The opening of the Kartarpur corridor linking the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur, Punjab, and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Guru Nanak’s final resting place, located in Pakistan, is a welcome break from the monotony of hostility in India-Pakistan relations. This collaborative move by the two governments to address a felt need of the Sikh community in India holds out hope that two countries can find a way to address other outstanding issues. India needs to maintain cautious optimism, while not letting hope override experience.

India recognises the importance of dialogue for ensuring peace and stability in the region. New Delhi has consistently maintained that it is not adverse to dialogue but it will require Islamabad to give up its use of terror as an instrument of State policy. So far, Islamabad has been less than willing to go the distance, choosing instead to justify its actions. India recognises the potential of the opening of the Kartarpur corridor for building a positive momentum. This is evident from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address in which he thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Pakistani government for understanding the sentiments of Indians and speeding up the completion of the corridor. For his part, the Pakistan prime minister expressed hope that the two countries would turn the corner, some way down the corridor. However, his immediate pirouette to Kashmir shows his domestic audience, including the virulent participants of the anti-government Azadi march, now in its third week, does not give him much leeway to pursue rapprochement.

India is open to building on a positive moment. It must continue to maintain this outlook. At the same time, New Delhi must address the heightened security concerns that the opening up of this corridor present, as well as the hostilities inspired from across the border that show no sign of ceasing in Kashmir. India must stay willing to engage – with those willing to work for peace and with those eager to pursue politics by other means, with the treatment that is effective with either contingent.