Lok Sabha T V Insights: Border Dispute Between India and Pakistan
Only few days have passed when PM Modi met Nawaz Sharif in Ufa, which was followed by joint statement by Foreign Secretaries of two countries. This joint statement was win-win for both countries, but was more tilted in India’s favor. Main point was that India was able to keep Kashmir issue out of the immediate future discussion and Pakistan reasserted its commitment for bilateral engagement. But irony is that this engagement was only with civilian leadership, which is almost a marginal player in Pakistan’s foreign and security policy. For all practical purposes whims of Pakistan military and other hardliners prevail in Pakistan.
Indian Express reported that Indian P.M. exhibited to Sharif, benefits of a South Asian Union, by referring to progress being made by other regional groupings like ASEAN, Central Asian Union, North American Union and likes. To this gesture Pakistan responded in most deplorable manner. Pakistan NSA Sartaz Aziz soon after landing Pakistan chided India by saying that they were responsible for breakup of talks and hence it’s their burden to resume it. He added that no talks are possible without Kashmir issue. Further, he said that Kashmiri separatists Hurriyat will still be kept in the loop. This all was undoubtedly to keep hardliners or real masters there in good humor. More disturbing are 9 ceasefire violations this month. Pakistan rangers also claimed to have shot down an Indian UAV, which intelligence sources said is china made and India never brought drones from China. It didn’t stop here, Pakistan defence Minister issued a subtle nuclear threat against India for no reason. Had this happened in any other two nuclear powers, atleast ambassadors would have been recalled.
However, developments have moved in anticipated trajectory and such behavior is erodes further credibility of Pakistan in International arena. India demonstrated that it is willing to walk an extra mile, but Pakistan is neither committed nor reliable for engagement. When talks were snapped last time, government was severely criticized by most observers. There are wide array of issues which mandates that some communication must be retained with Pakistan.
Pakistan is only country which can hide terrorists like Osama bin Laden with absolute impunity. Powerful countries perhaps do cost benefit analysis of engagement with other countries. In case of Pakistan perceived benefits for US, UK and China outweighs immediate costs, so they continue engagement. In case of India engagement costs a little if India keeps resolve to retaliate every misdemeanor. Disengagement was only viable if we had capacity to isolate Pakistan internationally. In case of such incapacity, scrapping talks with Pakistan can rather result in isolation of India. It’s easier for Pakistan to claim victimization as it is much weaker than India. Further, world view of Kashmir issue is not at all based on facts of the matter, rather all countries takes stand on basis of – what they can get out of it?
For most matters it is Pakistan who needs India more than vice versa. Economically opening up with India can work wonders with Pakistan’s economy. India is engaging in mutually beneficial manner with all other neighbors. Recently Motor Vehicle Agreement was signed with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. SAARC Power grid is being developed. SAARC currency swap agreement is in place. India is planning to launch a SAARC satellite by 2016. Pakistan desperately needs power as its own capacity is just over 22000 MW. But it seems for Pakistan these things are secondary to achieving parity with India (by ‘other’ means).
It should be amply clear that what India wants from Pakistan (and China) will never be given i.e. Transit route to Central Asia, no matter how good relation becomes. So rather that investing much time and resources to Pakistan and Central Asia, we should supplement our engagement in other countries. Trade with Pakistan is paltry $ 2 billion, which is less than all other big neighboring countries. Neither there is much potential in Pakistan for Indian economy, because China is not going to loosen its grip.
Chinese aid is much different from American aid. U.S. just makes sure that beneficiary country is with him when desired and does not expect much economic returns. But China tries to squeeze out last drop from its investment. China is investing incredibly in Pakistan in all spheres including Nuclear energy (perhaps violating NPT) and it won’t be an exaggeration to say that Pakistan is on course of becoming a colony of China.