Mustansar Hussain Tasir |
Many saw it as a ray of hope when the Indian external affairs ministry confirmed that, in response to Pakistan’s plea, foreign ministers of Pakistan and India would meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that is scheduled for next week. After a day only, on September 21, in an unfortunate move, the Narendra Modi-led Indian government backed out of the talks. Regrettably, the long-awaited prospect of rapprochement between two poverty-stricken and population-ridden South Asian nuclear states has vanished in a puff of smoke as the India traditional intransigence came again in the way while the world was celebrating the International Day of Peace.
India’s press release, that rejected the meeting, was truly infantile and the two excuses sound extremely childish. Declining the offer, Indian foreign ministry said “latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities and the recent release of a series of twenty postage stamps by Pakistan glorifying a terrorist and terrorism”. It is, however, nothing new. Indian has a long history of obduracy with a solid back-tracking record.
India’s declared water aggression, unprovoked shelling on the borders and resultant killing and injuring of locals. Then recently, India’s expeditious lobbying and taking serious pains against Pakistan to host Saarc summit.
It might appear something India-bashing. Also, I am saying so not because everything is perfect on our side. Those in power corridors here do make mistakes rather commit blunders and there is no second opinion that Pakistan seriously needs to make tough choices and difficult decision for the achievement of peace and stability in the region. India has gone at extreme particularly after Modi got his hand on the tiller, gnawing on all the hopes of normalizations. Bracing hostility and antagonism has only added to the mistrust and consolidated the existing stalemate.
At this point in time, Modi government is behaving as if just Pakistan direly needs reconciliation which is no more in the position to afford rivalry with India. It’s a sheer misperception. Truth is that the social sectors in both countries are in a perpetual disarray. Both nations are in a race to meet their security dilemmas and the resultant arms competitions are taking lion’s share of their national economies. According to Census-2011 data, reported Times of India, 8.4 crore children don’t go to schools at all. Needless to mention that their population’s access to food and health facilities are no different than ours. They would have to admit the fact that in many areas they are even worse than Pakistan.
Read more: Bilateralism between India and Pakistan
So, if some Indians have got this fallacy that they are in the land of milk and honey, they must clear their head. India must take Pakistan’s offers for the resumption of dialogue seriously for the good of its people. Imran Khan in his victory speech and then after assumption of PM office expressed positivity and cordiality towards India. Despite knowing the political impact of such statements, Khan pledged two steps towards India if it takes one. As India has been continuously playing terrorism card for its rigid attitude, PM Khan in his letter to Modi addressing the PM as “Modi Sahab”, vowed to talk on terrorism first.
“Pakistan and India have an undeniably challenging relationship. We, however, owe it to our peoples, especially the future generations, to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, to bridge differences and achieve a mutually beneficial outcome,” said Khan. It was unprecedented though, yet the offer failed to bring Indian authorities out of their shell. The irony of the fate is both reasons of India’s rejection are related to Kashmir. Though this is not the first time that India has shown such an attitude due to some happenings inside Kashmir, however, particularly after the UN’s first-ever report on the human rights violations in the valley, the word ‘Kashmir’ has become a red rag to the bull for India.
India has gone at extreme particularly after Modi got his hand on the tiller, gnawing on all the hopes of normalizations. Bracing hostility and antagonism has only added to the mistrust and consolidated the existing stalemate.
India, for very long time, has been in a perception that it has successfully papered over its malpractices in Kashmir but UN report has not only exposed everything but also wreaked historical loss to the country’s “managed repute”. The world could plainly assess its extreme annoyance when India, in a fit of pique, overreacted to the report. Even other than Kashmir issue, everything that has some connection with Pakistan would make India infuriated. The recent example of Navjot Sidhu’s arrival in Pakistan, wearing peace turban, in PM Imran Khan oath-taking ceremony.
He was extended overflowing love and respect by Pakistanis. During the ceremony, he would sit beside the president of Kashmir and had a hug with Pakistan’s army chief. Sidhu would speak many positive words about Pakistanis and he expressed high hopes to mend the tense relations between both neighbours. “Gen Bajwa Sahab hugged me and said, ‘We want peace’. So, let’s swim in a blue ocean and shun red ocean. It’s my dream,” the guest said during his talk at a news conference after the ceremony.
Sidhu attended Khan’s swearing-in ceremony in a friend’s capacity, yet he was screwed hard by Indian mainstream and the social media users in their traditional bid to kill any probabilities of affability between the two arch-rivals. So much so, a sedition case filed against him for hugging Pakistan army chief. What does it mean? It means no one in India can dare talk peace with Pakistan? Isn’t it really unfortunate? Whose interest this tendency would serve? Believe it or not, it’s in no one’s interest.
Though this is not the first time that India has shown such an attitude due to some happenings inside Kashmir, however, particularly after the UN’s first-ever report on the human rights violations in the valley, the word ‘Kashmir’ has become a red rag to the bull for India.
Pakistan, on the other hand, appears to have learnt from the past. Their unique chemistry depicts that both military and civilian leadership is now on the same page over the issue of peace with neighbours. After a long time, Pakistan’s foreign policy sounds peace-oriented. Which is indubitably in Pakistan’s own interest more than any other state owing to the country’s prevailing internal security landscape and economic conditions. Other than India, Pakistan is also eager to make necessary peaceful settlements with its western neighbour; Afghanistan. Pakistan’s foreign minister’s recent visit to the war-torn country is significant.
Read more: Pakistan’s democracy test: An Indian view
Pakistan is cognizant of Indian forces’ exacerbation of the situation through their gross human rights violations. Again, despite having Indian terror-engineering officer Kulbhushan Yadav in its custody and have already presented in the UN dossiers containing evidence of India’s involvement in Balochistan. India’s declared water aggression, unprovoked shelling on the borders and resultant killing and injuring of locals. Then recently, India’s expeditious lobbying and taking serious pains against Pakistan to host Saarc summit.
Actually, India’s coercive policies, its persistent search to smash Pakistan, and its such other moves to harm Pakistan have failed to stop Pakistan aspiring peace. Still, willingness to resume the peace process is probably due to Pakistan’s strong realization that there is no other way out of the existing dilemma but the settlement of all the contending issues peacefully. Isn’t it a depiction of Pakistan’s unique positivity and flexibility? Isn’t it worth reciprocating?
The writer is an independent research analyst based in Islamabad and contributes to many national media publications. He is an M.Phil Scholar at School of Politics and International Relations (SPIR), Quaid-I-Azam University Islamabad. His areas of interests include; Strategic and Security affairs of Middle East, South Asia especially the Indian Ocean Region. firstname.lastname@example.org The views expressed in this article are authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.