Developments on Indo-Pak peace talks

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Zeshan Bajwa
The relations between India and Pakistan have always been at odds, keeping the world at their toes as the two neighborly nuclear power rivals have unsettled dispute over the region of Kashmir Valley. However, in an unexpected turn of events, there seem to be light at the end of  the tunnel. Both the parties have decided to resume their ceasefire agreement that was initially agreed between ex-President Ret. Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf and the then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee.Following this move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted, wishing Prime Minister of Pakistan for good health and speedy recovery as Imran Khan became covid-19 positive. As per report given by Bloomberg News, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) allegedly helped as broker to ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan. As per the reports given by the unidentified Emirati official, the newly proposed ceasefire is the beginning of a larger roadmap to ensure lasting peace between the two nuclear nations; with the next part being the two parties would reinstate their envoys in New Delhi and Islamabad, followed by holding talks on resuming trade and resolving the Kashmir dispute. Whatever credibility one may give to this report, however, the fact remains, two weeks before the recent announcement of the ceasefire, Prime Minister Imran Khan had a phone call with crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed, where they both discussed “regional and international issues of interest”. Pakistan additionally announced to import sugar and cotton from India. The reason for cotton was cited due to weak harvesting of cotton last year and the increased demand of Pakistani textile products abroad. However, crediting the roller coaster of political affairs of the Subcontinent, just a few hours after declaring resumptions of trade, the decision has been deferred until further notice. With over a month long of the hope of light at the end of the tunnel, the reality seemed nothing than a small spark. Question may arise, why the drama in the first place? And what made Pakistan reverse its stance on last hour? To understand this, one must try to observe the point of view of both sides. From the side of India, experts believed India cannot sustain a two-way war between both China and Pakistan; as for strategic politics would go for any country, they would prefer to negotiate the weaker state towards their terms and conditions as India would have preferred in this case. Furthermore, in case of internal politics of India, BJP has always won votes by giving anti-Pakistan stances. BJP having the support of Hindu extremists may have seen a political upheaval, with the months long farmers protest already reaching its boiling point, another protest would have been unbearable. From the perspective of Pakistan, their initiation of a ceasefire may be based on humanitarian grounds. Since the abrogation of Article 370, close to a thousand ceasefire violations have taken place, almost all targeting villages in Azad Kashmir. In addition, due to an ever strain on the economy of Pakistan, the ceasefire and the resumption of trade would have given some level of relief to the economy. However, the move was not welcomed by either side of Pakistan. It aroused a general suspicion within the society that the government might have compromised the Kashmir cause, it gave the already desperate opposition another air to breath against the serving administration, the religious parties were not happy with the move and most of all, it rosed question mark with regards to Pakistan’s foreign policy towards Kashmir stance. To conclude, Kashmir is an issue in stalemate, it needs a resolution for resuming peace. Any action which is taken on the compromise of it will cause jeopardy both for India and Pakistan. Both parties need to find a solution which will satisfy the expectations of the people of Kashmir. In the end a question may arise, how long will we remain in this state of limbo? ZeshanBajwais an undergraduate student at the department of Strategic Studies in the National Defence University, Islamabad. He is an avid reader and interested in national and international political and security issues.