The Indian Prime Minister’s letter to Pakistan’s Prime Minister and its people on 23rd March 2021, celebrated as Pakistan’s Day came as a surprise to few in Pakistan and abroad.
However looking at the recent events including the statement of the Pakistan Army Chief of “burying the past”, gives a fair impression that some kind of backdoor diplomatic efforts might have played the role to ease the tensions.
The reports are that there are some mediators in between trying to normalize the relations between the two neighbours.
However, the fundamental question remains that what exactly is the compulsion on India to normalize the relations with Pakistan with this tactical retreat when it has utilized all its capabilities and resources to malign Pakistan and spread its toxic narrative around Pakistan since 2008.
A tactical retreat or a pattern?
India has hegemonic tendencies deep-rooted in their establishment and power oligarchy so can we consider the recent events as tactical Indian retreat in the overall canvas?
In the hindsight, we see that India started normalizing relations with Pakistan post-2002 at the behest of the United States administration, primarily because the US administration didn’t want India to embroil Pakistan in a fight, at the time when the US needed Pakistan to support War on Terror in Afghanistan.
Read more: How US coerced Pakistan into war on terror
Therefore the relations between India Pakistan remained normal for six years until Pervez Musharraf was in charge. Though there was progress made in trade and cultural exchanges, no substantial progress was made on the ground in regards to the Kashmir issue.
India used that 6 year period to smartly keep the Kashmir issue at standstill and soon after Musharraf stepped down from power, India started showing its teeth to Pakistan. This is primarily due to the fact that rebuking the Musharraf administration was much more difficult than the two subsequent administrations in Pakistan.
Such a behavioural pattern could be repeated by the Indian establishment in future as well. Imran Khan had adopted a stern stance over Modi’s fascist agenda in the aftermath of abolishing IOJK special status and annexing it to India.
Imran Khan was getting on the nerves of Modi in particular and the Indian oligarchy by appealing and resonating with world intelligentsia vis-à-vis IOJK and equating him with Nazis supremacist.
India might want this narrative to be toned down to maintain the current status-quo in Kashmir, therefore it has tactically retreated until there is a change of gears in the civilian administration of Pakistan.
The normalization of relations gives India another chance to hide from the world its malevolent and scandalous efforts to malign Pakistan, the details of which were shared earlier by Pakistan’s SAPM on National Security Moeed Yusuf.
A weak civilian administration that is consistently at loggerheads with Pakistan Army suits them and allows them to perpetuate their toxic narrative. It may so happen that the day Imran Khan’s govt is thrown out of power and the Zardari/Nawaz administration comes back to power, India will resume its same toxic rhetoric exactly from the spot where it has paused.
Till that time India wants to play safe with Pakistan and yet ensure that by all means current status quo in Kashmir is not disturbed.
Fast forward a few years, with a different power configuration in Pakistan. This may become a new paradigm in Indian occupied Kashmir and Pakistan’s weak administration as a weak economy might be coerced into accepting it as a reality.
Can Pakistan trust anyone?
The other question that merits a review and consideration is about how much Pakistan can trust the mediator in between. If we zoom out the entire canvas, we may get to understand some nested games here. We see that the world is currently polarized into 2 different camps primarily between the US & China.
The country which is being reported to be acting as a mediator is clearly in the US camp and has economic interests tied more strongly with India in comparison to Pakistan, therefore the mediator at itself might be acting at the behest of one superpower and may not be completely impartial.
Instead, it could be serving to neutralize the poison temporarily to ensure that the current status quo in Kashmir is maintained.
It is therefore that the resolution of the Kashmir issue may not be in the offing in the near future because it may not necessarily be within the interests of the US in the long run because it removes one leverage to contain China.
If the IOJK issue has to be solved, it will be with the partnership and involvement of big players in the region and the world itself. Until then, all these actions will only paint an elusive peace. Pakistan’s intelligence needs to learn to differentiate between optics and substance.
The author is a consultant by profession, with a keen interest in Information Security, Foreign Policy, and International Relations. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.