Threats of imminent conflict between India and Pakistan, following the Mumbai attacks of late November 2008, dissipated eventually, given both the sobering reality of nuclear weapons on either side and of India’s failure to temper Pakistan with Operation Parakram following the attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001. Against a backdrop of confused doctrines such as Cold Start and armed forces that are simply not materially or organizationally equipped for quick reaction, India is left with the usual options of engaging in rhetoric and diplomacy, both departments where Pakistan can more than match India. However, Pakistan’s capability in this latter respect comes from being the smaller power that has only to react to the bigger power, namely India, without having to come up with any initiatives of its own. It follows, therefore, that the way out can only come from India thinking out-of-the-box and coming up with an initiative that will force the other players in the region out of their zones of comfort and force them to walk the talk. What can this new initiative be?
Five-Party Talks – Explaining the Rationale