Thursday 3 September 2015

Constraints in Indo-Pakistan talks

Why issue of no talks?

  • In Indo Pak meeting in Ufa, Russia on the sidelines of SCO conclave in July 2015, the leaders agreed to talks being held in New Delhi between the National Security Advisers (NSA) of India and Pakistan but talks were not held in the end. 
    • main components of the Ufa Joint Statement: two principal objectives expressed in the joint statement. 
      • The first objective is ‘to ensure peace and promote development, for which both sides are prepared to discuss all outstanding issues’. 
      • The second objective expressed in the joint statement is to cooperate with each other to eliminate the menace of terrorism from South Asia.  

  • Why keen
    • Pressure
      • International
        • Lobbies in west including US
      • Domestic
        • domestic peace offensive
  • Hindrance to talks
    • Bilateral talks on sidelines of some meetings like SCO is not possible properly because of glare of international observers and the world media pressures are generated to come up with path-breaking initiatives --> real issues ignored.
    • problem with the dialogue between India and Pakistan is the dominant role of the establishment, which is a status quoist entity. This attitude from both sides often results in a stalemate. No wonder not a single major issue like Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek or even on trade has been resolved.  
    • 3rd party:
      • Surprisingly in 1960, India and Pakistan did manage to resolve one major issue to the satisfaction of both parties. This is the famous Indus Water Treaty 1960, which has survived all the years, in spite of the two nations fighting a number of wars. However, the successful conclusion of this treaty was essentially due to the presence of a third party, the World Bank. Unfortunately, today India has virtually ruled out the involvement of a third party to resolve bilateral issues between the two neighbours.
  • Why Keen
    • To get more control of Kashmir
  • Hindrance to talks
    • Fewer stakes in outcomes
    • India talks to Pak and Pak talks to rest of world to accuse India of perfidy (untrustworthy), especially when it comes to Kashmir.
    • Pakistan’s real problem is that it is the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Army that determine when to talk, and even on how to marshal arguments, often with little regard to the truth.
    • Issues not clearly clarified about what to talk.
Impact of failure of talks
  • Both factions of the Hurriyat — Pakistan’s acknowledged “fifth column” — have gained a degree of prominence when their fortunes were almost at their nadir. 
  • Pakistan-based terrorist organisations like LeT can also be expected to exploit the so-called breakdown in relations, and India should brace itself to confront a fresh wave of terror attacks. 
  • Detailed planning for the success of any such talks should include measures to minimise the fallout if talks fail. 
  • Every opportunity should be provided, if talks fail, to revive or restart them at an appropriate time. 
  • Most important, talks at this level need to be held when the regional and geo-political situation is suitable for negotiations, and Pakistan demonstrates some inclination to resort to negotiations, rather than engage in provocations.
  • India has the potential to become a great global power but not until it is able to bring peace in its region. It may coerce smaller countries into submission but Pakistan may need another kind of treatment; destabilising Pakistan will be certainly counterproductive. On the other hand, Pakistan needs to accept India as the senior partner or a big brother, while India needs to treat Pakistan with respect. The first step towards such a relationship is a sincere effort by both sides to resolve the outstanding issues. This is not the raving of a romantic peacenik but a realistic recipe based on cold logic with an eye on the history of the world. 


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