Modi’s second term may pose challenges for Pakistan, experts say


KARACHI: Pakistan needs to be mindful of the challenges which it may confront during the second term of Narendra Modi as Indian prime minister. This was stated by Dr. Moonis Ahmar, former Meritorious Professor of International Relations and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Karachi.

This was stated by him in a Talk on ‘Post-Indian Election Scenario: Challenges and Options for Pakistan,’ organized by the Society for Global Moderation (SGM).

Discussing the post-Indian election scenario, Dr. Ahmar said that the fact that the BJP has secured 303 seats out of 545 and Congress only 52 seats reflect the surge of Modi wave despite calculations that BJP may not win a comfortable majority.

With respect to the future of Pakistan-India relations during Modi’s second term as Indian prime minister, he said the appointment of Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, a career diplomat and son of Indian’s renowned strategic thinker Dr. K. Subrahmanyam, will have an impact on New Delhi’s relations with Pakistan.

He was of the view that Pakistan needs to be alert for challenges on the horizon and be pro-active in addressing them through sustained diplomatic efforts.

According to Dr. Moonis Ahmar, among the key challenges facing Pakistan are: Sustained aggressive and chauvinistic approach under the Narendra Modi regime; Modi’s drive to talk to Pakistan on India’s terms and conditions forcing Pakistan to abandon its age-old stance on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), accept the Line of Control (LoC) as an International border and accept New Delhi’s pre-eminent and authoritative role in the region; absorbing Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) in the Indian Union by revoking Article 370 and 35-A; depriving Pakistan of its share of water as determined under the Indus Water Treaty; dragging Pakistan in a vicious arms race merely to cause enormous burden on its fragile economy; sustaining its policy of isolating Pakistan in the region and beyond; and patronizing its supported elements in Balochistan, former FATA and Sindh.

Discussing the options available to Pakistan to confront these challenges posed by Modi regime, Dr. Ahmar said Pakistan needs to focus on the its domestic issues, particularly those related to the economy, politics and governance and it must avoid unilateral gestures of friendship and peace which are termed as a sign of weakness by the other side.

“To dispel the Indian policy to isolate Pakistan, Pakistan should focus on seeking regional connectivity, giving zero tolerance to cross-border infiltration and terrorism by rejecting Jihadi culture,” he urged.

He said that a strategic response is needed to thwart India’s attempt to change the status of occupied J&K and it must be diplomatically pressurized to resume the Comprehensive Dialogue along with dropping its stance of not participating in the 19th SAARC summit. He suggested that Pak-Indian relations can be enhanced by offering India the status of “Most Favoured Nation” (MFN) as well as allowing it to connect to Afghanistan and Central Asia via Pakistan.

Earlier, Syed Jawaid Iqbal, Chairman, Society for Global Moderation (SGM), introduced Dr. Moonis Ahmar and informed the audience about the activities of SGM, a leading think tank established in 2003. A large number of people from civil society, business, academia and foreign missions were also present on the occasion.