The recent “failed” NSA level talks between India and Pakistan which was scheduled to have taken place as an important follow-through of the Ufa Joint statement issued by the two countries, has evoked mixed reactions among a “confused” opposition (mainly Congress) and “concerned” media, who somehow want to project this as a failure of Modi’s foreign policy. However, it is important to take a look at the background factors that led to the NSA level talks being called off.
The Ufa meeting between Modi and Sharif, happened after a long period of cold weather in the relations between the two countries, especially since India called off any talks between the two countries since the meeting of Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi, with Kashmiri separatists. During the SAARC meeting in Kathmandu, that cold response was even more evident as Modi did not even acknowledge the presence of Sharif on the dais, and finally only a photo-op, that too by the insistence of the host alone, could happen.
Considering all that, Pakistan rather pushed a lot more from their side to have the bilateral meeting at Ufa, and from the language of the Joint Statement, it was very clear that for the first time, either by design or by mistake, there was no mention of the K word at all. More so, the line that describes the NSA level talks only refer to terror and terror alone as the agenda, as Sushma Swaraj repeated in her press conference yesterday, and did not refer to any other “outstanding issues”.
This omission of Kashmir issue from the talks and the joint statement, obviously did not go well with the real players in Pakistan which is the Army, ISI and the hardliners. Sharif and his team had to face a lot of flak post the Ufa meeting, and therefore the only way for them to save their faces was to either get this issue included, or to scuttle the talks itself to save the face. And they opted for the latter, and the easiest way to do that is to try the old trick – bring the shield of Hurriyat talks ahead of the real talks.
But was that the only reason? Well, no. Ever since the Ufa joint statement was made, there have been more than one occasion of LoC incursions and cross-firing. The very acts that demonstrate what Pakistan publicly state is not exactly what they do at the border, or the other non-state actors that stage such skirmishes never bothered about diplomacy or for that matter any lasting peace. This was compounded by the fact that there was a deadly attack on BSF at Gurdaspur by the terrorists and in a similar follow-up attempt, one of the terrorists were caught alive and he has been spilling beans, much to the “consternation” of the Pakistani establishment.
While Sartaj Aziz is flashing dossiers of Indian involvement in Balochistan and RAW supported terror acts in Pakistan, the truth is Ajit Doval has more hard evidences to share, including the whereabouts of Dawood Ibrahim. So considering these developments, all the excuses made by Pakistan would naturally get exposed if the hard-nosed Doval gets into real business with a hapless Aziz who cannot match upto him. So Pakistan has but no options other than to call off the talks citing “pre conditions” to any talks set by India is unacceptable, whereas in reality, there were no preconditions. What we were merely highlighting was what was actually agreed and reflected in the Joint statement at Ufa, unless there is an unwritten agreement that we aren’t aware of!
So in the final analysis, this whole drama until the last moment of the “botched up” NSA level talks, is more of a failure by Pakistani establishment right from the word go, when they could not follow on what was agreed, rather than a foreign policy failure by India. Those who themselves claim they are the victims of terror should not support elements that promote use of terror to destabilise peace in the region, if they are indeed serious about what they agreed to do. If not, such duplicity by Pakistan towards any attempt to move forward is nothing new. What is really new is, unlike in the past, we don’t buy any such bullshit anymore and turn a blind eye to it, by wearing the mask of “Aman ki Asha”!
Image courtesy : focusnews