With the dangerously rising temperatures of the region, Indo-Pak borders are also heating up at the Line of Control. The peculiar situation between the two South Asian neighbours bears all apparent signatures of what can be called inevitability, or even desirability, of a decisive war — with the only problem that, in this nuclear environment, the element of decisiveness in any future war remains elusive. In the words of Putin who was warning the US, ‘no one will survive’ to enjoy the so-called decisiveness of the war. Desire for self-actualisation sometimes assumes strange shapes. Originally conceived for and aimed at an individual’s transformation, traditions, after the Independence of India, slowly found their way to emulate at national levels both in India and Pakistan, eyeing for ultimate purity and perfection and national self-actualization. Developed into national movements, those traditions have gradually taken societies out of a normal, happy and healthy life, and set them on the way of extremities. In India the movement has assumed the colours of Hindutva and in Pakistan the movement has prided itself in the shape of Islamisation.Unlike India, the movement in Pakistan cast its spell on the leadership quite early of its existence, reached its zenith in the eighties and now appears to be in receding mode. While in India, it took over slowly but steadily and, under the Modi rule, seems to have reached its peak time now. Undeterred by secular and Muslim resistance from within; emboldened by its rise on world stage as an emerging power coupled with associated impunity and strengthened by the weakening of democratic movement internationally, India’s Hinduisation is on the warpath. On the other hand, although Pakistan’s Islamisation project has been put on a slow gear, it is far from being over yet. In juxtaposition, the end result is hostility, unending one between India and Pakistan.Kashmir is usually branded as the root cause of this hostility. Looked at from the perspective presented above, a question may arise: is the Kashmir issue not an effect rather than the cause of that hostility? Is it not that if it were not Kashmir, it would have been some thing else — anything. Unending hostility between India and Pakistan is a manifestation of two societies experiencing hostile and aggressive religio-social undercurrents. What we see on the surface — irreconcilability — is just a symptom of the larger malaise. Religious and social tectonic plates are inexorably grinding against each other deep down in the inner construct of both societies.But to what end, is a million-dollar question. When hostilities refuse to end and war, no matter how inevitable or desirable it may be, remains an elusive option, what lies ahead for both nations? The situation has only been compounded by two additional factors. First factor is terrorism which further has many aspects. One, terrorism, despite of US’s expensive and deadly war on terror, is expanding rather than contracting: it’s entering newer areas hitherto out of its evil spell like Iran; intensifying itself at its usual abodes like Afghanistan and Middle East; and hitting targets in Urban centres of the West, which was unthinkable not a long ago. Two, Indian allegations on Pakistan for backing ‘terrorism’ in Kashmir are shaping world opinion portraying Indian brutality as a reaction and not a trigger of tension in the valley. Three, after the havoc wreaked by the TTP, the IS is now trying to get a foothold in Pakistan. Not only this, the IS flags are also seen in Kashmir protests. Five, will the disgruntled youth of the Muslim community, which constitutes a sizeable minority in India, keep on taking a beating at the hands of the Hindutva vigilantes and not take a page out of their counterparts’ book in the Western societies, especially when the IS is influencing its potential recruits anywhere and everywhere through internet. How will future genres of terrorism affect Indo-Pak hostility, requires some debate.Unending hostility between India and Pakistan is a manifestation of hostile and aggressive religio-social undercurrents. What we see on the surface — irreconcilability — is just a symptom of the larger malaiseSecond factor is China. Pentagon has identified Pakistan as a potential military base of China in future, ringing alarm bells, inter alia, in India. Similarly, an echo of preparedness for a joint attack by Pakistan and China is gaining frequency in India quite recently. How will China factor play out with respect to Indo-Pak hostility, also requires some brain storming on our part. Regardless of what this hostility will actually lead to, every effort should be made to avoid zero sum options. And no effort can succeed unless the religio-social undercurrents governing both societies are somehow stemmed. Maybe, a dose of secularism along with a bit of national psychotherapy is the cure The writer is a lawyer and a former diplomat based in Islamabad Published in Daily Times, June 22nd, 2017.