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Thaw in relations with China , Pak: India needs to be cautious

From Devsagar Singh

Thaw in relations with China , Pak: India needs to be cautious

New Delhi, March 8:The latest thaw in India’s relations with China and Pakistan   needs to be navigated carefully, given the  past history. Within days  of  a planned disengagement of forces from the Pangong Tso area in the midst of an unfinished agenda in other areas in Ladakh, China chose to issue a veiled warning on India’s upcoming  meetings with Quad partners, including US, Japan and Australia. Pakistan’s  move on the LoC is ostensibly aimed at easing of tensions between the two countries. But its timing raises questions. More so when both China and Pakistan  seem to have acted in unison.

          China  was driven to negotiations for disengagement because India occupied strategic heights in the region. After the forces have withdrawn from these heights, the negotiations on other friction points  have slowed down. China  is now pushing for resumption of normal  relations with India while keeping border negotiations alive. Some of India’s recent decisions have hurt China’s economic interests.

          Pakistan’s  LoC move comes  in the wake of India’s strict border surveilance amidst successful District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu and Kashmir recently, firmly stamping  New Delhi’s unquestioned authority in the newly created union territory. To make matters worse,  Prime Minister Imran Khan  had to face anti-Pakistan and pro-India demonstrators in the PoK recently, according to reports.

            Like China is attempting to push its own interests by partially easing  the border tension, Pakistan has a motive to do the same for its own reasons. Situation in J and K is returning to normal after a year-long turmoil following abrogation of Art 370, to the detriment of Pakistan’s interests. Islamabad  has failed to activate even the Islamic nations against India’s steps on J and K. India should be wary of Pakistani designs on easing border tension. It is the summer months when snow melts in the higher reaches that Pakistani infiltrators cross over to reach Kashmir  in order to foment trouble in the Valley. This is the reason why India needs to be cautious  when accepting Pakistan’s proposal to ease tension at the LoC.

              There is a tendency in a section  of the civilian elites to lap up any Pakistani move to ease tension between the two countries. This has its root in the subcontinent’s common past and the wounds of partition which divided people of same ethnicity, language and culture. The yearning for  people to people proximity has not died down, three wars and bloodshed , notwithstanding.

               The Narendra Modi government is acutely aware of the situation, having been a victim itself. Not only did Modi invite Pakistan in his first swearing in as PM in 2014, he made an unscheduled landing across the border to meet Nawaz Sharief in an  effort to improve relations between the two countries. But all this produced little result.  Both China and Pakistan  are untrustworthy neighbours.  Any move on their part to normalise relations is bound to be viewed with a degree of mistrust and suspicion. India cannot afford to lower its guard in relation to both of them.

 

 

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