Pakistan’s first-ever National Security Policy (NSP) sparked quite the storm in India. The frenzy comes as Pakistan proposed better relations with India in the NSP.
According to the NSP, “Pakistan wishes to improve its relationship with India”. It also reiterates its call for the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute which will set the tone for bilateral relations with India. The NSP listed obstacles facing Pak-India relations for example India’s military adventurism, rising Hindutva-driven politics in India, and disinformation targetting Pakistan.
Nevertheless, “Pakistan continues to believe in resolving all outstanding issues through”. Since economic diplomacy and peace with immediate neighbors is the central theme of NSP, Indian media is presenting the narrative that Pakistan is eyeing peace with India for trade purposes to save itself from economic failure and bankruptcy.
Important to note, the NSP itself did not propose ‘no hostility for 100 years’ as Indian media is touting. A Pakistani newspaper quoted an official saying, “We are not seeking hostility with India for the next 100 years. The new policy seeks peace with immediate neighbors.”
Pakistan's first National Security Policy seeks peace with India, 'no hostility for 100 years'. Can India trust Pakistan?
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) January 13, 2022
The official had also clarified that Pakistan’s shift to geo-economics does not necessarily mean the country will overlook its geo-strategic and geo-political interests. To clarify, any thaw in Pak-India relations still strictly depends on the resolution of the Kashmir dispute and the willingness of India to start a dialogue regarding the matter.
On a more important note, the official also asserted that there were no prospects of rapprochement with India under the current Modi-led government in New Delhi.
Read more: Narendra Modi: The cause of agony in India
India’s reaction to Pakistan’s National Security Policy
According to most Indians, Pakistan’s National Security Policy is a “trap”. Similarly, India’s Lt Gen Sanjay Kulkarni hit out at Pakistan and said it is India’s rival and home to terrorists.
Lt Gen Kulkarni also termed Pakistan a “vessel state for China”. Regarding this, some Indians said China plays a major role in Pakistan’s policy towards India. Therefore, the NSP is a trick to lower India’s guard.
Meanwhile, Indian media claimed that through the new policy, Pakistan appears to be seeking a “lifeline from India to resume trade”.
Please read the 'Kashmir' section and 'India' section of the NSP released today (pg.35&36) to understand that nowhere does it say Pakistan wants 100 years of no war with India at the cost of Kashmir or that trade MUST resume! Fake news and misinterpretation must be refuted. pic.twitter.com/DF5N6bHjOV
— Sʜᴀʜᴢᴀɪʙ Bᴜᴋʜᴀʀɪ (@sbukhari151) January 14, 2022
On a more positive note, some Indian netizens appreciated the effort on Pakistan’s part and expressed support for friendly ties.
“They are more sensible than we in India. Let’s bury the past and start living like good neighbors,” one Indian Twitter user wrote.
They are more sensible than we in India. Let’s bury the past and start living like good neighbours. Unfortunately BJP and it’s mentor do not want that to happen. Because their vote bank gets eroded.
— Veturi Chiranjeevi (@Veturi2011) January 12, 2022