Shahid Majeed Mir

Dynamics of India Pakistan dialogue

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The recent news reports suggesting that India and Pakistan will go by the ceasefire agreement of 2003, a series of statements from either side have refreshed the otherwise war like situation with a glimpse of hope for mutual understanding and penultimate resolution of disputes. Four point agenda for a formal restart of dialogue likely with the mediation of UAE as reported by Bloomberg may open a new dynamic in South Asia amid changing inter-dynamics in Global Alliances.

China is ascertaining its ascendency and claiming its potential as world leader. Challenge to US hegemony and the coils of maritime developments along India’s neighbours has hypened the challenges of Indian foreign policy. The overall geopolitical and the realignment strategies adopted at the global level have been conducive for the resumption of dialogue between the arch rivals.

Whatever the factors may be but the four point agenda with ceasefire and opening of Diplomatic missions in each other’s countries are but a roadmap ahead. Enhanced military engagement at the Eastern front by China has compelled India to think of engaging Pakistan to avert the two front threat perception. Will the scheme of laid down strategy succeed or not? Is it too early to believe any positive outcome- one can only hope for the best!

This engagement has not just happened because of UAE as common factor but due to international and domestic circumstances as well. China has opened a front of confrontation along eastern side with India while the Indian Army chief recently warned about two front war dealing with hostile Pakistan on one side and belligerent china on the other. This scenario led India to think of certain readjustment with Pakistan to relieve itself from western side and concentrate on Chinese disengagement. Moreover the domestic woes and the near blockade of central Asia for India raised the hopes for resumption of stalled talks. On the other hand Afghanistan’s stability is nearly central to the idea and theme set by establishment in Pakistan. The Indian status and the status of Indian interests in Afghanistan are nearly managed and controlled by Islamabad which may play antithetical to the strategy of the former.

On the second possible narrative, the widening gulf between US, China and India is also a guiding factor for the change in the stance of the two nuclear neighbors as the world is far more connected and interdependent via various factors. India and Pakistan are members of SAARC and SCO and both are regional powers with strategic interests and near common problems like poverty, underdevelopment et al which can be solved by playing together.

At last, the UAE played a major role in minimizing the gap of understanding between these two countries which ultimately leads to laying down a roadmap of ceasefire, restart of diplomatic missions, trade and connectivity and resolution of disputes and issues. Ceasefire agreement of 2003 has been agreed to be kept in letter and spirit as the initial motivating factor and the restart of diplomatic missions could be next step for the formal way to resolve the pending issues. However the main obstacle as described by PM Khan in his address recently stating that Kashmir is the only thorn which if resolved could lead to ultimate resolution of disputes.

After all there is a possible end for the warlike hostilities especially that of 2019 like situations and related ceasefire violations which could have escalated to a full-fledged war. Although well beginning is half done but there have been several initiatives like this which ultimately couldn’t yield any great results. The only difference witnessed this time is the inclusion of Kashmir in the roadmap itself which might have been discussed prior to final engagement. Be it the same this resumption of dialogue has opened various opportunities for both players to settle the long overdue disputes once for all.

With everyone pinning hopes on renewed vigour and vitality of restart of stalled dialogue between two nuclear armed rivals , to eke out any fruit conclusion is to seek an Abilene paradox as the motivation factors are outside the contours of both countries.

  • The writer is an the author of the Book ‘Untold Stories of Kashmir’ and can be reached at [email protected]

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