In an interview with Daily Telegraph, Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif spoke for friendly ties with India while rightly emphasizing that measures like cutting down defence spending should not be one-sided.

His categorical clarification that now the army and the political government are on one page is a sign to circles reluctant to normalisation of ties, that they are going to be out of tune with the new policy.

The shift towards peaceful relations is a happy departure from the ‘threat perception’ harboured by most of the previous regimes who believed they could mould or orient in whichever way Pakistan’s national security narrative by invoking the danger from across the eastern border.

Achievement of the goal, however, is not as easy as it looks. With Mian Nawaz making a break from that outdated strategy, we have of late seen some quarters advising him against bargaining away Pakistan’s interest at the altar of appeasement; he has been advised to be ‘cautious’, just like the Indian Prime Minister is being told to keep from meeting Pakistani premier at the UN summit.

Similar to the loathing being witnessed so far – which is drawing renewed sustenance from border clashes -- there also exists in India a sentiment that thrives on fanning hatred. This was recently evidenced in its media’s irrational commentaries of the LoC friction, the mob attack on our High Commissioner’s office as well the statements of the parliamentarians in Lok Sabha, hence accentuating the tremendous amount of effort that is needed to get past deep-seated misconceptions.

If peace is to prevail, reciprocity has to be there. If some of the Indian leaders are of the view that by maintaining a hard line they might reap better results in coming general elections, they should know it is unethical and can be dispensed with as with Pakistan’s case where certain parties did very well without whipping up the anti-India feeling.

The public in overwhelming number is also weary of the bad blood going on for eons. The extremists in whatever colour, creed, have to be marginalised and isolated in order for the war clouds and ill-will to go away. The horizon past the territory of bad relations is full of promise and must be explored.