Alpesh Patel’s Political Sketchbook: India Pakistan Relations Now

Alpesh Patel Tuesday 26th April 2022 11:40 EDT

Under Pakistan’s new Prime Minister I expect a dialling down of Pakistan’s aggressive stand towards India. But Pakistan will not dial down the terrorists it provides a home to.

First a reminder of the background.

August 5, 2019

The Kashmir debate has been a point of contention in Indian politics since Independence. Though no official side was taken during British rule, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi were both strongly in favour of retaining Kashmir. Pakistani leaders, like Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Liaqat Ali Khan, also supported this plan provided that the local government agreed with it.

This remained the status quo for some time after the Partition of India; however, things changed when Maharaja Hari Singh refused to align himself or his kingdom with either country. This remained the case until Pakistan decided to invade Kashmir in 1947, forcing its king to leave temporarily and sign a standstill agreement with India in return for military assistance.

When he returned to power amidst these events, Hari Singh signed another document which gave autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution on October 26th that same year. Nevertheless, he did not formally accede his state to India until January 30th 1949.

Govt readies to assert that scrapping of Art 370 was an internal matter.

Even as the world debated whether India's decision to end Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, amounted to India violating UN resolutions on Kashmir, the Modi government asserted that since this was an "internal matter", it doesn't come under the charter of the UNSG.

At the annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York, external affairs minister S Jaishankar had said that while India is open to dialogue with Pakistan on all outstanding issues in an environment free of terror and violence, it won't engage with Pakistan if it comes with pre-conditions.

"We have seen the letter sent by Pakistan's Foreign Minister to the Secretary General of United Nations on Jammu and Kashmir. The contents of the letter confirm that Pakistan has not been able to come to terms with the developments in India," a source said.

The new Pakistani PM will not be as vocal as Imran Khan who saw himself as Saladin and with an ego to match with regular calls to the Ummah which fell on deaf ears outside of Turkey and Malaysia. The Pakistani military, running out of money, like their country, is now trying to turn to US, after Russian money was not forthcoming (Russia has enough problems and Pakistan is not going to get on the to do list in the near term). China will sell military hardware but at a cost which the military cannot afford. It will lend money to the civilian sector.

The US is speaking to the Taliban directly. Do they need Pakistan? Do Pakistan return to terrorism as a foreign policy instrument – is that why Khan had to go – he would not permit that? Pakistan is again cornered. No US, no Russia, no Afghan influence. It needs more options than China. Wait for them to try make peace with India whilst raising terrorism threats.

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