The increase in ceasefire violations on the LoC after the cancellation of the meeting between the two Foreign Secretaries by India has given rise to feelings of anger on both sides of the border. Modi’s assertions that Pakistan is engaging in a proxy war and using the attacks on Indian border check posts to infiltrate its borders on his visit to Kargil is not going to help put any fires out either. The fact remains that Pakistan has done more than its diplomatic share to encourage the two countries in engaging in dialogue since the PML-N came into power. From Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, to keeping official statements against India to a bare minimum, the past year has seen Pakistan try a change in tactic to resolve ongoing issues. Nawaz Sharif’s overtures, after initial positive signs, have been met with disdain and accusations by the BJP government. Citing the Pakistan High Commissioner’s meeting Hurriyat leaders as the main cause for breakdown in talks, a formality that is more ceremonial than anything else, is hardly something to waste an entire year over. With talks ongoing between the two sides in Lahore over the Indus Water Treaty with results announced on the 27th, one can only wonder if any headway will be made amid the tensions.

Across the border, hardliners support Modi’s move, saying that putting Pakistan on the defensive will yield greater results in the talks. For them the equality principle no longer applies, and India must approach talks from a superior position. Hawks on this side are against the idea of talking to India. Period. It is no secret that the armed forces on both sides have no love lost between them. Sporadic exchanges of fire on the LoC are bound to take place when two ideologically different forces are armed to the teeth and put in close proximity against one another. Most recently, President of the BJP Amit Shah stated that India would give a “befitting reply” to Pakistani ceasefire violations. Over sixty five years of enmity should have taught us that using strong rhetoric and guns in attempts to force a solution is of no use. Attitudes must change, compromise must come, and the positives, few as they are, must guide the negotiation process. The upcoming UNGA session in New York was supposed to pave the way forward, but the talks between the two High Commissioners was seen as a precursor. Is the meeting between the two Premiers then cancelled? If it is, what’s next?