In a damning admission, the former prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, in an interview given to a prominent newspaper, has tacitly admitted to Pakistan’s role in 26/11 attacks, though he did not name the terrorist organisations that had carried the Mumbai attack. He also admitted that India had provided clinching evidence on the LeT and other terror outfits responsible for carrying out the attack. He also said that both Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China had raised the issue with him. In fact, Ajmal Kasab, who was caught by the Mumbai police, had implicated Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Hafiz Saeed as the masterminds behind the attacks which took the lives of 160 innocent people. Although both the civilian government and the army denied their role in the attack and blamed it on Indian criminals and Bangladesh militants, they later admitted that Ajmal Kasab was indeed a Pakistani citizen. Sadly, the mastermind of the attack Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Masood Azhar are roaming free, as the government did not present the evidence handed over by India to the courts. India felt these non-state actors could not have carried out the meticulously planned attack without the support of the ISI. For strange reasons, both the military establishment and the ISI have been keeping the embers of anti-India hatred burning. Sharif’s interview has come at a time when there is a move by the Financial Action Task Force to put Pakistan on the greylist effective June 2018, if it fails to submit an action plan on combating the various terror outfits operating from its soil. The move by G-7 countries has come only after Pakistan’s repeated refusal to reign in the non-state actors responsible for waging a proxy war against India and Afghanistan with the overt and covert support of the military establishment. The Indian leaders should also show statesmanship by resuming the stalled bilateral talks with Pakistan, as both the people residing at the line of control and civilians in Kashmir have paid a heavy price on the never-ending conflict between the two countries Sharif’s interview has caused an uproar in Pakistan with the army and political parties baying for his blood. He has been declared a traitor, and pressureis being put on him to retract the statement attributed to him. However, Sharif has refused to recant from the interview given to the paper and has said that he will “speak the truth, come what may.” However, what begs the question is why Sharif did not submit the evidence to the court when he was in power and why this sudden volte-face? Is it an attempt to defame the army, whom Sharif thinks was responsible for his ouster? There are new answers,but his admission will definitely damage Pakistan’s credibility in the international community. At a time when we are seeing conflicts in many parts of the world, it is time both India and Pakistan set aside their differences and engage in negotiations to find an acceptable solution to various contentious issues, including Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan should take a leaf from China-India relations, where both the countries have agreed to move forward through cooperation while continuing to engage with one another on the contentious border issues. India and Pakistan should adopt a similar strategy for creating a climate of trust. When all seems to have been lost of any rapprochement between the two countries, the interview given by General Qamar Bajwa to a British think tank where he has expressed the desire for peace and military cooperation with India raises hope of taking the peace process forward. In another historic development, the General invited India’s military attaché and his team to attend the Pakistan day parade. Although India is sceptical on the recent peace overture of the general, it should make every effort to reach out to Pakistan to resume the peace negotiations. India, which had always insisted only talking to the democratically elected government of Pakistan, should now establish direct contact with the Pak army to find ways to end the bitterness between the two countries. By ensuring the participation of the army, India will ensure that the Pak army does not play the spoilsport, as we saw what happened in the aftermath of the Lahore accord and Modi’s stop over at Lahore. Pakistan should also introspect and abandon its strategy of using the non-sate actors for waging war with India; as such an approach has failed to achieve the desired goals. Over 200 militants, who had sneaked into India, have been neutralised by the Indian army. As Pakistan occupies a unique geo-strategic advantage in the region, being a gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia, a peaceful and stable Pakistan would give a fillip to the economic development, especially when China is investing $85 billion in developing its ports, infrastructure and power plants. On the other hand, the Indian leaders should also show statesmanship by resuming the stalled bilateral talks with Pakistan, as both the people residing at the line of control and civilians in Kashmir have paid a heavy price on the never-ending conflict between the two countries. The Indian government should take Bajwa’s peace overtures in all its sincerity and resume talks with Pakistan at the official level, as both the countries have paid a heavy both by keeping the embers of the conflict alive. The author is an independent columnist and political commentator Published in Daily Times, May 19th 2018.