Home Global Village COAS wants good relations with India but “it takes two to tango”

COAS wants good relations with India but “it takes two to tango”

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News Analysis |

In a major gesture, Pakistan army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa reportedly said the military was ready to back the political leadership’s initiative for normalisation of relations with India.

Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday urged the country’s lawmakers to improve relations with India while assuring that their efforts will be fully backed by the Army. At a Senate committee of the House, Bajwa said, “The military is ready to back political leadership’s initiative for normalisation of relations with India.”

The threat from Indian and Afghanistan were also repeated in his address to the lawmakers. Gen Bajwa said a large part of Indian military deployments was mostly against Pakistan.

Bajwa’s address assumes significance in the face of sustained US pressure and emphasis to the Pakistani leadership on mending ties with India. Gen Bajwa address to lawmakers at the senate committee of the whole House during his first appearance before a parliamentary forum on Tuesday.

Bajwa also told the lawmakers that not only India, but the country should normalise its relations with all the other countries. Accusing India of stirring instability and terrorism in Pakistan, Bajwa said that most of the Indian army deployments were against the country.

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General Qamar Bajwa made his first appearance before a parliamentary forum and urged the lawmakers to mend ties with India. The army chief was invited by Senate chairman Raza Rabbani. He was accompanied by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Naveed Mukhtar, Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Major General Asim Munir and some other top officials.

He also accused India of fomenting instability and terrorism in Pakistan, stating that New Delhi had developed a strong nexus with Afghan intelligence agency National Directorate of Security.

The general’s offer is important because it has been alleged in many circles (both national and international – especially by India) that Pakistan’s efforts to ensure peace has been blocked by the army.

The remarks echo Bajwa’s earlier remarks in October. Bajwa was discussing security issues at an event on “interplay of economy and security” in Karachi and made the remarks while referring to Pakistan’s “external front”, which he said, “continues to remain in a flux”. General Bajwa said that Pakistan needs to remove all the vulnerabilities before they turn into threats.

“With a belligerent India on our east and an unstable Afghanistan on our west, the region remains captive due to historical baggage and negative competition,” adding, “But on our part, we are making a deliberate and concerted effort to pacify the western border through a multitude of diplomatic, military and economic initiative…”

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Pakistan desires peaceful and normal relations with its “belligerent” neighbour India but ‘it takes two to tango’, Bajwa had stated. “We have also expressed and demonstrated our genuine desire to have normal and peaceful relations with India, however, it takes two to tango,” Bajwa said.

General Qamar Bajwa made his first appearance before a parliamentary forum and urged the lawmakers to mend ties with India. The army chief was invited by Senate chairman Raza Rabbani.

He also said that Pakistan made a “deliberate and concerted effort to pacify” the country’s border with Afghanistan through diplomatic, military and economic initiatives and has also tried to boost human security in the restive tribal belt bordering Afghanistan and surrounding areas.

“With a belligerent India on our east and an unstable Afghanistan on our west, the region remains captive due to historical baggage and negative competition,” Bajwa added. On US President Donald Trump’s call for India to play a larger role in war-torn Afghanistan, Bajwa said that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi never said that he sees any role for India in Afghanistan.

On Pakistan’s economy, General Bajwa said that the low GDP must change for the country to “break the begging bowl”. “Growth has picked up but the debts are sky high. Infrastructure and energy have improved considerably but the current account balance is not in our favour,” he said. Pakistan’s foreign debt and liabilities are at $58 billion, according to data released by Pakistan’s Finance Ministry.

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Accusing India of stirring instability and terrorism in Pakistan, Bajwa said that most of the Indian army deployments were against the country.

General Bajwa had emphasized that Pakistan needs to remove all the vulnerabilities before they turn into threats. “With a belligerent India on our east and an unstable Afghanistan on our west, the region remains captive due to historical baggage and negative competition,” adding, “But on our part, we are making a deliberate and concerted effort to pacify the western border through a multitude of diplomatic, military and economic initiative…”

The threat from Indian and Afghanistan were also repeated in his address to the lawmakers. Gen Bajwa said a large part of Indian military deployments was mostly against Pakistan. He also accused India of fomenting instability and terrorism in Pakistan, stating that New Delhi had developed a strong nexus with Afghan intelligence agency National Directorate of Security.


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1 COMMENT

  1. Gen Bajwa is a pragmatic strategist who does not base his strategic outlook on prejuduce and hatred. After all, what is the basis for bitterness between our two states: partition? Well that came about as the culmination of a democratic political process, which was acceptable to all parties. Quaid e Azam had envisaged a healthy relationship between the two nations; it is heartening to note that Gen Bajwa wants to move ahead on that basis. It is the fundamentalist religiosity on either side that vitiates the atmosphere. While mercifully, we have liberal political forces who are gaining ground in Pakistan, the same cannot be said about India.

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