Two nuclear neighbors in South Asia continue to draw world’s attention for their constant badmouthing towards each other. After the famous Ufa agreement in Russia on 10th July this year the Pakistani side backtracked on their promises to initiate talks on agreed parameters. India claimed victory on Ufa statement and Pakistan retaliated by upping the ante on the K word and India insisted, the National Security Advisor level talks must be held on the issue of terror first, as agreed in Ufa.
The aftermath of the cancelled talks, scheduled to be held on 25th August, between India and Pakistan at the National Security Advisors level has led to more bitterness among the leaders and people of the two countries. There has been verbal duel between the leaders of the two nations. From army Generals to Government leaders and ruling party, both sides never lose an opportunity to strike verbal blows and threatening total devastation. Pakistani leaders use the N word on every occasion to warn India to offset their inferiority in traditional weapons against India and India never fails to remind the Pakistanis that they are engaged in terror and possess Dawood Ibrahim the most wanted criminal and terrorist fugitive from India, who has not only be given shelter in Karachi, but also has been allowed to have most flourishing business in real estate.
War of words
That Dawood is in Pakistan is an open secret, but Pakistan continue to deny as he is the most important asset for Pakistan. Recently Indian minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore revealed in a very unprofessional manner, that there is a secret plan to neutralize Dawood in Pakistan. This along with a statement of Indian Army Chief General Dalbir Singh that Indian Army is ready to fight a short war, infuriated the Pakistani Chief Of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif so much that he threatened India with dire consequences. He said that India will have to bear unbearable cost of short or long war and called Kashmir as the unfinished agenda of Partition. In reply the Indian minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh hit back saying that Jammu and Kashmir was and would remain integral part of India and if “ there is any subject related to J&K and Pakistan it is how the parts of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir can be again included in India.”
The stridency on the part of Pakistan has gone a little higher. With the international assessment of Pakistan emerging as third biggest nuclear force after USA and Russia, Pakistan’s national morale has gone very high. They have been challenging India to launch even a surgical strike against terrorist shelters and training camps, while making Indian entities a constant target of terrorist attacks. In recent months, the fortune of Pakistan has seen a turn around. The country which was till last year being treated as a pariah state has suddenly become a darling of USA and European powers and even Russia has decided to sell attack helicopters to Pakistan, ignoring India’s sensitivities.
The US led Western powers are now treating Pakistan with kid gloves, saying that Pakistan must he helped to take it out of terrorist morass by helping in the economic revival of the country. But they knowingly ignore the fact that Pakistan has been diverting the fund for military modernization. Pakistan’s first priority has been to modernize its armed forces and nuclear capacity. Pakistan has received the clearance of supply of more than billion dollar worth of arms from USA. On the other hand China has adopted Pakistan as frontline state in its One Road One Belt policy and has committed US$ 46 billion of investment for building the mountainous highway, tunnels, pipelines connecting Pakistani port Gwadar with Chinese city of Kashgar, which is also a stepping stone of Islamic terrorists from Xinjiang.
In this backdrop Pakistan has upped its ante against India. The constant violation of Ceasefire on the International border and Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir has resulted in statements from Indian leaders that they will retaliate with double force and cause much harm to them. This sends a wrong message to the international community that India Pakistan relations are once again on the boiling point, as it is the Pakistani foreign ministry which almost daily summons the Indian High Commissioner for lodging of protest.
When Narendra Modi assumed the responsibility of world’ largest democratic government, he sent an invite to the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to attend his oath taking ceremony on 26th May, last year. Both leaders decided to resume talks and India first decided to send its Foreign Secretary (then Sujatha Singh) to Pakistan. But Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi sent an invite to the Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders. Learning of this Pakistani move India advised the Pakistani High Commissioner to cancel the invite to the Hurriyat leaders. Pakistan refused and India cancelled the Islamabad meeting, which was supposed to be the first India-Pakistan talks after September 2012, when the then Indian external affairs minister S M Krishna visited Islamabad and Lahore.
The previous UPA Government led by Manmohan Singh was ignoring such invites by Pakistani High Commission to the Hurriyat, but Modi government has taken a firm decision to reduce the role of Hurriyat leaders in Kashmir and instead give precedence to the elected State leaders. Jammu and Kashmir has an elected Assembly, which should be part of any talks process between India and Pakistan. The current Modi government has reversed this policy, indicating that he will have a hard-line policy on Kashmir, in which the separatists would have no place.
The tough stand taken by India on the issue of Hurriyat, has put the India- Pakistan talks process once again in deep freeze. The million dollar question is who will blink first. India cannot get back to Pakistan by relenting on the Hurriyats and Pakistan cannot talk to India without first scheduling a meeting with the Hurriyats. Pakistan has harped on K-word so much that the next talks cannot be scheduled without Kashmir on the agenda and India has focused on terrorism so strongly that India will not be fast forwarding the talks process without Pakistan taking a serious visible action against the terrorists led by Hafiz Saeed who masterminded the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. Pakistan has provoked India by releasing Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi from jail. The world community has also taken a note of this.
The Ufa statement also envisaged the talks between the Director Generals of the Pakistan Rangers and Indian Border Security Force and the Director Generals of the Military Operations of the two Armies. However Pakistan agreed only for Pakistan Rangers and BSF. Though the two forces agreed to take joint measures to curb the incidence of ceasefire violations on the International Borders, and Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh promised to the Pakistan Rangers Director General that India will never be the first to initiate firing on the borders, the Pakistani side responded by saying that since they do not form the part of the Pakistani leadership, they cannot promise such commitment.
This shows the Pakistani mindset on maintenance of peace and tranquility on the International Border and the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. The hesitation on the part of Pakistan to facilitate a meeting between the DGMOs of Indian and Pakistani armies, also speaks volumes of Pakistani designs towards India.