What could help India change its behaviour toward Pakistan?

What could help India change its behaviour toward Pakistan?


In the prevailing antagonistic relationship between India and Pakistan, it would be wishful optimism to predict that India would change its behavior toward Pakistan anytime soon. However, the inevitability of being immediate neighbors, and keeping India’s ambitions to join the ranks of major powers in mind, this behavior is untenable in the long term. In many ways it may not be obvious, but it is already harming India’s interest.
In several speeches and interviews of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2019 electoral campaign he accused Pakistan of promoting terrorist activities in Kashmir. According to his contrived theories, all the blame for the turbulence in Kashmir lies with Pakistan.
He feels any rapprochement with Pakistan would also require a change in India’s Kashmir policy for which he is not prepared. On the contrary, PM Modi believes that the more 'aggressive' posture he adopts toward Pakistan, the greater would be his gains in his popularity.
This clearly seems to be a deliberate attempt to side-track the real issue and provide justification to suppress the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. It is being reflected in the government's decision to send more than 25,000 additional troops to Kashmir in addition to the 700,000 troops that are already stationed there.
The BJP government revocation of Article 370 of the constitution that gave a special status to Kashmir and Article 35 that prohibits any purchase or transfer of property in Kashmir to anyone except a bona-fide Kashmiri has been withdrawn.
The international community may be silent to the unfortunate happenings in Kashmir due to expedient reasons but they are monitoring events with concern. 
Post elections, it was expected that the Indian PM would be more conciliatory in his approach toward Pakistan and engage at official levels in certain areas. This has unfortunately not happened and the same mantra – that Pakistan is supporting anti-Indian militant groups – continues.

The Indo-US strategic partnership, which was a major factor discouraging New Delhi from engaging Pakistan, seems to have undergone a change in light of Trump’s recent statements.

Talat Masood

The Indian view has been, and more so during the BJP government's rule, that power in Pakistan rests with the army leadership and that they are only supporting the civilian policy of improving relations with India due to the distressed state of Pakistan’s economy.
This view is not justified, as the military leadership, just like their civilian counterparts, consider internal consolidation the highest priority.
US President Donald Trump’s disclosure during a recent press briefing that PM Modi wanted him to act as a mediator on the Kashmir issue was music to Pakistani PM Imran Khan’s ears and to millions of Pakistanis and Kashmiris.
The Indo-US strategic partnership, which was a major factor discouraging New Delhi from engaging Pakistan, seems to have undergone a change in light of Trump’s recent statements.
It is therefore in the US' interest that the relationship between India and Pakistan moves toward normalization. There is a view in some circles in Washington that this would partly reduce China’s influence in Pakistan and the region. How far this is practical — against the backdrop of the sharp divisions and strategic rivalry that exists between US and China — is yet to be determined.
A serious rethink on Kashmir by the Indian leadership will be possible, provided internal resistance gains further momentum and sane voices in India express grave concern to their government’s policy on Kashmir and at the same time there is sufficient international pressure..
At present, India is ignoring the 'struggle' of millions of Kashmiris and pursuing exactly the opposite by trying to suppress the movement and their aspirations.
If we look at the recent history of independence movements, whether in Vietnam or South Africa, it is always truth and justice that have prevailed. It has also meant enormous sacrifice in terms of blood and displacement of people.
One cannot continue to callously ignore the fact that South Asia is the least economically integrated region in the world. Perpetuating a policy of confrontation instead of promoting cooperation and India imposing a one sided solution to the Kashmir problem would be at the expense of the teeming millions in both India, Pakistan and Kashmir. The sooner this realization dawns on the leadership of India, the faster it will be for a movement toward reconciliation.

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