Will Pak-India Parleys Produce Results?

Sajjad Shaukat

It is a good gesture that this time, India did not postpone the talks between the foreign ministers of both the countries under the pretext of triple blasts which rocked Mumbai on July 13, this year, while the main aim behind these bombings was to put Pak-India forthcoming parleys of July 26-27 on trial.

In this regard, instead of officially blaming Pakistan like the past, New Delhi has shown realistic approach, which could be judged from the statement of Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh who called on July 17 for investigations into the role of all Indian terror groups in relation to serial blasts in Mumbai, saying, “RSS runs bomb-making factories to spread terrorism in the country, and its role should be probed.”

However, the ongoing dialogue between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and India are part of the meeting of their foreign secretaries, held on June 23 and 24 at Islamabad to discuss various issues such as peace, security, Kashmir and friendship. Almost every time, while showing optimism, diplomats of the two countries pledge to continue their talks, but the same fail without producing tangible results.

In 2004, India and Pakistan started the process to normalise their relations after half a decade of confrontation over the Indian-held Kashmir. The renewed normalisation process was described officially as ‘composite dialogue,’ which included Kashmir as the key issue to be resolved incrementally by top officials of both the countries. But in 2008, New Delhi suspended the process under the pretext of Mumbai terror attacks which were in fact, arranged by the Indian secret agency RAW in collaboration with the home-grown terrorists and fundamentalist parties. By availing the opportunity, Indian rulers became stern on their illogical stand, indicating that they would not resume the talks unless Islamabad takes actions against the culprits of Mumbai catastrophe of November 26, 2008. Again, in 2002, India postponed the process of dialogue due to the terrorist attack on the Indian parliament.

In 2001-02 and 2008, New Delhi failed to secure Islamabad’s compliance to its illegitimate demands even by deploying half a million Indian troops across the international boundary with Pakistan. Indian leaders forgot that there is no prospect for the success of Pak-India parleys in wake of coercive diplomacy and arm-twisting tactics. This is a lesson especially for New Delhi to learn from its experience of dealing with Pakistan during the last six decades.

Nevertheless, India and Pakistan had resumed the dialogue process through their home secretaries who had met on March 28 and 29, 2009 to discuss a number of issues. These talks were the first structured bilateral home secretary-level meeting on counter-terrorism after the Pak-Indian decision to resume comprehensive talks.

In the recent past, although foreign ministers of Pakistan and India ended their talks with a positive note, terming their talks ‘useful’ and vowed that the same would pave the way for serious and sustainable dialogue, yet the same failed without producing real results. In this context, Pakistan’s former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had remarked that India “was not mentally ready for talks, as it wanted to discuss only selective issues.”

Nonetheless, question arises as to why Pak-India parleys fail without resolving the related-issues? In this respect, the fact of the matter is that Pak-India negotiations fail due to Indian delaying tactics as New Delhi is not serious in settling the key dispute of the Indian-occupied Kashmir because India is determined to keep its hold on Kashmir which is considered by it as integrated part of the Indian union. New Delhi wants to continue state terrorism on the innocent Kashmiris who are waging a ‘war of liberation’ for their legitimate rights, while it also wants to blackmail Islamabad by stopping the flow of rivers’ water towards Pakistan as major rivers of our country take origin from the Indian-held Kashmir. For this purpose, India has constructed various dams in order to starve Pakistan owing to severe consequences of shortage of water. However, by controlling the Kashmiri territories, New Delhi intends to get leverage over Islamabad by resolving the dispute of Kashmir in accordance with its own will.

Another reason of Indian delaying tactics is that that the fundamentalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) including other similar extremist groups has always put pressure on the Congress-led Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by opposing the revival of Pak-India dialogue. In August, 2010, BJP had questioned Manmohan Singh’s statement on autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir, remarking: “autonomy for the state would not be tolerated.” The pressure of BJP could also be noted from the statement of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who said in an interview on June 28 that Pakistan should “leave Kashmir alone.” Singh’s statement came after Pak-India secretary level talks concluded on June 24. Besides, BJP has repeatedly said that the Congress government re-initiated the present Pak-India dialogue under the US duress.

It is of particular attention that Indian shrewd diplomacy in connection with Pak-India parleys is not without some sinister designs. In these terms, India also desires to destabilse Pakistan. Notably, for the last eight years, Pakistan’s various regions have been facing suicide attacks and targeted killings by the militants who have enters the country from Afghanistan. For this purpose, India has set up secret training centres in Afghanistan where its military personnel in connivance with RAW, American CIA and Israeli Mossad have been imparting training to the youngsters so as to weaken Pakistan because it is the only nuclear country in the Islamic world. These secret agencies are also supporting insurgency in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and separatism in Balochistan.

As regards various terror-events, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik and ISPR Spokesman, Maj-Gen. Athar Abbas have repeatedly indicated foreign involvement behind the attacks—pointing out that terrorists “are the enemies of the state” and “are mercenaries who receive arms from Afghanistan to destabilise the country.” In such a situation, it is false hope as some political experts think that unlike 1997-98, the present attempt to settle the thorny dispute of Kashmir within the framework of the new dialogue including other issues may have a greater chance of success.

In fact, India is only fulfilling the formality through the new phase of talks as Indian rulers also want to show to the US-led western countries that they are willing to settle all the outstanding disputes with Pakistan.

Keeping in mind their delaying tactics, especially regarding the solution of Kashmir including their anti-Pakistan designs, Indian negotiators have always tried to make the longstanding issues difficult, intricate and complex, challenging Pakistani stand so that no settlement could be made in relation to any issue. As New Delhi is not serious in settling any issue with Islamabad, particularly Kashmir dispute, therefore, Pak-India parleys produce no positive results.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

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