Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to the people of Pakistan on 23rd March and his tweet to Prime Minister Imran Khan for his recovery from the Corona Virus created quite a noise in the media.
Many analysts started seeing this as an unexpected change between Pakistan and India’s relation. It came out as a shocker for many because when Imran Khan came into power, he offered a hand of peace towards India but the Modi government was aggressive and harsh in its policy towards Pakistan.
In recent developments, Pakistan and India have started talking over cross border firing issues and water disputes after a long gap.
The Balakot Strike, Muslims and Kashmir
When India entered Pakistan’s airspace and created a narrative of killing terrorists when in actuality they killed 3 or 4 trees which was a “huge loss” to Pakistan’s green plantation drive, things started to get worse between both countries, especially since Pakistan replied to India by shooting down their fighter jet and the whole ‘Abhinandan’ incident.
It was all part of the buildup in shaping negative relationships between two countries. The Modi-led-Indian government then kept its aggressive policy towards Pakistan and tried to achieve their long lost goal in Kashmir. It was like adding more spice to the already burned relations between Pakistan and India.
Later India decided to not add Muslims to their Citizen Amendment act. This is where things started to go wrong with the Indian image in the international circle.
India was started to see as an Anti-Muslim State rather than a secular state and many Indians living in foreign countries were also unhappy with this shift and policy of spreading hate.
The Joe Biden effect
The USA is currently going through the process of recovery after taking damaging hits during Donald Trump’s tenure. Joe Biden, the current President of America, is also someone who has a close eye on foreign policy and he has worked on it over the years.
Even though the USA has no shift in policy towards India, Joe Biden and his administration want a strong relationship with India to hold back China in this region but they also want to keep India in control against the minority.
Donald Trump during his presidency didn’t bother much about what India is doing; he was only interested in focusing on what’s coming to his advantage. Apart from mentioning Kashmir two or three times, he gave free hand to India.
President Joe Biden, as mentioned, will also want good relations with India but he will keep check and balance on India’s action against neighbours like Pakistan and Nepal. They will also force India to change its harsh tone on Indian Muslims.
One of the major reasons behind this is Joe Biden’s own ideology as well as the presence of many Indians in Biden’s administration who feel disgusted by India’s hate policy. This whole ‘trying to be nice’ gesture of India towards Pakistan is nothing but a part of the con game that the Modi government is playing in this region.
Also, let’s be clear that Joe Biden, despite being a popular choice to be US President, in many Pakistani analysts’ viewpoint is not Pakistan’s best friend. Having him on the top seat doesn’t mean Pakistan will be on the USA’s friend’s list.
The USA will always prefer India over Pakistan as they want to keep China in control. Pakistan has done well for the USA on the Afghanistan peace issue in the last 1 year or so, but despite that, the response of the USA hasn’t been what Pakistan would expect.
What should Pakistan do?
Many in Pakistan are considering it as a win for Pakistan’s foreign policy that India is now finally coming to the table for peace talks but in actual it’s not because of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
There is no doubt that Pakistan in the last 2 years has done well on foreign policy as Pakistan has been able to reach the US lobby and tried to get something out of nothing. Pakistan also kept a balanced tone despite aggressions from India.
Read more: Pakistan’s pragmatic foreign policy
Pakistan replied to India with a muscle show when needed, and kept their senses when it was required. India, however, wanted to push Pakistan into a place where they will have no option left but to fall into this trap.
Pakistan also wants to keep their borders safe and it’s in the best interest of Pakistan to normalize their relations with India but to take these steps where India will try to get face-saving and create good repute in Biden’s administration is where Pakistan needs to think that how much Pakistan will allow India to take advantage of it.
It will all depend on Prime Minister Imran Khan and how he will assess the situation.
Modi’s shift in policy towards Pakistan is all because he wants to please the Biden administration and further enhance India’s entry into the US market that can help them in intelligence sharing, buying weapons and as well as creating jobs.
This act of India has nothing to do with Pakistan’s well-done work on the foreign front but just a con game by India for its own benefits.
The author is an MPhil scholar, analyst and journalist with expertise in national and international politics. He can be reached at thefahadqureshi@gmail.