India must not hurry Narendra Modi into a summit with Imran Khan

It has been reported that the Pakistani army chief quietly reached out to India a few months ago “to open barriers to trade between the countries, which would give Pakistan more access to regional markets”. Given the dire economic situation Pakistan is in, good neighbourliness is anyway in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s interests at this time.

But every time a new government comes to power in India or Pakistan, people start expecting dramatic progress in bilateral relations. Not just common people, but even old hands put hope ahead of experience and start pushing up expectations of thaw, progress, breakthrough or even some kind of resolution of disputes.

This doesn’t make sense because bilateral relations are not the way they are because of the personalities, preferences or political ideologies of the elected leaders on either side. It’s not as if Narendra Modi or Imran Khan, massively popular as they are in their respective countries, can set aside what happened in the past, ignore the other players in the game and their respective calculations of gains and losses, and simply strike a deal.

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