Nawaz Sharif is finally coming to India. Being seen a masterstroke by Narendra Modi, the move is being discussed as a diplomatic coup for Pakistan.
There were obvious voices in India when the Indian Foreign Office sent invitation to the SAARC country heads, the regional block of eight South Asian nations.
But the voices of opposition were not criticising the decision the way political criticism on a serious (hostile) issue is delivered, except the invitation to Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, one of the two major talking points on the SAARC invitation exercise (apart from the routine stuff, like initiating the process to place the South Asian house in order).
On Sri Lanka, where Tamils are protesting the brutalities against the Sri Lankan Tamils and Jayalalitha, the TN CM, is boycotting the swearing-in, the reactions on Pakistan invitation were routine in India. Everyone knew it is a win-win situation for Mr. Modi irrespective of the ‘turnout’.
Now that Sharif is coming, Modi will be credited with taking a bold step to initiate the process of setting relations with Pakistan on a normalization course. If Sharif could not have made it, Modi was going to have an upper edge in putting Pakistan on the backfoot on international platforms (and Modi’s oratory is capable of achieving the objective).
Yes, but the way it created an issue out of nowhere in Pakistan, has made for the headlines, in Pakistan, in India and elsewhere keeping tab on India-Pakistan issue.
The whole Pakistan sounded to be gripped by the ‘stickiness’ of the issue as if nothing else was to be discussed. In spite of Nawaz Sahrif sounding positive to it, it took him some time before he could say the final ‘yes’, only after he could get the go-ahead from the universally powerful (in Pakistan obviously) Pakistan Army and its chief. Both beings ‘Sharifs’ didn’t help Mr. Nawaz Sharif.
The way Sharif’s trip to India to join Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony was opposed by the powerful personalities and institutions in Pakistan and the fact that in spite of all that, Mr. Sharif is coming to India, tell us Pakistan’s political establishment was forced to take this decision by the Modi’s deft move, silencing his critics in India and Indian fundamentalists expecting a hardline against Pakistan and opening a channel with Pakistan, a Muslim republic having history of being the sworn enemy of India.
The consequences could have been seriously paying for the Pakistani political establishment that survives on a leased life from the Pakistani Army. The pressure from the international community including from the US is a major contributor in sustaining the lease period.
Now, not responding to this invitation that can come out to be an ice-breaker in bringing India-Pak talks back on track (symbolically, perceivably), would certainly put Mr. Sharif in an awkward position in the international community.
And an edge to Mr. Modi over Mr. Sharif in the international community would certainly weaken position of Mr. Sharif in Pakistan where the built-up fanaticism against India has been main course of the political diatribe for decades.
Now that Mr. Sharif is coming to India, he has a chance to sound and act parallel to Mr. Modi with a bilateral meeting between the two leaders scheduled for May 27 and Mr. Sharif would be counting his cards to make his move(s).
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/