That is putting it straight. In the chapter on ´Kashmir: The Interactable Bone of Contention´, Dixit again puts things in their proper perspective. He defines Pakistan´s objectives thus: (a) It considers the acquisition of Jammu and Kashmir the unifinished part of Partition; (b) its claim to Kashmir is firmly rooted in the two-nation theory; (c) it desires to invalidate the provisions of the Indian Independence Act and the Instruments of Accession signed by the former Maharaja; (d) it also questions the decision taken by Sheikh Abdullah to make Jammu and Kashmir a part of India; and (e) it is of the view that continuing cross-border terrorism and violent intervention including sending mercenaries and non-Kashmir cadres to create a conflict situation in Jammu and Kashmir will achieve the above objectives.
And what are India´s objectives? Priority-wise, Dixit describes them as follows:
(a) The cessation of all violence and acts of terror; (b) to ensure that those portions of Jammu and Kashmir that are part of India do not get separated from the territories of the republic of India; (c) to ensure that any compromise arrived at on the basis of discussions with various opposition groups representing the people of Jammu and Kashmir does not dilute the strategic position of India in the state; (d) to ensure that it does not result in any ceding of territory to Pakistan; and finally (e) that the compromises reached should be such that they contribute to neutralising the centrifugal forces in other parts of India.
It is Dixit´s thesis that India has to fight its own battles against terrorism knowing fully well that while there is general sympathy in American official circles to India´s problems, their primary concern is to safeguard their own interests. It also seems to be Dixit´s firm conviction that ?while Musharraf´s capability and inclination to support violent terrorist organisations may be eroded because of international pressure, he will not be able to completely distance himself from such organisations as far as India is concerned because his survival in power depends on not antagonising them beyond a point?.
Following the Agra summit, Dixit´s analysis is even more forthright. With eyes wide-open, he writes: ?An inescapable conclusion to be drawn is that there is not even a tentative meeting ground on the substance of political issues at discussion between India and Pakistan.? That is telling it as it is. So where do we go from here, especially after Almaty? In his concluding chapter, Dixit holds that ?the hope for rationality in Indo-Pak relations has to be tempered with abundant political caution.? That surely is true, but where does it take us? Dixit provides us no answer. For all one knows, there is none.
The importance of this book is that it casts a look at Indo-Pak relations in their totality and with inside knowledge. That is where Dixit scores over practically everyone else. But are his conclusions necessarily sound? Would they hold good today? One wishes Dixit could give an addendum bringing us to post-Almaty conditions and what they presage. If, as he puts it, it is Pakistan government´s policy ?not to allow norms and easy people-to-people contacts between Indians and Pakistanis?, then the future looks bleak. That is obviously not Dixit´s fault. The author is a realist, if ever there is one.
His chapter, thus, on ´Retrospect and Prospects´ needs careful study. Dixit sees no prospects of a friendly neighbour coming closer to India even if Jammu and Kashmir were to join Pakistan. As he sees it-and he quotes Pakistanis as well-?As long as India remains the largest polity in South Asia, tensions are inevitable and will continue.? It is a depressing thought. And rather frightening as well. But Dixit´s idea is not to apply the calming unguent to our souls but to wake up his fellow countrymen, to the reality of Pakistan and Islam that first manifested itself when Aurangzeb defeated his older brother Dara Shikoh at the battle of Samugar in the summer of 1658. The seeds of Pakistan were sown then and today we see the fruition of that poisonous tree.