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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Will Track-II diplomacy help Pakistan normalize ties under PM Modi rule?

Pakistan and India have always shared the status of arch-rival in between them, be it politics, relations or sports. Pakistan has been trying to resume peace talks with India but Indian PM Modi is not interested as his whole political campaign is built on anti-Pakistan narrative.

News Analysis |

Pakistan and India are reportedly using different channels to normalize the relationship between the two neighboring countries. Delegations are scheduled to meet today in Islamabad. The delegations from the two countries will include foreign office officials and former envoys as well.

In the first phase, the talks for reviving Track-II diplomacy will take place in the capital of Pakistan and continue for two days and in the second phase, same shall take place in New Delhi, India.

Two countries were at the brink of war in February this year after more than forty Indian soldiers were killed in a bomb blast in Pulwama. Indian authorities immediately held Pakistan responsible for the killing of their security personnel. Pakistan denied the allegations and demanded any actionable evidence.

Modi focus on anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan narrative was visible but not over-dominating in his election campaigns

On February 26 India claimed to carry out air strikes on what ‘it called’ a militant training camp at Balakot inside Pakistan. The claim India remained to factually back at international stage. Journalists and civil society members visited the place and did not find any camps as claimed by Indian authorities. However, the next day, Pakistan Air Force, in retaliatory action, downed two Indian aircraft, captured Indian Wing Commander Abhinandan who was then released as a goodwill gesture by Pakistan.

Now the efforts are being made to ensure peace between the two nuclear-armed states. Analysts in Pakistan believe that these efforts may not prove fruitful because of the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who sold out an anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan narrative to win the recent Indian general elections.

Imran Khan & India

Since the time PM Khan assumed his office he made several efforts to resume talks with India with an intention to resolve all issues ranging from Kashmir to terrorism. He approached Indian Prime Minister and foreign office through formal channels but his invitation of talks and cooperation were rejected by the Indian administration. At one moment, the premier had to say “small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture.”

Dr. Moeed Pirzada in his talk-show Hard Talk Pakistan on 92 News maintained that India was not willing engage with Pakistan because of its strategic interests. “I have been arguing for last 8 to 10 years that the Indian establishment did not want to get engaged with authorities in Pakistan due to their complex strategic interests in the region.

But, at the same time, India has been able to convince the world by using some optics that she was interested to have a dialogue with Pakistan but the latter is allegedly sponsoring terrorism in India which is not in line with the international protocols,” he added.

Read more: India-Pakistan relations post-Indian elections – Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

Mr. Shamshad Ahmad Khan agreed with Dr. Pirzada and added that the Indian is following the policy since after 9/11. “It is not in the interest of India to engage with Pakistan due to its several internal and regional complexities,” he said.

Political commentators believe that PM Modi won his first election while focusing on questioning the status quo, upgrading economy, eliminating poverty and making India great. His focus on anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan narrative was visible but not over-dominating in his election campaigns.

But during the recent general election, Modi, who could not provide Indian people with what he had promised to, entirely built up his election campaign on anti-Pakistan rhetoric which bore fruits for him. That was the reason that Modi did not invite PM Khan in his oath-taking ceremony which clearly indicated his domestic anti-Pakistan position.