India Pakistan Relations: Two Questions on the Way Forward – Part II

Generation Why: South Asian Voices, Stimson Center, June 2, 2014

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

gen-why-300x141Despite the agreement on the need for the two countries to engage with each other, there is a difficult question that remains unanswered. The more important and possibly more difficult question is “Who does India speak to within Pakistan?” Does it seek to engage the civilian leadership in Islamabad or should it accept the ground reality and engage with the real center of power in Rawalpindi?

The choice is not a simple one. Engaging with the generals would mean reinforcing the commonly held perception and result in the weakening of the elected civilian leadership. In the longer run, the move could prove counterproductive given the impact that it will have on the democratic forces which are consolidating their base following the recent elections.

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