PAKISTAN SAYS SHARIF-JINDAL MEETING LAST MONTH WAS PART OF BACK-CHANNEL DIPLOMACY

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

According to media reports in Pakistan quoting a BBC Urdu report, its civilian government has briefed the Pak army about recent meeting between Nawaz Sharif and Indian businessman Sajjan Jindal terming it a part of ‘back channel diplomacy’.

According to a Geo News report quoting the BBC Urdu report, Nawaz Sharif had recently met Pak army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa to take him into confidence over the meet. The report also claims that Jindal’s visit and his meeting with Nawaz Sharif was initiated by India to reduced tension between two countries. After Sharif met Bajwa with his explanation, the Pak army chief took other Pak army commanders into confidence over the high profile visit.

On April 27, Sajjan Jindal, who is brother of steel tycoon Naveen Jindal and managing director of the JSW Steel, had met with Nawaz Sharif at his Murree’s residence in what was then described as a secret meeting. The meeting had created a ripple in Pakistan’s politics with Nawaz Sharif’s political opposition raising fingers over the visit at a time when relations between two nations were low historically. The meeting was also widely reported in India, as it came in the aftermath of Pakistan’s sham trial giving death sentence to an innocent Indian Kulbhushan Jadhav.

The Pakistan foreign office had then adopted silence over it while Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif had tweeted to say that his father and Mr. Jindal were old friends and the meeting should not be blown out of proportion.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif‏Verified account
@MaryamNSharif
Mr. Jindal is an old friend of the Prime Minister. Nothing ‘secret’ about the meeting & should not be blown out of proportion. Thank you.
7:38 PM – 27 Apr 2017

According to The News International, “Nawaz Sharif was tight-lipped on the meeting. However, the only detail of the meeting he shared with his aides was that Jindal was making efforts to defuse tension between India and Pakistan.”

Sajjan Jindal is a common friend of Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif and is thought to act as an interlocutor between the two.

And if we talk of back-channel diplomacy between India and Pakistan, as recently as yesterday, Nawaz Sharif’s advisor Sartaj Aziz said a meeting between Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi was possible when they would be in Kazakhstan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit on June 23-14, even if he added that “Pakistan could consider the meeting, if interest was shown from the other side (India)”, as a report in The Nation said.

©SantoshChaubey

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INDIA’S NO TO US MEDIATION: PAKISTAN SEES A WEAK INDIA!

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is modified to reflect the dateline continuity.

Pakistan reacted on expected lines on India’s snub to the US on its offer to mediate between India and Pakistan. According to a recent Dunya News report, Pakistan Foreign Office reacted saying that the Indian stand once again proves India’s ‘weak’ position on the Kashmir issue.

According to the report, Nafees Zakaria, spokesperson of the Pakistan Foreign Office said that ‘the behaviour of the neighbourly state was disappointing, adding that the weak position of India compelled it to quit Kashmir talks’. “Whenever the United States or any other global power asked to mediate the talks, India backed away,” the report quoted him saying. He added to his statement the favourite Pakistani rant of India sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan to it.

Nikki Haley, the Indian origin United States Ambassador the United Nations, had created a storm by saying that the Donald Trump administration was concerned about tension between India and Pakistan and would not wait for something to happen to intervene. She said that the US might offer to mediate between India and Pakistan to ‘de-escalate’ tension and that even President Donald Trump might come forward to play an active role.

India readily dismissed Nikki Haley’s offer saying it was India’s official position that the Kashmir issue could only be resolved through bilateral efforts and the ball was in Pakistan’s court to resume the dialogue process. It has been India’s demand, especially after the Pathankot airbase attack by Pakistan based JeM terrorists in January 2016, that terror and talks cannot go together and to resume the dialogue, Pakistan should stop sponsoring terror in India.

India’s official response was brief and specific, “Government’s position for bilateral redressal of all India-Pakistan issues in an environment free of terror and violence hasn’t changed. We of course expect international community and organisations to enforce international mechanisms and mandates concerning terrorism emanating from Pakistan, which continues to be the single biggest threat to peace and stability in our region and beyond.”

Also, experts dismissed Nikki Haley’s offer saying it might not represent the official US position on the issue. Subsequent US administrations have kept the Indian sensitivity in mind and have desisted from offering direct mediation between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.

In fact, during his campaign days, Trump had indicated that he would seek Indian help to keep ‘unstable Pakistan’s nukes’ in check. He had also said that Pakistan had double dealt the US in spite of receiving huge aid from the US. He reiterated his stand on Pakistan even after he won the US polls when he tweeted to slam Pakistan in December, “Get it straight: Pakistan is not our friend.”

Pakistan’s ruling establishment, in fact, survives on anti-India propaganda. Pakistan has no serious standing in the world. For many in the world community, it is just another country. For major global powers of the free world, it is a country with ‘unstable nukes’ as US President Donald Trump says or it is country with countless terror havens, as the world community generally believes.

So, there is immense international pressure, in spite of Pakistan’s big brother China’s backing, an autocratic economic and military giant. To counter this pressure, the Pakistani power elite does what it has been doing – drawing its sanctity back home from anti-India propaganda. The Pakistani power elite has created a fallacy in the country that India is Pakistan’s sworn enemy and they want its populace to remain trapped in that fallacy and this statement by Pakistan’s FS is just among those propaganda moments.

©SantoshChaubey

INDIA PAKISTAN THAW: IT IS IRONIC BUT..

It is ironic but two unfortunate terror strikes have come as the opportunity cost to show verbal restraint in India-Pakistan ties – something that should be identified as a ‘real time real’ development in India-Pakistan thaws.

First it was Pathankot terror strike in India – on Pathankot air base – near the Pakistan border in Indian state of Punjab. The terror strike that began early in the morning of January 1 when, like the whole world, India, too was welcoming the New Year and went on for quite some time. The attack had clear Pakistani imprints (and footprints, literally). Though the attack did not cause much damage, it dragged on for hours and caused irreparable loss with seven Indian soldiers martyred.

And first time in the known history, at least in the recent times, Pakistan reacted sincerely to the leads points its hands there – even if it was under pressure to do so – under US pressure – and under the pressure of Narendra Modi’s surprise Lahore stopover and diplomacy that ensued.

Pakistan condemned the attack and its prime minister’s office released a statement saying Pakistan was seriously working on the leads provided by India and several Jaish-eMuhamman operatives were arrested. The statement also said that a Special Investigation Team was constituted for comprehensive probe. JeM is a Pakistan based terror group that is behind this attack on Pathankot. Its chief Masood Azhar, who was in Indian jail, was swapped in 1999 Kandahar hijacking incident.

It’s true that we cannot expect much from Pakistan. That is visible from its flipflops on Masood Azhar’s arrest.

But we need to appreciate the restraint shown. Pakistan’s ruling establishment and even its military have tried to look sincere this time. Yesterday, a report came that Pakistan had assured the US of no doublespeak in Pathankot terror probe on its soil.

Let’s give Pakistan some time to see what it comes with – as it time and again – after the Pathankot air base attack incident – has reiterated that it will reveal something concrete once the probe is finished.

India bashing was regular in Pakistani media – as usual -as expected – as the stories planted on crackdown on JeM and Masood Azhar’s arrest.

The second indicator came today – with terror strike at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda district in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (KP). Around 25 people were killed when terrorists attacked the University founded in 2012 in the name of Gandhian Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan or Frontier Gandhi.

Like has been the practice in Pakistan, blaming India blindly for every terror strike, was not the case today.

No one in Pakistan’s ruling establishment, including its civilian government and its military, rushed to blame India today – and that was very sincere.

In fact Nawaz Sharif responded sensitively to Narendra Modi’s message in this crisis hour saying “this incident is yet another reminder that terrorism is our common enemy and a cooperative approach is essential to eliminate it from the region.”

Yes, as usual, a section of Pakistani media has been on an overdrive to prove Indian hand in Bacha Khan University attack – blaming Indian Embassy in Kabul and providing some phone numbers that were used – but that looks more like a ‘tit for tat’ – with India’s actionable evident provided to Pakistan in Pathankot attack incident. Hope, Pakistan government it’s all powerful army would not go into that rhetoric.

Pakistan’s ruling establishment knows that linking India to attacks in Pakistan is nothing but to appease the elements in its domestic politics – and the time is not opportune for that. Promoting unrest in India has been a state policy for Pakistan while India has always been a responsible democracy.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MASOOD AZHAR DETENTION: WHERE WAS SUSPENSE?

The news that Masood Azhar had been detained in Pakistan in Pathankot terror attack case broke like a sweeping development – taking over all in its awe.

But scratch a little and there is something familiar that worries us as – something that has worried us all in every case where perpetrators are ‘hiding’ at large in Pakistan with a respectable public life.

Unlike Dawood Ibrahim, whose presence Pakistan denies vehemently, such has not been the case with Hafiz Saeed, the LeT and JuD chief, with a US bounty of US$ 10 Million on his head. He is a highly respectable figure in Pakistan. He spews venom against India. He warns Pakistani establishment on speaking even a single word that is pro India. He regularly visits border areas in Pakistan to deliver anti-India ‘sermons’.

And such has not been the case even with Masood Azhar, even if he was an imprisoned terrorist in India who was swapped in the IC814 hijacking episode in 1999. A natural, responsible step by Pakistan would be to hand over Masood Azhar to India – because he would always remain wanted in India – with his past – with his arrest in Sringar in 1995 or his role in 2001 Parliament attack and his conviction in absentia, his role in 2008 Mumbai attacks, or in different terror attacks in India.

But India must not forget that Pakistan did not hand over Masood to America even after intense pressure in journalist Daniel Pearl murder case.

So, Pakistan is not going to detain him or arrest him for India – that is like daydreaming.

Also, it was said (or alleged) that Masood was taken in ‘protective custody’. Now what is this ‘protective custody’? You don’t need to go far and deep to know what this term legally means in Pakistan than a simple Google search.

A Google search with ‘protective custody’ returns with loads of pages saying ‘Osama bin Laden was in protective custody in Pakistan’. That is more than enough to tell us what it means. Osama enjoyed a safe life in Pakistan for years, in its military backyard – till one fine day – when America disrupted and destroyed the related ‘collective designs’.

Today’s rumour that spread like wildfire may well be intended at creating atmospherics for India-Pakistan FS level talks – that both countries are in a trap to look committed to – after Narendra Modi’s surprise Lahore visit on Nawaz Sharif’s birthday on December 25 last year.

Anyway, we can expect that something good will come out from this dilemma – that it will not work as some ‘entrapment’- because both countries are looking closest to their shared and distinctive realities now.

If Pakistan needs a ‘Pakistan’ that goes ahead on the path of development, away from a very certain scenario of nation’s disintegration, it must maintain peace with India – because most of its resources, in the situations now, are being absorbed in destabilizing India – something that is nothing but a daydreaming. A peaceful relation with the world’s third largest economy, that is also its neighbour, will give Pakistan the much needed leverage to initiate on the process of nation building.

For India, a peaceful Pakistan and peace at India Pakistan borders would help in developing areas in these conflict zones at par with other parts in the country. And obviously would smoothen the flow of energy resources from ‘energy-rich’ central Asian countries.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MODI’S NAWAZ STOPOVER

As it goes – Narendra Modi thought – and Nawaz Sharif proposed – and two met – while Narendra Modi was to leave for India via Pakistan’s airspace – as reports say..

But shouldn’t we leave the part – ‘as reports say’ – and instead should prefer to go with the part – ‘as it goes’?

Are there written rules for policymaking on diplomacy?

No, there should not be and there cannot be!

Written rules are for extremes of policies made in a democratic nation that India is!

Written rules, like in a constitution, ensure that what a policy must not do!

Written rules define boundaries of policies according to times and are open to time-specific changes!

Written rules don’t say ‘do not follow or mend a policy’ because it is contrary to the position earlier taken – if it is not akin to compromising with sovereignty of the country!

Written rules don’t say, in case of India-Pakistan talks here, that talks should be done on ‘this or that’ precondition!

Written rules don’t say that ‘don’t tweak your policies to take an altogether different approach to try something good even if it means trusting a nation like Pakistan with bad track record on this parameter’!

Written rules don’t say that ‘don’t take a path opposed to the one taken previously as it is not in sync with domestic politics of the nation’!

Written rules never say diplomacy cannot be exercised ‘the common man’ style!

So, what is wrong if Narendra Modi chose to have a brief stopover in Pakistan to wish Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani prime minister, personally on his birthday – doubling the day’s moments of joy as it was also the wedding of Sharif’s granddaughter that day!

Shouldn’t we see this as the ‘icing on the cake’ – that doing this on the day – on December 25 – gave the developments an overall higher appeal to the symbolism of this ‘common-man-esque’ call as the day happens to be birth anniversaries of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Atal Bihari Vajpayee as well?

Why should we go on scouting for ‘inside stories’ and why should we go on endlessly about possible scoops?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

INDIA AND PAKISTAN ARE TALKING AGAIN

So, on a non-rhetorical note, India and Pakistan have decided to resume their bilateral dialogue again – that has had a fractured history so far – with many more lows and few, standalone highs.

And away from all pointers of debate and who said what in the past and who did what – it is the best possible option available for both countries – because it suits their populations back homes – two populations that were one before 1947.

It is the best thing that can happen to India and Pakistan – increased people to people to contact – revisiting the shared cultural interests that still define life in every city of India – and a ‘peaceful’ Pakistan can immensely benefit from it.

The present geopolitical balance where economy is the most important parameter to weigh one’s share in the ‘group of most effective voices’ on world affairs, Pakistan is nowhere near to India. India is a major world economy now and is poised to become a global power.

But that only makes for the case that it engages in peace process with Pakistan – to synergise its efforts in building an economy that is already the most preferred destination of every global outfit – and thus building a society that becomes an example. That one is a massive task with long term goals and require decades of continued nation building.

And doing so, engaging with India in the peace process and looking for solutions to the issues that create problems, will ultimately help India – its fledgling economy – increasing radicalization of its society – and its crumbling national integrity.

Even if Pakistan employs all its resources and wages a war till its last remnant , it will not be able to take Kashmir, or for that matter, any other part from India. This realization is already there. The need is to act on it. The need in Pakistan is to utilize the resources for nation building that it is wasting in creating troubles for India – a huge pool of resources that can prove very vital for Pakistani society.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WHY SHOULD WE BAN THEM?

We want to see India play Pakistan as far as cricket goes. Indians, barring few fanatics, want so, and there is no harm, even ideologically, if we are supposed to play with them in a third country.

Why value Pakistan so much that we are forced, that we are compelled to snap events on our shared cultural heritage, on our shared cultural traits – music, cinema or sports?

In fact, we Indians should happily ignore the fanatic calls or impulsive reactions to ban them – and should enjoy a good musical piece – should relish a good artful cinema work – or should worrying/thrillingly watch every moment of a riveting India-Pakistan cricket rivalry in the field.

That, in fact, should be a major priority factor in India’s ‘shedding Pakistan obsession’ policy.

We need to see Pakistan at best as a small country in our neighbourhood that shares common cultural elements with us. If any reality, in any comparison of India vis-à-vis Pakistan exists, it ends here, at this cultural context.

India had 17.22 crore Muslims according to figures from Census 2011 and Pakistan’s overall population that year was 17.62 crore. And Muslims are just 14.2% of our population – our equal brothers and sisters – assimilated in and contributing to our joint cultural values.

India and Pakistan began their sovereign, independent journeys together. But the similarity ended there. Pakistan is no match for India today. India is a global player while Pakistan is not even a regional power.

And even a Nawaz Sharif meeting Barack Obama this week in Washington or many Pakistan leaders shouting anti-India rants over the top on every possible global platform should be dismissed accordingly.

When they need to cease existing as the focal points of our South Asia policy, why should we care at all about Pakistani artists and sportsmen playing or performing in India?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

INDIA SHEDDING ITS ‘PAKISTAN OBSESSION’: PAKISTAN DESPERATELY TRYING TO PROVOKE INDIA

“Narendra Modi contested elections on anti-Pakistan platform and now wants to dictate terms for the dialogue with Pakistan but we will never accept this and we have already conveyed it to New Delhi.” He said Kashmir will be part and parcel of any agenda of talks with India and that the international community has accepted Pakistan’s point of view in this regard. Aziz said that no one could dare to launch any attack inside Pakistan and if anyone did so, he would get a befitting response. He said that Pakistan would not be pressured by Indian threats of an attack at any time, adding that if India even thought of attacking, Pakistan would provide a befitting response.

Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor, Dawn, September 8, 2014

“If the enemy (read India) ever resorts to any misadventure, regardless of its size and scale – short or long – it will have to pay an unbearable cost.”

“Enduring peace is not possible without a just resolution of Kashmir. The issue can no longer be put on the backburner.”

Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s Army Chief, September 6, 2015

“Undoubtedly Pakistan is a responsible and peaceful nuclear power. Though, we are fully aware of the conspiracies and tactics of the enemies (read India), we desire to have good and peaceful relations with all our neighbours on the basis of sovereign equality. I wish to make it clear that we will protect the sovereignty and security of Pakistan at all cost.”

“Today we are celebrating the golden jubilee of those memorable events, when our brave armed forces not only successfully defended its frontiers but also thwarted the nefarious designs of the enemy (read India).”

Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, while speaking on 50th anniversary of 1965 war between India and Pakistan – September 6, 2015

“September 6 is the day of aggression for India and the Day of Defence for Pakistan and with the Grace of Allah, it became the day of victory for Pakistan and the day of defeat for India.”

Pervaiz Rashid, Pakistan’s Information Minister, September 6

These loud claims cap the prevailing sentiments in Pakistan’s ruling establishment, that is, it’s all powerful military, and a political regime that depends on this military for its survival.

As India is finally shedding its ‘Pakistan obsession’, Pakistan’s ruling elite are getting ever more desperate to look for fodders that words of Indian establishment used to provide to lubricate (incite) the ordinary Pakistani mindsets – an anti-India atmosphere that the Pakistan’s ruling class has exploited since the days of partition.

Irrespective of what Ajit Doval, India’s National Security Advisor meant, India, for decades, practiced the policy of getting engaged in ‘below the belt’ verbal wars with Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan outdid India many times on international platforms while spreading falsities and propaganda about Kashmir – not because Pakistan could do it efficiently – but because India’s sluggishness allowed it do so.

India and Pakistan began their sovereign, independent journeys together. But the similarity ended there. Pakistan is no match for India today. India is a global player while Pakistan is not even a regional power. And it has not happened in a year.

But the realization on Indian part, in the ruling establishment of India, came late.

India should (and should have) dismiss (dismissed) Pakistan as a disturbed nation that is (was) trying to divert attention from its internal problems by targeting India – through words – through wars – and proxy war activities like militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and support to terrorism in other parts of India.

Well, Pakistan has been at it for decades. And has failed to make any significant dent – even after waging many wars – that it all lost – including this one in 1965.

India knows it. The world knows it. Pakistan knows it but doesn’t accept it back home.

India was giving undue attention to Pakistan so far. The time is now to realize and move ahead. The time is now to remain silent and act whenever there is any provocation, as is the policy now – inflicting heavy damage whenever Pakistan violates ceasefire (that it does in routine). Destabilizing India and taking J&K from it are beyond Pakistan’s reach. And a growing global stature of India has made things even more difficult for Pakistan.

As India is shedding its ‘Pakistan obsession’, not rushing to react on war-mongering rhetoric by Pakistan’s leaders while replying Pakistan’s armed provocations with twice the force, Pakistan is finding hard to explain back home the failures that are piling up by the day.

Everyone in Pakistan’s ruling establishment is trying hard to provoke India – but India, it seems, is not going to buy the verbal bravado now – or is not going to be trapped there – in a ‘below the belt’ war of words. For Pakistan’s support to armed militancy in J&K and other parts of India – our internal apparatus is strong enough to mitigate hostile developments.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

GOOD THAT INDIA IS FINALLY SHEDDING ITS PAKISTAN OBSESSION

When Nawaz Sharif yesterday said that any talks with India ‘sans Kashmir’ were futile, he was only summing up the line of ongoing verbal volleys – by his other ministers.

After (naturally) expecting it – as we are hearing Pakistani leaders of different hues, including Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz – Sharif’s version was only a symbolic summation of how the political establishment of Pakistan once again surrendered before its all powerful army (and therefore its real ruler, the army chief there).

And it is good that we, in India, didn’t reach much into it and decided to stick to our position this time – that the whole Jammu and Kashmir (including Pakistan occupied Kashmir) is our integral part and its society and politics will be governed according to the Indian Constitution – and not what some sidelined separatist leaders like the Hurriyat ones say.

It is good, that, we, as a nation, are finally shedding its Pakistan obsession.

Yes, it is political pragmatism that every nation wants a peaceful neighbourhood, especially with democracies. And, irrespective of intelligence claims and counterclaims, we have valid and worldly reasons to believe that India is not orchestrating unrest in Pakistan. Terrorism and other internal rifts in Pakistan are its own making and Pakistan is paying a heavy price for that – now.

We need to see Pakistan at best as a small country in our neighbourhood that shares common cultural elements with us. If any reality, in any comparison of India vis-à-vis Pakistan exists, it ends here, at this cultural context.

India had 17.22 crore Muslims according to figures from Census 2011 and Pakistan’s overall population that year was 17.62 crore. And Muslims are just 14.2% of our population.

Sovereign India and Pakistan started their journeys the same day – two countries that shared a joint geographical patch and culture until then.

India remained a democracy, and with time, in fact, strengthened its institutions and processes. Its security establishment proudly built on its own. Its economy grew. Its middle class swelled. And today, it has become as imperative a market for the global economy as China is. And as China is slowing down, the world is looking to India – the world’s fastest economy – the world’s third largest economy – and the world’s youngest country demographically – with projections to have the world’s largest middle class by 2030.

Yes, India’s democracy has had its internal flaws but in spite of that, we have a healthy electoral system that makes our democratic set-up robustly functional.

But, Pakistan started faltering very early on its sovereign journey. During 68 years of existence, the country has been ruled by its army most of the time. Pakistan’s political establishment could never stand on its own. Military effectively entrenched itself into every aspect of Pakistan’s socio-political milieu – killing democracy in the process.

Pakistan has historically been anti-India, fighting and losing wars since 1948. Pakistan’s Army, in order to remain the most powerful institution in the country, has always resorted to anti-India propaganda to suppress and sideline political voices. The violence in the aftermath of the India-Pakistan partition gave Army a powerful tool to instil fear in Pakistani masses by name-calling India.

Yes, in India, every aspect of society has corruption as malaise, but here, we can raises voices and push for remedies. Pakistan’s military establishment doesn’t allow that – acting on cases based on its self-interest.

Pakistan of the day is failing to handle its internal mess, something that is its own creation, including terrorism, anarchy in tribal areas and separatist movements but the ego (or the compulsion) of its ruling/military dispensations is forcing them to still engage in anti-India activities and propaganda – primarily in Jammu and Kashmir – and in India wherever possible – trying to provoke Muslims in the name of religion – even if India has more Muslims than Pakistan – even if the Muslims of India have registered maximum decadal population growth rate (as the Census 2011 data on growth rate of different religious communities released today says). They are our equal brothers and complete the arch of India’s diverse cultural landscape.

India and Pakistan started their journeys as independent countries in similar circumstances. India is a global player now – on its way to become a global power in a multi-polar world – and Pakistan is not even a regional player.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

NSA TALKS CANCELLED: POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT OF PAKISTAN IS FURTHER WEAKENED

What happened to the proposed talks between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan was not a surprise.

In fact, it was only waiting to happen because Pakistan was not in a position to dictate terms of the talks. And at the same time, it could not send home the message that it bowed before India by agreeing to an agenda that didn’t include talks on Jammu and Kashmir.

Given the stated position of this government, the Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance government, we have reasons to believe J&K cannot be on any agenda of talks where different factions of All Party Hurriyat Conference are invited by Pakistan as the third party – at least till Narendra Modi is the prime minister of India.

India, as the doctrine goes, doesn’t consider J&K a disputed territory and the present government has been, ever since its inaugural, particularly emphatic about expressing it.

The bilateral talks between India and Pakistan were broken in August 2014 when India had cancelled Foreign Secretary level talks on issue of Pakistan being adamant on talking to Hurriyat leaders.

So, obviously, if Pakistan was serious about talks, if it had accepted to go ahead with ‘now cancelled’ NSAs meeting, it had to keep in mind that why the talks last year were cancelled in the first place.

For the BJP, political analysis in India (and Pakistan) was growing more and more vocal about the possible stand taken by the NDA government after Pakistan invited Hurriyat leaders for talks even this time.

When a round of talk was killed last year on same issue, why to reintroduce that element again?

Because, either Pakistan wanted to kill the talks again – with its inborn compulsions to run away from words of logic and geopolitical pragmatism – or – it wanted to send home a message (to its Army) that it was dealing with India on its own terms – and so was a dominant negotiating partner – in case if India accepted Hurriyat as a party in negotiations – that meant Kashmir was on the agenda – something that India had refused from the day one – since Ufa.

India was never going to accept these terms, even if it didn’t set any precondition other that those agreed at Ufa – reflected by the joint statement of both countries.

Pakistan’s political leadership, under international pressure, most importantly from the US, willingly or unwillingly, agreed to restart the talks and India took a leading step here by inviting Pakistan.

But Pakistan tried to exploit even this move by propagandizing that ‘India was compelled to come to the talking table’ – and that Pakistan did not blink first.

Now, we know, the world community knows, and even many in Pakistan, including its military and political leadership know, that Pakistan is no match for India. India has moved much ahead and is a global economic powerhouse now. Its scientific and defence prowess are years ahead than Pakistan.

Pakistan, therefore, cannot set terms, other than agreed, while negotiating with India. That reflected in Sartaj Aziz’s presser where he clarified that he was visiting India for the talks even if he was not hopeful of any outcome.

Pakistan’s problem – primarily of its military establishment – and therefore of its political establishment – is – that its foreign policy has been India centric ever since the country came into existence in 1947.

And the cancelled NSA talks show nothing has changed on that front – even now.

In fact, India was always in a different, positive league than Pakistan. But we, politically, mismanaged the whole affair, with every subsequent government giving Pakistan legroom to exercise and promote its propaganda voices on different global platforms. We allowed Pakistan to even outmanoeuvre us on many times.

But, it had to end somewhere. And the process has begun – even if the realization has come very late.

India, like China, is imperative for global economy now. Yes, Pakistan, too, is a nuclear power, but its security establishment is far superior, innovative and indigenous and is accustomed to work under a democratic leadership.

India is asserting its rightful position on the global stage now and the world is taking note of it. India’s neighbours (excluding China and Pakistan) see India now as a senior partner that gives them due bilateral importance.

The problem with Pakistan’s political leadership is – it cannot say no even to the Hurriyat leadership – we all remember the serious note taken by Pakistan after Nawaz Sharif didn’t meet them during his India visit last year in May 2014 or when Ufa statement didn’t mention Kashmir this year – then how can it stand before Pakistan’s military – the institution that wields real power there?

Pakistan’s Army didn’t want these talks to happen, as evident by escalation in incidents of ceasefire violation by Pakistan after the Ufa meeting. And the talks ultimately, expectedly, didn’t happen.

It has further weakened the political establishment in Pakistan.

Hurriyat has no significance for India. The party with its different factions doesn’t matter even in Jammu and Kashmir’s politics. Jammu and Kashmir has elected government and people’s participation, over the years, in the electoral process, has increased quite impressively, in spite of the continued run of cross-border terrorism by Pakistan, trying to incite separatist voices.

Hurriyat, in fact, is a ploy by Pakistan’s Army to keep another of its anti-India ploy running – the anti-India rhetoric based on Kashmir – an eternal lifeline ‘sort of thing’ for Pakistan’s Army.

And Pakistan’s political establishment, irrespective of the realpolitik, is forced to follow whims of this ploy.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/