India needs to create a constituency of goodwill among Pakistani people to protect its own interests, Shashi Tharoor, Congress MP and former Union Minister, today said.
Participating in a debate on 'India and Pakistan can never be friends' at the Tata litfest here tonight, the former Union Minister also called for enhanced people-to-people cooperation to improve bilateral ties.
"There should be more communication between the people of both countries. Create an umbrella where artists, the fashion designers and genuine businesspersons would interact more frequently, form associations which would create a constituency of goodwill," Tharoor said.
It would help ease some tough negotiations with the Pakistani Government, he said.
The basic difference between India and Pakistan was that "while in India the state has the Army, in Pakistan the Army has the state," Tharoor quipped.
Ex-Army officer and defence expert Maroof Raza, military historian Shiv Kunal Verma and former diplomat Pawan Varma also participated in the debate.
Raza said there was little hope for friendship between the neighbouring countries "at least during my lifetime'.
The Pakistani Army was trying to do another Bangladesh on India with Kashmir issue, he said.
"Pakistan's approach towards India changes when it comes to Kashmir," he said.
"After the terror attacks in India, including the 26/11 attacks, several dossiers were sent to Pakistan from time to time comprising phone call details, contacts and photos but they were flatly denied by Pakistan," Raza said.