Why India’s Confounded Policy towards Pakistan?
India once again escaped from negotiations by cancelling National Security Adviser (NSA)-level talks with Pakistan, scheduled to be held in New Delhi on August 23-24. In this regard, as part of pre-conditions, Spokesperson of India’s Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup said that New Delhi opposes Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz’s meeting with pro-independence leaders of Kashmir.
Turning down Indian advice, Pakistan’s Foreign Office statement said that the meeting of Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders with Sartaj Aziz would ensure a more “meaningful and result-oriented” dialogue between the national security advisors of both the countries, elaborating, “The Hurriyat leaders are true representatives of the Kashmiri people of the Indian occupied Kashmir—to find a lasting solution of the Kashmir dispute”.
It is notable that during the talks between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan, at Ufa, Islamabad has conveyed to New Delhi a comprehensive agenda to discuss all outstanding issues, including Kashmir as well as terrorism.
Therefore, New Delhi’s insistence to restrict the agenda for the dialogue to terrorism or cross-border terrorism only, demonstrated India’s confounded policy towards Pakistan.
It is mentionable that Pakistan-India foreign secretary level talks were held in Islamabad on March 3, this year. In this respect, Indian External Affairs Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry discussed contentious issues including Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek and other bilateral issues. While, last year, India postponed the Secretary level talks with Pakistan; under the pretext that during his Indian visit Sartaj Aziz met Kashmiri leaders.
In fact, a lack of seriousness on India’s part to settle all disputes, especially Kashmir issue has compelled New Delhi to follow a self-contradictory and confused strategy towards Islamabad.
Hence, New Delhi earnestly found various pretexts to cancel peace talks, while shifting the blame to Islamabad. For example, in 2002, under the pretension of terrorist attack on the Indian parliament, India postponed the dialogue process. Again, in 2008, India cancelled the ‘composite dialogue’ on the pretext of Mumbai terror attacks.
Particularly, on May 27, 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff in the oath-taking ceremony proved faultless, because Modi raised baseless issues like terrorism as pre-condition to advance the Pak-Indian dialogue. He said that slow pace of trial against the terrorists of the Mumbai 26/11 terror case; being held in Pakistan is main hurdle.
But, Indian prime minister ignored the fact that on July 19, 2013, the Indian former home ministry and ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror-attacks in Mumbai in November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.
As regards the case of cross-border terrorism, India has shown ambivalent approach which can be judged from various recent developments. In this connection, on July 27, 2015, three gunmen dressed in army uniforms killed at least seven people, including three civilians and four policemen in the Indian district of Gurdaspur, Punjab.
Without any investigation, Indian high officials and media started accusing Pakistan, its banned militant outfits and intelligence agencies for the Gurdaspur incident. Indian Police remarked that the attackers are from Indian-held Kashmir, and some said that they were Sikh separatists, while Indian Punjab police chief claimed that the three gunmen were Muslim, but as yet unidentified. Contradicting speculations, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh told parliament that the gunmen came from Pakistan.
Khalistan Movement Chief Manmohan Singh stated that the Gurdaspur incident is a conspiracy of Indian secret agency RAW to defame Pakistan.
Besides, in the recent past, prior to the US President Obama’s second visit to New Delhi, Indian intelligence agencies orchestrated a boat drama to defame Pakistan, allegedly reporting that a Pakistani fishing boat as a Pakistan-based outfit group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was intercepted by Indian Coast Guards, off the coast of Porebandar, Gujarat. And Indian Coast Guard crew set the boat on fire and it exploded. But, its reality exposed Indian terrorism, because, some Indian high officials admitted that there was no such boat which came from Pakistan.
Similarly, India intends to obtain various hidden purposes by blaming Islamabad for terrorism. First of all, it wants to divert the attention of the international community from the involvement of RAW which has well-established its network in Afghanistan, and is fully assisting cross-border incursions and terror-activities in various regions of Pakistan through Baloch separatist elements and anti-Pakistan groups like Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundullah and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) including their affiliated outfits. On a number of occasions, these insurgent groups claimed responsibility for their acts of sabotage.
It is noteworthy that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani realized that Afghanistan and Pakistan are facing similar challenges of terrorism and will combat this threat collectively. On May 18, 2015, the two countries signed the security agreement—Pakistan’s primary spy agency ISI and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) to share intelligence and conduct coordinated operations against terrorists. And, frequent visits of Pak-Afghan civil and military leaders to each other’s country also annoyed India.
It is worth-mentioning that Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif accompanied by the DG of ISI went to Kabul on December 17, 2014. During his meeting with his Afghan counterpart, President Ashraf Ghani and the ISAF commander, he presented the evidence of linkage between the massacre of children at Peshawar school and TTP sanctuaries in Afghanistan. He also asked about action against the TTP and handing over of its chief Mullah Fazlullah to Pakistan. In response, Afghan government and US have started taking action against the TTP. A number of TTP militants have been killed and captured in Afghanistan, while Fazlullah survived in a drone attack.
It is regrettable that New Delhi is destabilizing the regional countries in general and Afghanistan and Pakistan in particular. In order to obtain its secret designs, aimed at augmenting Indian hegemony in the region, India is foiling the peace process between Afghanistan and Pakistan by managing terrorist attacks like the recent ones in Afghanistan which revived old blame game against Islamabad.
And, waging a prolonged war in Afghanistan, the US and other NATO countries have realized that after the withdrawal of foreign troops, Afghanistan would be thrown in an era of uncertainly and civil war. They recognize the fact and terrorism or stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan is interrelated. Hence, US-led developed nations which also spent billions of dollars for the development of Afghanistan have repeatedly agreed that without Islamabad’s help, stability cannot be achieved there. In this connection, a meeting was hosted by Pakistan between the Afghan officials and representatives of Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan in Murree (On July 8, this year) and dialogue were conducted for an Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process, while the representatives of China and America also participated in the meeting.
In this backdrop of growing engagements of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and US, Indian desperation in Afghanistan is increasing. Moreover, New Delhi is trying to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Recent terror-attacks in Pakistan and Balochistan might be noted as instance. Indian RAW has also created a heavily funded China-Pakistan and Afghanistan specific desk to target growing Pak-China-Afghanistan relations.
Furthermore, on the direction of the Indian leader of the fundamentalist party BJP and Prime Minister Modi, Indian forces have accelerated unprovoked shelling across the Line of Control and Working Boundary, while creating war-like situation between Pakistan and India.
Notably, Islamabad has decided to raise the question of Indian cross-border terrorism and RAW involvement in Pakistan at the UNO forum, with strong evidence in light of open statements of Indian defence minister and Prime Minister Modi who recently confirmed assistance to anti-Pakistan elements including separation of East Pakistan.
Nevertheless, due to the new developments which favour stability in Pakistan, India in frustration, follows confounded 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 Relations