Ever since the change in governments both in India and Pakistan relations between the two countries have remained dicey although there has been some glimmer of hope some times. Prime Minister Imran Khan was the one who gave benefit of doubt to Prime Minister Modi and openly declared that he had strong feelings that he would be able to do business with him. Somehow circumstances have proved contrary. Life has not been as good between the two countries as it was during the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s tenure when the two prime ministers had most cordial relations with each other. It seems an amicable settlement was on cards. However, one incident after another, Prime Minister Modi’s revoking of article 370, re-enforcement of Indian troops and unleashing of oppression to subdue Kashmiri intifada has since made things look very grim coupled with excessive jingoistic diatribe by the proponents of Hinduvta- seemingly pushing the two countries to a point of no return. Despite all the ominous developments I have remained a proverbial optimist. I believe that the current vicious jingoistic hullabaloo is just blowing of sub-continental hot and cold. No doubt one gets worried over the violations on the LoC as these skirmishes seems to have become more than a seasonal affair threatening peace. Now it seems that India is taking advantage of Pakistan’s not so strong leadership. And the way situation is drifting it seems that the joke has gone too far. Pakistan’s most trust worthy friend China that has been having its own problems with India, however, believes that Pakistan and India should strengthen channels for resumption of meaningful dialogue No doubt the current scenario is grim. India does not seem to cool down in its jingoistic designs. Although Delhi is time and again told by Pak Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi that it should not consider Pakistan to be weak, when time would come it will strike back hard to teach India a lesson for all times. The popular crescendo raised by the Kashmiri people demanding United Nations to implement Security Council Resolutions for the right of self-determination-seemed to have been given new lease of life. Notwithstanding its limitations Pakistan has been trying to deflect the diplomatic offensive by its neighbour to isolate it in the international community. Since the violations at the LoC have become a daily affair, it can no more be dismissed as part of a seasonal event. With an ultra-rightist Prime Minister in power, there seems to be no let up. On both sides there is manifestation of method in the madness. It seems policy planners in Delhi feel that it can crush the intifada and get away by imposing constitutional changes that strengthen the case of disputed territory as its integral part. However, the growing tension between two nuclear countries has been cause of concern in many capitals. United States has urged upon both to cool down and resume talks to resolve disputes that keep Islamabad and Delhi daggers drains. This view is further shared by other friendly countries too. Pakistan’s most trust worthy friend China that has been having its own problems with India, however, believes that Pakistan and India should strengthen channels for resumption of meaningful dialogue. Indeed, this recommendation as a way forward pushed me into memory lane recalling Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s visit to China soon after her assumption of office in early 1989. I have had the pleasure of accompanying her father martyred Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1974 to Beijing when both of its great leaders-Chairman Mao and Prime Minister Zhou en-Lai-were alive. The great warmth and unprecedented reception extended to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was a clear manifestation of the love and affection that Bhutto sahib had infused in consolidating Pakistan’s relations with China taking it to unsurpassable heights of friendship. It was Benazir Bhutto’s “sentimental journey”. Obviously she was excited-she had been to Beijing with her father in 1972. She had seen closely its top political hierarchy. She knew the depth of relations that her father had achieved with the Chinese leadership. Her trip besides being nostalgic was an opportunity to pick up the pieces and revive ties with China to the same height that Bhutto sahib had left. Premier Bhutto had more than two and a half hour long private meeting with Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng. They covered vast areas of bilateral relations, Pakistan’s role under Benazir’s leadership in global and regional politics. Being a senior leader Li Peng gave her his world view of the possible future course of currents and cross currents in global politics. His advice to Bhutto served as a guiding principle for her foreign policy. She also had more than 90-minute long meeting with Supreme leader aging Deng Xiaopeng. I being one of those very few fortunate ones who were trusted to share what transpired between the two prime ministers. Bibi disclosed that Li Peng stressed upon her to concentrate on economic development. He was aware of Pakistan’s concerns over the unresolved Kashmir issue. He told her never to allow the situation to reach a point of no return and that she should follow China’s policy with India notwithstanding its tense border dispute and increase trade. Notwithstanding that the dispute and ever recurring skirmishes, China has developed trade and commercial ties with Delhi growing each year more than the previous. Li Peng told Benazir not to ever allow situation to drift in a manner that would retard trade and economic relations. Finally, about Kashmir, he advised “don’t talk of war” pursue negotiated settlement. BIBI adopted Chinese advice as a guiding light for her. When she became Prime Minister a second time, she left no stone unturned in developing economy and making sincere efforts for the resolution of Kashmir dispute with India. She stoutly opposed doing anything that would have given India an excuse to market externally the Kashmiri intifada as a movement supported from outside as had become the case during General Musharraf’s tenure and his foolish utterances of supporting Hafiz Saeed and co. Her instructions to me as Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK were to mobilise international support for the people of Kashmir on gross violations of human rights. She believed that if any external physical support was found in aid of peaceful Kashmiri freedom struggle-it would just subvert their genuine cause. It was her considered view when her father’s statesmanship could convince Indian Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi to arrive at consensus that resulted in the Simla agreement of July 1, 1972 ushering peace that has lasted until today despite ugly turns and twists in between. Whatever, the gravity of the situation between two nuclear countries calls for revisiting Simla as a way forward and salvation for the good of the people majority of whom are living under poverty line and currently facing the fatal curse of Co-Vid19. Author is former High Commissioner of Pakistan to UK and a veteran journalist.