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Blazing Barometer (LoC) In India-Pakistan Relations – OpEd

For the aggressive behavior and provocative policies of an emerging nuclear so-called responsible state, it is worth noting in the current milieu. The existing elected government or more precisely BJP’s aggressive military posture concerns both China and Pakistan. It has been observed at the time of formulation of Indian foreign policy that the new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi is focusing the economy and many domestic issues along with re-formulizing its international relations; especially with the US regarding Indo-US Nuclear Deal, China and Japan and its unsettled relations with its western neighbor Pakistan.

There were some changes anticipated in the manifesto of BJP, it was proposed to expand its ‘web of allies’ and that it would adopt the policy of ‘zero tolerance’ on terrorism. Another blazing agenda on the manifesto was regarding its pledge to reconsider the nuclear doctrine of ‘no first use,’ which has actually sparked the storm all around.

Gravely, the border violations are once again on the screens and discussion forums around the globe. Albeit these border skirmishes transpire more or less rather frequently in spite of 2003 cease-fire agreement. Incidentally, the 2003 cease-fire agreement among India and Pakistan has been continuously and blatantly violated from the past few years. The Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary (WB) between two nuclear armed states; India Pakistan is under tense spike and is subject of disobedience of the preceding agreements in this regard. A rapid and swift escalation of violence, stronger than the usual posturing from both governments and a departure from the usual methods of resolution are what sets the current conflict apart.’

It is worth mentioning here that the nature of confrontation has been changing on either side. Even though the unfortunate cases of cross border attacks is a time in and time out practice followed by Indian army that is, of course retaliated by Pakistan but the state of affairs regarding the strategy adopted by India this time, is pretty different. The hardliner BJP’s leader should be accredited fully, who proved himself the same, as that of BJP’s (formerly) perceived course of actions toward Pakistan notwithstanding to his pre-election campaign that pretended to restore firm ties with Pakistan.

The on-going tension at the LoC and Working Boundary actually, defines the future intentions of the newly elected democratic government. More specifically, it’s been transformed in the way Modi wants to shape its foreign policy towards Pakistan and vis-a-vis the region. The contemporary scenario in this regard, is stimulating a challenge to South Asian security that is already under huge stress due to the likely post-2014 emerging strategic environment. Indubitably, the destabilizing incident, not only deteriorate bilateral relations among both nations but also exacerbate regional stability along with the stronger intentions of re-shaping their military postures.

The eastern border has been a subject of testing field of India and Pakistan’s bilateral relation. It is truly acknowledged by the Indian policy makers and political analysts, that PM Nawaz Shareef approached India with a hand of friendship, but in contrast, the now and again aggressive statements by the Indian PM, doesn’t signals optimistic across the LoC. The episode of bullets and blood stormed off all the expectations at both sides of the border. Regretfully, the efforts of formulizing a diplomatic arrangement turned out to be worthless, for which a heavy attendance was ensured on the (so-called) invitation of Indian PM’s grand reception.

Adding to what, by now mentioned; the cancellation of peace talk’s in this regard added fuel to the fire, India would go with its cynical intentions whether these talks would have been proceeded as per scheduled or not. Leaving either parts’ accusation / argumentation aside, the recent episode of border firing and other provocations in the first year of new India political establishment, at the same time, in the last quarter of 2014 (where South Asia in post-2014 is subject to several regional and global challenges) is perceived internationally, that these acts are actually molding Indian foreign policy and political approach towards the gradual (intended) escalation of Indian military posture instead of normalizing its relations with Pakistan.

Nevertheless, Pakistan’s stance is quite clear by the response of Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Asif to his Indian counterpart Arun Jaitley’s warning that Indian forces would render any “adventurism” by Pakistan “unaffordable,” said that Islamabad has the ability to respond to Indian aggression, followed by what could be perceived as a veiled threat. Moreover, he said that we do not want the situation on the borders of two nuclear neighbors to escalate into confrontation. Nevertheless, the response from Pakistani military would must deter and restrict India from taking such provocative actions next time esp. the killing of innocent civilian.

The above could be assessed as a major step-in to bring change in Indian nuclear doctrine of ‘no first use’ as well since to re-consider the doctrine is on the manifesto of BJP’s potential political scheduling. No matter to what extent these states opt for economic and trade reforms, stability at the unofficial boundaries; LoC and the working boundary is of utmost importance for a real and long term peace. Evidently, early gestures and responses from both countries raised the expectations for a fresh start of India Pakistan relations but unfortunately due to the inherent nature, India neither kept the expectations up to the mark nor able to replace the image of Narendra Modi from a hardliner with an image of a neutral and rational leader. Albeit the efforts to fathom fragility in between India and Pakistan is not that much but still if any side wants to abate this cross-border bloody fireworks, the need of hour would be to fill the communication and understanding gaps among both.


About the Author

Beenish Altaf
Beenish Altaf
Beenish Altaf works for the Strategic Vision Institute, Islamabad and be reached at [email protected] Ms. Beenish Altaf holds masters degree in Defence and Diplomatic Studies from Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

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