India importing instability into the region

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  • Who’s dragging the issue now?

The humanitarian gesture by Pakistan to open the Kartarpur border and build a corridor for the Sikha pilgrims from India to facilitate their access to Gurdawara Baba Nanek sahib and the hope that it would prove a positive move towards amity between India and Pakistan, has regrettably been dashed to the ground by the intransigence of the Indian government. The statement by the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj that the opening of Kartarpur corridor was not connected with the dialogue process with Pakistan and ruling out the possibility of accepting an invitation for Modi to attend SAARC Summit in Islamabad amply proves that there has been no change in the Indian mindset in regard to mending fencing with Pakistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan while talking to the Indian journalists who had come to cover the opening ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor was right on money in pointing out that Pakistan did not receive positive response from India regarding bilateral talks and in reminding the world that the mindset of the Modi-led government was the main hurdle in the commencement of the dialogue. One can hardly take an issue with his assertion that there was a consensus within Pakistan on the question of developing relations with India. The civilian and military leadership is on the same page in that regard as was evident from repeated offers made to India by both for the initiation of the dialogue process to resolve the disputes between them. There has been a substantial change in the Pakistani mindset towards India because Pakistan is convinced that dialogue was the only way forward. Peace in the region and normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan require matching yearning on both sides to take the plunge because it takes two to tango. Analyst believe that the Indian agreement to the Pakistani proposal of opening the Kartarpur corridor was only a political ploy to gain sympathies of the Sikh voters in the coming general elections in India.

The continued Indian hostility towards Pakistan and her bellicose posturing besides unrelenting persecution and killing of Kashmiris in IHK indicates that India was in no mood to lower the bar. Keeping the LOC and working boundary hot was a deliberate Indian ploy to put pressure on Pakistan and also to divert the attention of the world community from the atrocities being committed by the Indian security forces in IHK. India was trying to isolate Pakistan in the region and had not let go any opportunity at the regional and global level to portray Pakistan as a villain and promoter of terrorism notwithstanding the fact India itself was fomenting insurgency in Balochistan and sponsoring acts of terrorism within Pakistani territory. Pakistan has presented irrefutable evidence to the UN, USA and other world leaders in that regard but regrettably they are not pushed about it. The US and her allies instead keep putting pressure on Pakistan by giving credence to what India has been saying. That is a reward to India for protecting their strategic and commercial interests in the region and doing their bidding in checking the burgeoning Chinese influence in the region and beyond.

India was actually importing instability in the region by becoming strategic partner of the US and conniving with her to further the objectives of its ‘contain China’ policy including sabotaging CPEC which also hurts Pakistani strategic and economic interests. India was also encouraged to threaten peace and security in the region by the indifference of the US and its western allies to what it was doing in the IHK. India is a strategic partner of the US in this region and not Pakistan. The nosedive in relations between US and Pakistan triggered by the coercive attitude of the Trump administration is a strong pointer to the fact that Pakistan would have to brace for strained relations with her for a long time to come as well as the India animosity.

What the Indian leadership failed to realise was that its strategic and economic interests were inextricably linked to the region where it belonged. And those interests could only be well served by promoting peace and security in the region through improving relations with the neighbouring countries, more so with Pakistan through earnest efforts to resolve the outstanding disputes between the two countries, including the core issue of Kashmir. The people of Kashmir were fighting for their inalienable right of self-determination as enshrined in the UN resolutions. That movement cannot be muzzled with guns and oppression as is evident from the ever increasing intensity in its momentum. India needs to accept that ultimate reality and act decisively before it is too late.

What the Indian leadership failed to realise was that its strategic and economic interests were inextricably linked to the region where it belonged. And those interests could only be well served by promoting peace and security

Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of the partition and Indian leaders who took the matter to the UN had not only given commitment to implement the UN resolutions but had also repeatedly reiterated their pledge to settle the question of accession of Kashmir to either of the two dominions through a reference to the people. Indian somersault on that stance has neither been accepted by the UN as enunciated in its resolutions 91 and 122 nor accepted by the people of Kashmir as well as Pakistan which is very much a party to the dispute.

It is obligatory on the UN as a peace promoting body to have its own resolutions on Kashmir implemented and fulfill its obligations towards the people of Kashmir. The world community also has to show its commitment to the universally acknowledged right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir and put pressure on India to resolve the Kashmir dispute.