoke at length about his time in office during the presidentship of Pervez Musharraf, recounted a “framework” put forward by both governments to resolve key issues such as Jammu and Kashmir, but one that did not materialise for various reasons.
Khurshid, however, said he was not sure if there was a meeting of minds in India on the framework, since the BJP, according to him, had an “intransigent attitude” on key issues at the time.
Recalling his eventful recent visit to India to release his book, “Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove”, Kasuri said in passionate interventions that there was no other option for both countries to talk and resolve issues, and recalled that there were nine “war or near-war” occasions since 1947.
According to Kasuri, both countries had the ability to “destabilise each other”, and believed that Pakistan had an appropriate response based on tactical nuclear weapons to counter India’s so-called “cold start doctrine” that is supposed to target eight or nine Pakistan cities.
Khurshid alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a “confused” approach to Pakistan, and recalled the initiatives and setbacks faced since the NDA government came to power in 2014.