India’s Confused Policy towards Pakistan

Indo-Pak peace process assessment By Sajjad Shaukat     

 Every country has an unambiguous foreign policy, particularly towards its neighbouring countries in the modern era of renunciation of war, economic development and peaceful settlement of disputes. When it comes to India, New Delhi has openly been acting upon an ambivalent approach which shows its confused policy towards Pakistan.

In this regard, while directly targetting Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani for leading force regarding the surge and ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir, Indian Chief of Army Staff Gen. Bikram Singh allegedly said on October 9, this year that the Pakistani army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) “needs to be made accountable of supporting jihadi factories to wage a covert war against India…Pakistani army’s support to the 42 terror-training camps still operational across the border.”

In response, on October 11, Gen. Pervaz Kayani termed Gen. Bikram Singh’s accusations as unfortunate, unfounded and provocative. He elaborated, “Pakistan Army is exercising restraint, but it should in no way be used as a pretext for leveling such baseless allegations that vitiate prospects of regional peace.” Gen. Kayani added that Pakistan was concerned about Indian’s continued violations of ceasefire along the LoC, and India would be well advised to respond positively to Pakistan’s suggestion for holding joint or impartial investigation into the LoC incidents, preferably by the United Nations.

Although Indian blame game against Pakistan about violations at the LoC in Kashmir has hidden purposes, yet it has been creating anti-Pakistan chauvinism. Recently, tension arose between New Delhi and Islamabad when Indian military conducted a series of unprovoked firings at the LoC, and international border, killing a number of soldiers of Pak Army and innocent civilians in wake of war-like diplomacy. This practice continues from time to time.

However, by acting upon a preplanned scheme, Indian soldiers crossed over the LoC in Kashmir on January 6, 2013 and attacked a Pakistani check post, killing one Pakistani soldier and injuring many troops. While, in order to justify its open aggression, India concocted a fabricated story of accusing Pakistan Army of killing its five soldiers on August 6, 2013. In this context, Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Defence Minister AK Antony and the opposition fundamentalist party BJP including Indian media blamed Pakistan Army for killing its five soldiers.

Earlier, Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh had threatened to retaliate against Pakistan for the alleged killing of its soldiers, saying, he had asked his commanders there to be aggressive in the face of provocation.

However, Indian confused policy towards Pakistan could be judged by its civil and military leaders who have always displayed their self-contradictory approach in maligning Pakistan, its army and ISI. It is mentionable that on September 29, 2013, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a meeting on the sidelines of the annual UN summit.  Afterwards, Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon told reporters “Both agreed that the precondition for forward movement in the relationship, which they both desire, is really an improvement of the situation on the Line of Control.” He pointed out that Prime Minister Nawaz also raised the issues of Siachen, Sir Creek, Kashmir and Indian interference in Balochistan. However, their dialogue ended with optimistic note, but in his speech in the General Assembly on September 28, Prime Minister Singh had allegedly said, “It is equally important that the terrorist machinery that draws its sustenance from Pakistan be shut down.” Showing New Delhi’s contradictory approach, he also said that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India, and in this context there could never be a compromise.”

Nevertheless, while talking about the twin terrorist attacks in the Indian Occupied Kashmir which targeted a police station and a military camp, killing 14 personal of army and police, Salman Khurshid almost wrecked the Nawaz-Manmohan talks when he blamed Pakistan’s ISI and the army in this respect. On the other hand, quite opposite to his earlier statement, PM Singh remarked that such attacks by the non-state actors would not be allowed to derail efforts to find solutions of all problems through peaceful dialogue.

In fact, these terrorist attacks were engineered by the BJP to refrain PM Singh from continue peace process with Pakistan. BJP also used its Hindu fundamentalist connections—RSS and like-minded cliques of Indian armed forces to escalate border tension along LoC to sink any hope of peace process with Islamabad, while Singh is already under duress of BJP. On the one hand, Indian top officials have been accusing Pak Army and ISI of sponsoring terrorism in India and the Indian-held Kashmir, on the other, India’s media revealed in September, this year that on a defence ministry directive, asking for the creation of covert capability—the military intelligence unit, Technical Services Division (TSD) was set up by the Indian Army Chief Gen. VK Singh (R), which conducted covert operations in Pakistan. Besides an official of the TSD, in an Indian TV Channel, Gen. VK Singh boldly confessed that during his tenure as only one Minister of Agriculture (Ghulam Hasan Mir) was bribed, and Indian Army provided money to selected leaders in Jammu & Kashmir to crush the militancy (Kashmiri freedom fighters).

Nonetheless, Indian external affairs minister Salman Kurshid’s wavering statements indicate that New Delhi has no clear-cut policy regarding Pakistan. In this connection, on October 9, while talking about LoC tension, and Pak-India peace process, he made it clear that dialogue is the way forward to resolve issues…our Prime Minister has said there is no option in the dealing of countries with each other…but to trust, which must be matched with our readiness.” But quite contrarily, he remarked on October 12 that despite a confidence building meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Premier Manmohan Singh in New York, last month, “the two neighbouring countries have not reached a stage where we have done something like ‘so-called resumed talks.” He explained, “It is not clear when the political level dialogue will take place.” Khurshid added that the recent incidents at the LoC were “upsetting” and not conducive to normalisation of ties.

In fact, under the pretext of LoC accusations, India seeks to create obstacle in the way of the new peace process with Pakistan so that Pak-Indian issues like Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, water and especially main dispute of Kashmir remain unresolved. In the past too, New Delhi availed various crises to suspend the process of Pak-India talks. For example, in 2002, under the pretension of terrorist attack on the Indian parliament, India postponed the process of dialogue. Again, in 2008, India suspended the ‘composite dialogue’ under the pretension of Mumbai terror attacks which were in fact, arranged by its secret agency RAW. In the recent past, the Indian former officer of home ministry and ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror-attacks in Mumbai and assault on the Indian Parliament were carried out by the Indian government. According to Indian media‚ the fake encounter case involving a senior officer under-Secretary of Interior Ministry Ishrat Jahan has submitted an affidavit in the court stating that a member of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe team Verma told him that in the terrorists’ attacks on Parliament in Delhi and Mumbai were pre-planned, and were set up “with the objective of strengthening the counter-terror legislation.”

India and Pakistan had resumed the new phase of talks in March 2009. But, every time, prime ministers and foreign ministers of the two countries ended their meetings with issuance of positive notes, and vowed to settle the real issues, but the same failed without producing tangible results due to Indian ambivalent strategy. As a matter of fact, India is not serious in resolving real issues with Pakistan. It is only interested in promotion of trade, friendly exchanges, tourism, relaxation of visas etc. because these favour Indian big economy.

Owing to Indian delaying tactics, Pak-Indian real issues, especially Kashmir dispute have still remained unsettled, because India is determined to keep its illegitimate control on Kashmir. No doubt, it is due to these reasons that India has been following confused policy towards Pakistan.

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


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