This part of the article explains India-Pakistan relations post-1971 from a non-realist perspective since both states, paradoxically, opted to cooperate after the war.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now opening talks with Pakistan, as sought by US President Barack Obama. The charade of sending the foreign secretary on a SAARC tour so as to create a cover for discussions in Islamabad cannot obscure the fact that Modi has reversed course and agreed to reopen talks with Pakistan unconditionally.
It is getting apparent that the attitude of the world has changed towards Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks of 2008. Though the change cannot be called an about-face, it falls squarely in the context of one drifting away from the other. Perhaps Pakistan has yet to acknowledge the drift, the omens of which are now numerous.
Modi said the right thing, for India has been deeply involved as an external facilitator and guarantor of the peace process in Nepal. It was because of the presence of India that NC and UML were willing to embrace the Maoists – and when the rebels tried to flout their peace process commitments, Delhi sided with the democratic forces in pressuring the Maoists to implement their promises.
The ‘liberation’ of Kashmir was what an entire generation (perhaps generations) was brought up on; the TTP’s ‘liberation’ of Pakistan lay well in a bloody future then. The State’s primary foreign policy imperative was uni-dimensional, ubiquitous and unrelenting, in the mosques, on PTV, in schoolchildren’s textbooks and of course on the ground in Kashmir.
Interestingly, Pakistan has, in 1974, recognised Bangladesh as a sovereign and independent state. If this is the case, then a common Pakistani like me should not be unceremoniously stopped, unnecessarily questioned and unempirically suspected at airports when visiting Bangladesh where Pakistanis still live in overcrowded (Geneva) camps, narrow slums and open squares
It is this “Indo-Pak stranglehold” that is keeping Pakistan back. But the positive and unavoidable geographic “hold” that will propel Pakistan forward will come with bilateral peace based on free trade and a liberal visa regime with India.
In a major change of stance, Pakistan on Monday said granting the ‘Most Favoured Nation’ (MFN) trade status to India will impact its economy adversely because of the uneven trade balance.
Delhi was the first foreign destination of Foreign Minister Samaraweera , who met his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj barely a week into his job. Sirisena too is expected to visit India next month, in his first overseas visit as president. While the priority given to Delhi could be seen as perfectly in order from a foreign policy point of view, there is a shadow cast over these positive moves in the light of the alleged espionage that preceded them.
It will also feature glimpses of Indian traditional, folk and tribal art such as Gond, Madhubani and Pattachitra paintings.
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