On the Issues Episode 62: Govind Dwivedi

Today’s guest is Govind Dwivedi. Major General G G Dwivedi retired as an Assistant Chief Integrated Defence Staff (strategic) in 2009, after 38 years of distinguished service in the Indian Army (Infantry). A Veteran of the Bangladesh War in 1971, he later commanded unit/formations in intense operational environment; as well as held important staff, instructional and foreign assignments.

A graduate of National Defence Academy Kharkvasla, he holds M Sc, MBA, M.Phil (double) in Defence & Strategic Studies from Madras University and a Ph.D. in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Besides Interpretership in Chinese from the School of Foreign Languages, he obtained ‘Art & Practice of Leadership Development’ and Senior Executives Programme in National/International Security from Harvard Kennedy School, USA. An alumnus of National Defence College, he has been faculty at Indian Military Academy Dehradun and Defence Services Staff College Wellington; served as Defence Attaché in China, Mongolia, and North Korea. He was instrumental in the formulation of numerous concept papers and doctrines as the Head of Doctrine/Strategic Branches.

From 2013-17, he was a Professor of International Relations at Aligarh University, a central university, and was instrumental in establishing the new Faculty of International Studies. Currently he is a Visiting Faculty at Foreign Services Institute Delhi, Panjab University Chandigarh and North Cap University, Gurgaon, and is a resource person for UGC HRD Centers of Leading Central Universities.

He has authored/edited five books; published over 50 articles including book chapters on Geo Strategy, National Security and Leadership, and over 70 short pieces in the leading professional journals and national dailies. A member of renowned think tanks, he regularly guest speaks at premier ‘Centers of Excellence’ both in India and abroad and appears frequently on national television as a panelist.

In today’s episode, we discuss relations between India and China, Kashmir, and the conflict between India and Pakistan over that region.


ABM:I am Alon Ben-Meir, and welcome to another episode of “On the Issues”. My guest today is Govind Dwivedi, a retired Major General in the Indian Army and a professor of International Relations. In today’s episode, we discuss relations between India and China, Kashmir, and the conflict between India and Pakistan over that region. First of all, thank you for taking the time, and I know this was somewhat a surprise.

GD: That’s ok.

ABM: But we were talking before a little bit about China and India. And my question to you was about what sort of bilateral relations they have. And you indicated a number of conflicts between the two sides. Not necessarily, obviously they are not violent conflicts, but nevertheless, they have a number of conflicts. Can you tell me what how do you, what are these conflicts, and perhaps we can take it from there and see how they may impact or are impacting the region, and what is the prospect for the future.

GD: Firstly, it’s my pleasure to be on the podcast and share some of my perceptions on India-China relations. Let me start with first a very simple statement, that the relations between India and China are very complex and they cannot be seen or visualized from one single lens. You have to view the relations from multiple lenses. Firstly, I’d like to go back a little bit into history. Historically, what the Chinese scholars say is that in the last 2,000 years or two millenniums, India and China had conflict, relations for a very small timeframe, a few years out of these two millenniums. And I’d like to bring to your notice something very interesting. You know Henry Kissinger, he had written a book, a very fine book on China, and he starts his first chapter of it in narration of Mao Zedong talking to his generals just before the ‘62 war. And he says that India and China have fought two wars before this, and one was sometime during Tang Dynasty in the seventh century A.D., the year about 648. At that time there was a king in India, King Harsha, and when he died there was a pure sense that one of the Chinese generals got humiliated. And he along with Nepalese forces then sat like this, you know the successor of Harsha, who was a renegade sort-of a personality. And the second time was seven hundred years later, when Timurlane ransacked Delhi and killed more than a hundred thousand people. So historically, India and China has never had a conflict, until Tibet got annexed by China, and China and India got the border— I mean, they became neighbors. Otherwise, Tibet was always the buffer.

ABM: That’s right.

GD: So that is one historical factor which led to the territorial dispute. So this is the historical part. Now we come to political part. India got independence in 1947, and Chinese revolution thirty-five in 1949. It’s just two years separation.

ABM: Two years apart. Yes.

GD: But the whole, you know, you can say the genesis and the political system that emerged are totally diametrically opposite.

ABM: The opposite, yes.

GD: Yeah. One is the communists. And second is the secular democratic country. And along with that came the personalities. Because when you see India-China relations, you cannot wish away the personalities. And to start with, the initial two decades were dominated by Mao Zedong and Nehru. And they somehow had the personality issue and that was one of the arenas which led to the ‘62 conflict. And of course you know Mao was under tremendous pressure after the Great Leap Forward went awry, and he had to divert attention outside the inner homeland. And therefore, one of the ways we could do that was to lock horns with India. So this is the political spectrum. Now third, let’s come to the national interest. Chinese national interests I think have been very well articulated in very clear terms, especially by the present leader Xi Jinping. He expects China to be a superpower by 2049 or 2050. And superpower means that they may be at best willing to share power with America, like so it could be in some, bipolar world. Preferably they’d like to be the unipolar world, at the same time they like to have a unipolar Asia. In Asia they’d like, I mean the Chinese will not like any rival, either Japan or India. So it is a bipolar world, unipolar Asia. Now that is one of their interests. Secondly, a strategic interest, the same space. Indian Ocean, Indo-Pacific, sea lanes, resources, markets. They are all, you know, there’s a sort of competition for these resources. And finally, I would say that border dispute somehow has overshadowed a lot of other things. But surprisingly, the trade has not gotten [unclear] because of these disputes. Today India-China trade is about 80 billion dollars, or it is grossly in favor of China. I mean, India had a deficit trade deficit of 40 to 50 billion dollars. So if I summarize, I think India-China relations are very complex and they all end up moving between two spectrums – conflict and cooperation. So between this broadband, how you are able to manage the relationship is actually the political acumen of leadership on both sides.

ABM: Yeah, so basically, absolutely. I mean, I think they know that it is going to be very difficult if possible at all to resolve any of these conflicts. Perhaps we can talk a little bit about the trade, but certainly territorial conflict is there and may very well be there for a long time, because both have, they feel they have a very legitimate claim.

GD: Right.

ABM: This, but they are not prepared however to go to war in order to resolve any political, territorial conflicts, nor are they prepared to go to war to reconcile their political differences. One is a democracy, the other one is a dictatorship, and they basically agree to reconcile with one another on this particular issue. Then comes as you mentioned the trade. There is a trade deficit. We have a similar situation now with the United States versus China. That is, Trump also complained that we have a deficit of some over a couple hundred billion dollars in trade with China, and that may be— Now, how do you see that? I want to go to the fourth point, that is a geostrategic concern, interest. Certainly China has greater ambition in terms of geostrategic control over that entire region. I don’t think India has the same kind of ambition. Do you agree with me on that?

GD: Well I think gradually India is enlarging its strategic space. If not a global power, India would like to be a regional power, especially in the Indo-Pacific region. It would like to have its own area, first place.

ABM: But it doesn’t have the ambition to control other countries in the region.

GD: Absolutely, it doesn’t have any hegemonic ambition.

ABM: The hegemonic ambition. That’s my point. But China does.

GD: Yes, absolutely.

ABM: China does, and that is a big difference between the two. But I think even that may not end up in a violent conflict, because they know that there is no solution can be achieved through war. They have settled on that, no matter how profound these conflicts are. Do you agree that they have settled on one thing? War is never going to provide a solution to any of this, so you might as well manage the conflict.

GD: Absolutely. As a military man I can sort of say with a certain degree of authority that we go to war for a certain specific aim and objective. And wars are fought for victory. You never fight a war to get into stalemate or not achieve your objectives. In this case, the balance of forces is such that decisive victory is not possible.

ABM: Exactly. Exactly.

GD: And therefore, fighting a war will be futile. But at the same time I’ll have it, I like to flag one caveat: the small skirmishes now cannot be ruled out, like a standoff like Doklam.

ABM: Yeah, yeah.

GD: These sort of standoffs like can take place, but definitely they will not mushroom into a major conflict. They’ll be very, very localized, tactical actions which is not, they may have.

ABM: But it is limited to local areas, and a decision made by low-level, low-ranking individuals that— That is not a national policy, that is—

GD: Yeah. They may have a strategy competition [unclear], but it will be very restricted and very localized.

ABM: Outside this, I want ask this question. Now there is, the Chinese are persecuting much of the Muslim community in China in recent weeks, in recent months. And there’s also a significant Muslim community in India as well. Some 80 million Muslims in India? Or more like 100?

GD: India has 14 percent population of Muslims and that—

ABM: So that translates to 150 million.

GD: Yeah, about 160, 150 million.

ABM: So it’s very significant.

GD: India has the second-highest population of Muslim after Indonesia.

ABM: After Indonesia. Well that’s, this is amazing. Now tell me. I know there is a higher level of tolerance of Indian toward the Muslim than the Chinese toward the Muslims. Am I right about that?

GD: Well there’s no comparison because India is a secular country. And you’ll be surprised; when India got partitioned, Pakistan was created on one principle that as a Muslim nation—

ABM: Yes.

GD: —they can always prosper and try better than in a secular country. And that time, all this large population of Muslims did not go to Pakistan. They chose to stay in India.

ABM: They chose to stay in India, yes.

GD: Voluntarily. And in India, every religion has equal rights. You’d be surprised that we had two Muslim presidents of our country who were Muslims, as presidents. So therefore, there’s no prosecution of minorities, in fact in India minorities are given even greater opportunity than majority [unclear].

ABM: Yeah. No, I agree with you.

GD: So India is a secular country. Now China is an authoritarian and a communist country, which does not tolerate any religion.

ABM: My question. Yeah.

GD: Yeah. So therefore I’m coming to that, coming to your pointed question. Today if you see China’s threat, China’s threats are more internal than external. Externally Chinese have no threats, really speaking.

ABM: That is true.

GD: Unless they actually want to actually buy one. But internally, China has lot of problems. And some of the problems are internal unrest. Chinese do not, you know Chinese leadership does not tolerate any unrest, any defiance, or even religious freedom. Even the Christians, they have to go and pray in very well designated churches or areas.

ABM: Yeah.

GD: And the Chinese threat today, internal threat is, there are three outlying regions with the perceived threat: Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia. Now Tibet, they have been able to somehow control it well because Buddhists basically are passive people and the Dalai Lama is outside. But Xinjiang, they have not been able to really get control despite the fact that they have built, had good relations with Pakistan to ensure that no follower of Muslim radicals or Muslim terrorism comes in. They created the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to put all the Turkistan movement spilling over to Xinjiang. So therefore, it is seen as a security threat, that this can be a separatist movement or this can be a movement which will, can seek independence. And as I said, Chinese internal threat, the Chinese leadership are very sensitive. So they are seeing Uighur or Xinjiang as an internal threat, and because of that they have tried to steamroll, their policy is steamroll policy that puts down all dissent with a heavy hand, and therefore they have gone into a number of measures they are taking. They have gone into re-education programs, they have gone into separating the radical people from the normal people, they have almost quarantined the complete region.

ABM: Right.

GD: And so these are the measures. If you see, they are basically followed of Chinese fear of psychosis, of separatism breeding in Xinjiang.

ABM: But initially, what I wanted to ask you, that is, what I wanted to know from your perspective. Here you have two Muslim communities, basically neighbors. One is in India, which like you said there is hardly any discrimination against Muslims in India. Whereas China has basically, it’s cracking down on the Muslim community.

GD: Because religion is not actually part of the—

ABM: Does that difference between the two sides, does that have any effect on one or the other? Or it’s a completely separate issue?

GD: Well there are two things you can look at in a way. Like if India has given, refused to the Dalai Lama to practice religion. Now that is not being seen as a very positive act by Chinese, because in their perception, religion has no place in Communist ideology. So if you see from the religion point of view, well there’ll be a difference. But the Chinese are also worried about terrorism. Now when it comes to terrorism, they view these Uighurs as terrorists, but then they have also their own perception of terrorism. While they may not view you know, let’s say Jaesh al-Muhammad as a terrorist organization in the same lens as they view Uighur. That’s why when [unclear] had to be declared as a terrorist, they kept on putting the technical hold four times in the U.N. So therefore they are worried about the word terrorism as it relates, and as it affects their internal stability.

ABM: I see. Now how do you see the future for both India and China, given the four different areas of conflict that you talked about? There is this—no one is expecting to go to war against one another. That is a given. Now, given this fact that neither wants a war, what sort of geostrategic approaches are they taking in order each to improve their position, short of going to war because war does not serve either side’s interest whatsoever. Not now, not in the foreseeable future. But certainly they want to improve their position vis-à-vis one another. Let’s take it back to the trade. India has suffered from 50, like you said, 48 to 50 billion dollars of trade. To what extent, what effort is being made to rectify that?

GD: I think India-China relations cannot be seen as I said from the one lens. They’ll be issue based. Like—

ABM: Well this is one issue based.

GD: Yeah. So they’ll be issue-based. There the issues, they have convergence. They like to cooperate, issues where there are divergence. They could be in confrontation mode. Right. So now where their interests are not coinciding, let’s say that today if America is predominantly in the Indian Ocean region, China would like to view India so that India does not go into the [unclear], you know.

ABM: Yes, yes

GD: Right? So they like to balance it out, and the Chinese are very good at it, let me tell you. If you see the Western Pacific, they have already showed that Japan, Korea, and the USA are never on the same page. They’ll always throw a spanner in such a way that they don’t have one integrated. Even in the G7 today, Italy has gone with Xi Jinping on the BRI. So even in G7, they have been able to bring any crack. So I think how Chinese will play out and how India will play out, I’ll give you two perceptions. Chinese efforts will always be that if India is not friendly, it should never be an enemy.

ABM: Yeah, that’s the motto. Absolutely, yeah.

GD: So they’ll not like to have a hostile India if not a friendly India – that is, India joining the [quad], or India joining an Opposite camp, India getting into Alliance. They will not like to do that so they’ll only balance out, that let India be either neutral or friendly, but not hostile. First point. Second point is, they will pursue their interest only to that extent which does not hurt India too deeply, that India is forced to go into the other side.

ABM: To react, yes.

GD: They’ll always keep it, you know, in a manageable limit. But yet they’ll always keep India under pressure. But there, the Chinese policy is that adversaries should be always kept on the tenterhooks, and that’s how their philosophy works. As far as India is concerned, India also feels that being hostile to China doesn’t serve its purpose, because if it cannot be friend, we should not be enemy.

ABM: Enemies, that’s right, yeah.

GD: And if we cannot have very healthy relations, at least we should be able to manage our relations, have a functional relationship. And I would call it cooperative competition.

ABM: Yeah but isn’t this, the way I see it is that there is a deliberate effort by China, deliberate effort by China not to resolve these issues. That is, they want to maintain that kind of level of—

GD: Pressure, as I said.

ABM: Of tension and pressure.

GD: Yes.

ABM: Because it serves their domestic purposes.

GD: Absolutely, because—

ABM: And that’s the point.

GD: That they would like to keep this pot boiling.

ABM: Yeah.

GD: But yet not busted.

ABM: Not busted.

GD: Yeah.

ABM: That’s right. Because that’s, yeah.

GD: Yeah. Because the main Chinese issue is basically Tibet. Tibet is related to the Dalai Lama. Chinese, one of the grouses [over the] Dalai Lama, having refuge in India. Secondly of course is the territorial dispute. Now that dispute now primarily [is related to a natural] position Tibet largely what China wanted in the northern area, the [unclear] area they have taken, because they would build a Western highway. So they are no more interested in any territory. And Tibet is very important for China for the water resources. Tibet is the like water tank of the world. All the major rivers are emanating from it. It has such a large glaciated coverage. And China has a deficit in water, especially in northern China. And therefore they like to have full control of the water resources, and also as I said, the China very, very important periphery, whether Xinjiang or Tibet or Inner Mongolia, because that is their sign of instability and the Chinese communist government cannot actually accept any kind of instability or any kind of threat to communism.

ABM: Now to what extent do you feel that China is working hard to— You see, the relationship between the— bilateral relationship between India and the United States has been improving in the last 10, 15 years.

GD: Sure, last two decades.

ABM: Yeah, last two decades it’s been improving. And obviously geo-strategically speaking it isn’t, China does not want to see India to be too closely aligned with the United States.

GD: Right.

ABM: And from, as you see it, are they doing anything to impede further closeness between India and the United States?

GD: Absolutely.

ABM: What, can you give me a few examples?

GD: I’ll give you a couple of examples.

ABM: Yes.

GD: Firstly, Shanghai Cooperation Organization. They have India for membership along with Pakistan. So they’re the one only forum where actually the Chinese are predominantly controlling this organization, like so we are into that, some kind of organization, you know, spectrum along with China. Secondly, you know after Doklam they had Wuhan Summit that was a bilateral between Mr. Xi, Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi. So this, I mean this one on one—

ABM: Right.

GD: Which is not actually very common with the Chinese. And they spent almost 36 hours and had six meetings. And right now at a SCO meeting at Bishkek, the Chinese president has accepted to come to India for a similar bilateral summit in India. So therefore, these types of dialogue between the two, topmost leaders also gives an indication that their desire to have a bilateral functional relationship that resolves conflict, build up personal bonhomie and you know, as personalities count a lot. Xi Jinping is lifelong president and I’m sure he is going to bat through, till about 2035 if not later. And Mr. Modi also got another five years. This means ten years of their interaction. Definitely will be certain moral foundation. And I’m sure it’ll lead to at least managing relations from not actually wading into conflict, but more into the cooperation mode.

ABM: Yeah, greater, I think you’re right. There’d be greater cooperation because it does – I mean they both now obviously are benefiting from the current condition.

GD: Right.

ABM: If you improve it up to a point, but not solve the problem completely.

GD: Manage the problem—

ABM: Manage it.

GD: But not solve it.

ABM: Manage it, and try to improve it without necessarily solving it.

GD: Absolutely.

ABM: I want to just to switch for a moment to the Kashmir, India-Kashmir conflict. Well this has been going from the time India and Pakistan got their independence.

GD: Right.

ABM: In the wake of the British withdrawal. And to this day there is no solution in sight to the Kashmir problem. Where do you see that going?

GD: Actually again, a little historical background that India was, it is sort of a, you could say not a nation state but it was an entity with a number of rulers, then kingdoms. So they’ll all be given choice to join one or the other. And the Kashmir king, who was a Hindu king, he acceded to India. Now that’s where the start point is. But it is not acceptable to Pakistan because Kashmir was a Muslim-predominant state. So they tried to grab it and they sent the forces, and that’s where the problem started. Now Kashmir issue also, there is some other ignorance about this. Jammu and Kashmir has three parts. One is Jammu region, which is predominantly Hindu. Second is Kashmir Valley, which is predominantly Muslim. And third is Ladakh, which is predominantly Buddhist. So when you look at Jammu and Kashmir as a state, there’s no problem in Hindu region, that is Jammu region. There’s no problem in Ladakh region, Buddhist region. There’s only problem in Kashmir region, valley region. The Valley has six districts, and in those six districts also the problem is in three districts or two and half distinct. So when we talk of Kashmir problem, the problem is within two and half districts. It’s not in the whole of Kashmir. There are Jammu and Kashmir, which is 22 districts, and India has 640 districts. So the problem is in two and half districts. It’s a very, very small local area which has a problem. And this problem primarily was more of a political problem, because within the political parties they wanted to actually have their own way, and therefore this led to a lot of unrest among the young people. And Pakistan took advantage to start a proxy war by trying to lure the young people, all the people who are dissatisfied with the political set up. And that’s where the problems started. But the problem basically is in two and half districts. And Pakistan has got defeated four times against India. So they found this proxy war or cross-border terrorism as one of the strategies to keep India engaged, bleed India, that what they call it, bleeding by a thousand cuts.

ABM: Yeah, but they have not really been successful.

GD: But they have not been successful. And in fact today, Pakistan is a victim of its own deeds because all these people from Taliban, al-Qaida, now they are actually causing more problems within Pakistan—

ABM: Right.

GD: Than Pakistan is able to cause to India. And lastly, last instance which happened in Pulwama, when Jaesh al-Muhammad, you know, they killed 40 of us, RPF paramilitary forces, and then India hit at Balakot. After that Pakistan got shaken up. A lot of pressure came on Pakistan from America, from Saudi Arabia, from the United Arab Emirates, that you, please tone down, because this can blow up, this can lead to a serious situation. And Mr. Modi’s policy had been that there’ll be no tolerance towards terrorism. So far, we have been only fighting terrorism within our own territory. But he said no, we’ll now fight it across. So after that I think Pakistan is on cautious mode. And to my mind, this problem cannot be resolved for a simple reason that it is at the heart of Pakistan identity that all Muslim areas should be with Pakistan. And the second very important point is that Pakistan sees India as a rival. Kashmir is one of the areas where they can have a situation going. But otherwise, Pakistan is hand tied with India. Their whole mindset is against India and they see India as their rival, as a threat. But that is only a virtual reality. It’s not the actual reality.

ABM: Yeah, I mean because what is a prospect in fact that Pakistan can prevail, and now especially in the wake of developing their nuclear weapons? So by and lar-, I mean, since that, all these conventional wars that took place, three times?

GD: Four.

ABM: Four times since they both declared or acquired nuclear weapons, there was no—

GD: Well, we had a Kargil conflict, but that was limited.

ABM: But not, it was very limited because they were concerned that it could escalate. But now given that both are nuclear powers, the dispute over Kashmir remains the same thing. Where that’s going to go at this point?

GD: Well, there are three possible options. One is the status quo is maintained and Pakistan stops cross-border terrorism.

ABM: Stop here for a second. Is the status quo from your perspective beneficial to whom? To either or both or none?

GD: Yeah. The status quo for the time being is beneficial to both because it’ll tone down the tension.


GD: It’ll bring down the level of animosity.

ABM: Okay.

GD: And so if you freeze the issue for the time being and make the line of control more peaceful, that is their interim solution.

ABM: OK, going—

GD: The second solution is, Pakistan continues with what it is doing. Now that is going to be responded to very strongly because the cross-border terrorism is not going to work out, at least with the new government. And the third possible solution is the long term solution where the certain give and take is done and the border is resolved, means that once the sort of thought is, with little adjustment, what is Pakistan remains with Pakistan, what is with India remains with India.

ABM: But is there a clear delineation, demographically speaking in Kashmir, where you can take part of Kashmir which is predominantly Muslim to become part of Pakistan.

GD: No, but as I said, Kashmir has 22 districts and only six districts are where the Muslim predomination is there. Jammu region is Hindu—

ABM: But is it a contiguous landmass?

GD: Yeah.

ABM: Is it contiguous?

GD: Entirely contiguous.

ABM: And it is adjacent to Pakistan?

GD: Yeah, yes.

ABM: So was there any discussion, because to my knowledge there were some discussions in the past about getting this district to become part of Pakistan.

GD: I’m not aware of that, because what Pakistan had claimed is the whole region. And what India claims is Pakistan occupied Kashmir, and there is a line of control which actually divides the two sides. But I have an understanding that at some point of time there was aloud thinking when Musharraf had come to India for the Agra summit that well, you can maintain the status quo and then have a loose type of border where the India can be greater interaction between the two sides. And—

ABM: And was there any discussion of allowing say Pakistan to become non-aligned independent state from either side?

GD: No, no, no. Pakistan has no such. Pakistan had been harping on, that there should be plebiscite, but that conditions are no more there because that was when—

ABM: So the discussion that we’ve been hearing before about potentially getting Kashmir to become an independent state from both sides, it’s not in the cards anymore.

GD: It is never. India [unclear] that Kashmir is our part because it acceded to India, and Pakistan grabbed it by force. India claims the full Kashmir. Well Pakistan is hopping on the plebiscite because that doesn’t hold good the condition where that both sides should withdraw and the same status should be maintained. Now there’s so many demographic changes that are taking place that that doesn’t hold good. And one of the possible solutions was that we can make the line of control a de facto border. But that has not been India’s stand as yet. India’s stand is that Kashmir is part of India because it acceded, and that was how the Indian state was created, when all the kingdoms and all the princes and states, they decided to join one or the other.

ABM: Yeah. Well we’re going to have to live I guess with that conflict for a while.

GD: Yeah, I think there’s no near-term solution to that. The only thing is, it can be managed and the level of animosity can be decreased by cooling off the line of control and hope wisdom prevails on Pakistan to stop this cross-border terrorism, and that can actually bring some kind of semblance of normalcy for the time being.

ABM: Now, just a final question. Is there any kind of peaceful bilateral relations between Pakistan and India on any other level?

GD: Well, we have normal diplomatic relations.

ABM: There is diplomatic relations.

GD: We have embassies, we have an ambassador. That type of—but there has been no dialogue between the heads of the state after this Pulwama and Balakot, because the present government has stated that terrorism and talks cannot go together.

ABM: Yeah. Well I mean this is obviously, this kind of status quo is not limited to Kashmir. I think the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not d-, many people are now thinking that the conflict between the two sides cannot be resolved, and they are going to have to live with some kind of managing the conflict. And but you see Kashmir.

GD: Because again, the Palestine issue is totally a different issue.

ABM: Completely different, in terms of no solution.

GD: No.

ABM: That is no, neither. Many Israelis today believe there is no solution. And so I’m saying you see that the same situation in Kashmir—

GD: No, solution is a—

ABM: Between the two sides.

GD: Solution, as I said that firstly, the problem can be managed, provided Pakistan stops cross-border terrorism and then comes for the talks. But if they keep terrorism on one end and try to talk at the other end, that is not acceptable. That is, this condition, which I think the Indian government has laid. Now you stop terrorism and we’ll come to talk and get some solution. And secondly, our stance is that the solution is only through talking and negotiation, and war is not the option.

ABM: Yeah, but when you, I just want to verify this: when you talk, let’s talk; talk about what?

GD: You talk about the number of things that can be talked about. Firstly is to stabilize the line of control, bring more normalcy, stop shooting across the line of control like what we call it the—

ABM: But the area, still Kashmir is still there.

GD: Yeah. But confidence-building measures between the two sides, you know that is the prelude to any sort of talks that you set a stage, you make the environment conducive. But it cannot happen that when one side is pushing terrorism, one side is engaged in proxy war. You have to accept this stage. So I think the prelude is bringing normalcy around the line of control, confidence-building measures, and then the political process can also start. And then there can be a number of ways which again can be talked through. And solutions to such problems has to be out-of-the-box. Generally, there are no stated positions for any solution.

ABM: Well thank you. I mean, we can continue this conversation for a while. I appreciate that.