Speaking in Washington DC last week, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif expressed Pakistan’s concerns about India’s role in the new US strategy on Afghanistan. He exhorted the US to recognise Pakistan’s legitimate concerns while shaping the new policy. The FM’s statements indicate that chances of improvements in the bilateral relations of India and Pakistan remain slim, in the short term. Asif’s position also suggests that the government sees Indian influence in DC as a major reason for Pakistan being singled out in US President’s new Afghan policy. During the US tour, the FM has been in news for his several statements. He has received criticisms from certain quarters but has also been praised by others. While the FM has left no stone unturned to express Pakistan’s concerns over Trump’s new strategy, a dispassionate assessment of his diplomatic engagements in the past few months also suggests that he has been a bit too aggressive in his approach. Asif and his ministry may do well to recall that aggression is the exact opposite of diplomacy. Effective lobbying and diplomatic efforts remain the key if Pakistan is to get its concerns addressed. Indian leaders may issue more provocative statements, but showing restraint in the face of provocation by Indian representatives will strengthen Pakistan’s position before the international community. The success of Pakistan’s foreign policy lies not in responding to aggression with aggression, but in convincing the international community about the country’s sincerity in the on-going war against terror. Moreover, the new US policy on Afghanistan cannot entirely be termed as a result of Indian lobby’s influence in the DC. The absence of proper diplomacy and lobbying on our part due to lack of a Foreign Minister for the last several years cannot be brushed under the carpet either. We hope that our Foreign Office has done the needful and identified what has gone wrong. It is time to start working towards translating ‘bold’ statements into diplomatic success. * Published in Daily Times, October 9th 2017.