Process is substance

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LEON Trotsky once declared: “Process is substance; the end is irrelevant.” In politics and statecraft, the outcome of negotiations is largely determined by the process adopted. Process defines the agenda, modalities, linkages and pace of any negotiation or interaction. The final result is determined by the process and relative power of the parties.

Great power prodding, and discreet diplomacy, produced the Paris prime ministerial encounter between Pakistan and India. This, in turn, resulted in the Bangkok meeting between the national security advisers (who talked of terrorism) and, separately, between the two foreign secretaries (who discussed Kashmir, peace and security and other issues, according to Pakistani reports).