Opinion | Pakistan in search of peace with India: is it for real ?, Opinions & Blogs News

Background

Just two months ago, India faced a two-pronged threat from its neighbors. An unexpected sequence of events followed, much to the surprise of many on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) with the announcement of the reinstatement of the 2003 ceasefire agreement, by the DGMOs of India and Pakistan. With General Bajwa’s “ Let’s bury the past ” remark, followed by pleasant exchanges for “ conditional peace ” by the two prime ministers and Pakistan’s announcement to reopen trade with India, and a quick U-turn forcing all strategists to review the reasons for such a gesture.

Indo-Pakistani relations depend on various factors arising from the legacy of the partition of British India, the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to India, the illegal occupation forced part of J&K by Pakistan, followed by a series of wars led by Pakistan. two countries.

The humiliating defeat of 1971 and the independence of Bangladesh left a permanent humiliation in Pakistan’s military hierarchy, which turned to religious fundamentalism, under President Zia-ul Haque, determined to “ bleed India with a thousand cuts ”. The acquisition of nuclear weapons and the promotion of terror as a weapon to wage a proxy war against India, with an emphasis on Kashmir, has remained the sole objective of the Pakistani military, as recipe for holding all the levers of power, former President Musharraf calling terrorists as strategic assets, propagating India as an “existential threat”. Neither Pakistan’s goal nor direction has changed; this is why his gesture of peace needs to be decoded and analyzed.

What makes Pakistan talk about peace with India?

The economic stress facing Pakistan seems to be the most important reason for Pakistan to seek peace with India. Pakistan’s Kashmiri obsession led to overspending on its military’s misadventures, pushing it into a well-planned debt trap by China, in addition to taking out loans from many other countries and institutions it find it difficult to serve.

Pakistan’s total external debt and liabilities rose to $ 113.8 billion in FY2020 and it had to pay around $ 12 billion that year to service it. As other countries and monetary organizations demand repayment, Pakistan has no choice but to mortgage its sovereignty to China (which has lent the maximum), seeking to gain territory, assets, resources. and electricity, making it a colony of China.

Maintaining Pakistan’s gray list in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has added to its economic stress, currency shortage and borrowing beyond its capacity, which has led to internal dissent, chaos and inadequate survival needs such as food and water for the population. It sparked intense political opposition like the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), adding a political cost to its mishap. The growing influence of jihadists and dissent from persecuted minorities add to internal unrest, with the military also receiving its fair share of public anger. So it makes perfect sense for Pakistan to strike a temporary truce with India, cut some of its spending on the line of credit, and repair its economy, before returning to business as usual in Kashmir.

International factors

Pakistan has tried to internationalize the Kashmir issue in every forum possible and has found itself isolated, with no one except China and Turkey supporting its cause. It also brought Pakistan into difficult relations with the Arab world. In fact, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates requested their loan from Pakistan, which came as a brutal shock. Pakistan has therefore realized that denigration of India is not contributing to its domestic livelihood, and it must reset its international relations to get out of the financial crisis in the post-pandemic world. Pakistan therefore seems very attached to accelerated trade relations with India, quickly announcing certain imports from India, despite political opposition against it. The engagement of the United States and its allies with India, its intense competitive relationship with China, and frequent criticism of Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorists can also be seen as a reset factor, albeit a minor one.

Has Pakistan changed its thinking process?

With some genuine voices in India indicating its intention to reclaim lost territory, the thought process of the Pakistani military appears to have undergone slight modifications. India’s repeal of Section 370 in J&K, some proactive Indian responses like the surgical strikes, the Balakot strike, and the existing relative peace in Kashmir, have convinced Pakistan that its goal of annexing Kashmir does not is not viable against the military might of India, although he will continue to talk about the overthrow of the autonomous status of Kashmir. The Pakistani military has now set its tone to defend every square inch of its territory, thereby adopting a defensive stance. He finds it more convenient to be prepared not to lose the role of J&K, which is in his illegal possession. The changes in the status of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) which make it a provisional province, the demographic changes and the Chinese presence in GB and POK to discourage Indian actions, go in this direction.

Have the reasons for the confrontation changed?

For China, Pakistan is a low cost secondary deterrent / irritant for India, useful in containing it. For Pakistan, China is a valuable security guarantee, and as a result, the Sino-Pakistani bond continues to strengthen. In this context, the growing number of Chinese in these areas, their investments in the development of essential infrastructure in terms of airstrips, roads, in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) and in Great Britain is a concern for India. Pakistan is likely to continue the proxy war in the Kashmir Valley, through terrorism, as an inexpensive option, as it serves the interests of both.

Pakistan continues to illegally occupy POK, GB, Shaksgam Valley, so Indian sovereign territory has not yet been restored; therefore, the possibilities for lasting peace are a mirage. The CPEC, the development of infrastructure works in POK and GB, as well as the change of demographics in Indian territory, is something that the optics of peace gestures cannot hide.

The type of peace offers made by India and Pakistan make it clear that the two sides are not ready to compromise their fundamental positions. Pakistan continues to tie the peace initiative to the Kashmir discussion, while India may not wish to engage in a constructive discussion, unless Pakistan shows visible efforts to dismantle it. terrorist infrastructure and bring terror perpetrators such as Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Masood Azhar to justice.

How long can this peace initiative last?

The fact that Pakistan turned around in an announcement to open trade with India within 24 hours under internal pressure indicates the fragile nature of its peace gestures and the level of internal pressure in Pakistan, compared to the Cashmere. The irritants and differences between Pakistan and India have not undergone any major change. Peace gestures are good optics for buying time for economic recovery, avoiding distractions in the fight against the pandemic and to some extent reducing the level of internal public dissent. It is in the interests of both countries that the ceasefire remains in vogue, so that innocent people residing on both sides of the LOC can live in peace.

India must not fall into the trap of peaceful gestures that camouflage the capacity building of terrorists, the rise of the Chinese in Pakistan and the much needed economic recovery of Pakistan, and come at the cost of a break with the Indian threat. The fact that Pakistan’s decision-making depends on China is a factor Indian decision-makers will need to consider before any peace initiative in Pakistan. While gestures of peace are essential to dynamic diplomacy, they should be exercised with caution, as such gestures with Pakistan in the past have resulted in betrayal and now the trust deficit factor with China also adds to the problem. ‘equation. While everyone hopes for the longevity of the ceasefire, India cannot afford to slow down its capacity building efforts to face a double challenge, as a major terrorist attack can change the equation of the day. on the next day.

(Disclaimer: Writer’s opinions do not represent the views of WION or ZMCL. WION or ZMCL also do not endorse the views of the writer.)


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