Date: Feb 07, 2024 Time: 07:00 PM
Book Discussion: Anger Management: The Troubled Diplomatic Relationship between India and Pakistan

The Observer Research Foundation (ORF) is delighted to invite you to the book launch and discussion of the book “Anger Management: The Troubled Diplomatic Relationship between India and Pakistan” by Amb. Ajay Bisaria, Former High Commissioner to Pakistan.

About the Book:

On 7 August 2019, High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria was expelled from Islamabad, the first time an Indian head of mission had been asked to leave by Pakistan. His expulsion marked yet another low in the troubled relationship between the two neighbors. The latest diplomatic row followed the dismantling of Article 370 in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir, but the hostility had been ratcheting up for a while, with the Pakistani terror attack in Pulwama, followed by the Indian airstrikes on terrorists in Balakot, and the grandstanding Pakistan engaged in over the return of a captured Indian Air Force pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman.

This book looks in eye-opening detail at all these incidents that took place while the author was India’s top diplomat in Pakistan, including blunders by Imran Khan, the then Pakistani prime minister, and parleys engaged in by the powerful head of the Pakistani army, General Qamar Bajwa. The author also describes his interactions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and key members of the Indian establishment as they dealt with the multiple crises that took place during that time.

After providing readers with a gripping account of the events witnessed, the author goes deep into the conflict and tension that have characterized the connection between the countries. He looks at this fractious history from a unique perspective, that of Indian diplomats who have served in Pakistan from Independence onwards. These were the people responsible for managing the situation on the ground, even as the actions of prime ministers, presidents, and generals made the news headlines. India’s envoys were expected to deal with all manner of occurrences from routine matters to rather more taxing things such as dealing with dictators and engaging in backchannel talks with their counterparts and other Pakistani officials (accounts of which have only recently been declassified) when ties were strained, dodging spies, and even on occasion having to endure verbal and physical abuse from thugs and the Pakistani intelligence services. Equally, for all the stresses they had to endure, the warmth and friendship they received from ordinary Pakistanis made many of them hope that one day the cantankerousness and bloodshed that blighted Indo-Pak ties would be replaced by normalcy, if not enduring bonds of warmth and amity.

The stories about what these diplomats were able to do during their time in Pakistan provide the reader with fresh insights into most of the pivotal moments in the relationship. Besides his in-depth analysis of history and current events, the author offers a reasoned plan of how India and Pakistan might be able to arrive at a lasting peace. Masterfully blending scholarship, telling revelations, memoir, and history, Anger Management is a remarkable study of the diplomatic engagement between India and Pakistan.

Venue Address

Jacaranda Hall, India Habitat Centre