Balwan Nagial

Pakistan’s Revisionist Behaviour and Peace Offer to India

The relations between India and Pakistan are so desolate that an iota of perceived positive development generates a long wishful list of hopes. Speaking in an interview with Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV, Pakistan sought the intervention of UAE ruler Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to bring India and Pakistan together for talks. It is believed that he said that he had given his ‘word of honour’ that he would talk to the Indian side with complete ‘sincerity of purpose’. He added that India and Pakistan are nuclear power nations, and if war breaks out, there will be no one to tell what happened. He emphasised that India and Pakistan must sit at the table and seriously attempt to address the burning issues like Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Yes, peaceful co-existence is essential because it allows for cooperation and diplomatic relations, leading to economic and cultural exchange and preventing conflicts and war. Additionally, friendly ties can promote stability in the international community and create a more secure and prosperous world. If we look at remarks in the complete interview, there is no sincerity for yearning for peace, but rather bits of history polished with the threat of ‘nuclear arsenals’. Later on, it was clarified by the PMO of Pakistan that talks are only possible if India revokes its decision on article 370 and invokes it again for the state of J&K. And that the settlement of the issue of J&K must follow UN resolutions and wishes of the people of J&K.

Presently, Pakistan is besieged with numerous problems. There is political instability and widespread polarization, and the election will be held this year. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan staged nationwide rallies against the coalition government and military. He demands an early election, but the present govt is in no mood to do so. The power for struggle continues unabated.

Pakistan’s economy is in shambles and was also hit by floods. Inflation was at its highest point, the currency depreciated sharply, and foreign reserves were just enough for one month. There is a high possibility of Pakistan defaulting. Pakistan’s economy doesn’t produce enough but spends too much, thus being mainly dependent on foreign aid and assistance. Every successive government is worse than the previous one due to mounting debts.

Then there is the ever-increasing insecurity in the country. Pakistan is experiencing the heat of homegrown terrorism. Main terrorist groups such as TTP and ISIS-Pakistan are steering attacks on Pakistan. Separatist militant groups conducted terrorist attacks against Pakistan in Balochistan and Sindh provinces.  Terrorists used various tactics to attack targets, including IEDs, VBIEDs, suicide bombings, and targeted assassinations.

Also, Pakistan’s relations with the Afghan Taliban have worsened substantially over various issues, including the border dividing the two countries. Pakistan, anticipated as the big winner after the US’s sudden withdrawal from Afghanistan, is now realizing the hazards of affiliating with the Taliban regime. Pakistan is facing an absolute tempest coming out of the self-engineered problems deteriorated by the invisible hand of external forces.

Pakistan has highlighted two fundamental issues: restoration of Article 370 to J&K and follow-up of UN resolutions on J&K. One of the most vigorous roots of separatism and alienation in J&K lies in Article 370, which had granted special status to the erstwhile state of J&K. The people with vested interests misused it and aligned with the power elites. It kept the ideology of the two-nation theory alive and suffocated the idea of India as one nation. Definitely, it suited Pakistan. On 26 Oct 1947, when the Instrument of Accession was signed between Maharaja Hari Singh and the Government of India, the jurisdiction over the three subjects: Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communication, was surrendered to the Government of India. It was decided that the Constituent Assembly of J&K would take the final decision on the Accession. Therefore Article 370 was granted for the intervening period. The Constituent Assembly of J&K ratified the Accession of J&K to India in Feb 1956. Logically, Article 370 should have been scrapped then and there only, but it was kept alive for the vested interests. After the abrogation of Article 370, the focus is shifted toward Pakistan-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK).

The truth behind Pakistan’s assertion is that India must follow the UN resolutions on J&K. Since 1947, Pakistan has, unfortunately, been selling the wrong narrative about J&K to the world community. On 30 Dec 1947, the Indian Government referred the matter to the UN under the provisions laid down in Articles 34 & 35 in its charter, which says that member states may bring any situation to the UN whose continuance could endanger the peace and security of the region.

The Indian Government declared that the plebiscite should later confirm Maharaja’s decision of Accession and its endorsement by Sheikh Abdullah. But this offer was conditional, which stipulated that invaders are driven out of the J&K first, but this was fulfilled as Pakistan Army supported these invaders. UNCIP resolution of 13 Aug 1948 states that all forces, regular and irregular, under the command of both sides, shall agree to a ceasefire. Pakistan would withdraw its troops from J&K, and tribals and Pakistan nationals should vacate the territory of J&K. India will only withdraw the bulk of its forces on confirmation from UNCIP. Further, it was stated that India’s sovereignty over Jammu and Kashmir would not be questioned. There will not be any recognition of the so-called ‘Azad J&K government’. It was Pakistan who did not follow the UN resolutions, not India.

Discrete, negotiable differences do not drive the security competition between the two nations. Instead, the differences are deeply rooted in age-old ideological, territorial, and power-political resentments fuelled by Pakistan’s irredentism and its military’s yearning to disrupt India’s predominance as a great power. Also, Pakistan’s military wants to take revenge for past Indian military victories and aspirations to be treated on par with India despite their considerable differences in capabilities, achievements, and prospects.

Pakistan’s inconsistent behavior is further strengthened by Pakistan Military’s determination to keep its supremacy in domestic politics. Furthermore, its control of nuclear weapons has allowed its military and intelligence authorities to endorse a crusade of jihadi terrorism envisioned to pressurize India with the expectation that Pakistan will remain primarily insusceptible to any worthwhile military retaliation. This hostility toward India makes any diplomatic solution satisfactory to Pakistan and India highly evasive. Even shoddier, the Pakistan Military feels bolstered by the global calls for bilateral engagement. It has faith that its nuclear coercion strategy successfully invites foreign pressure on India to make concessions on territory and other issues thus far out of reach.

India’s evident geopolitical, economic, and military superiority implies that Pakistan cannot compel it to revise the status quo by force. Nor does India have to offer any compromises to procure peace because it is both a satisfied and leading power. Pakistan must understand that terrorism and talk can’t go together.

About the Author
Colonel Balwan Nagial retired from the Indian Army in 2019 after serving for thirty years. Managed administration, security, project mgt throughout his service. He loves writing and contributing in newspapers and magazines in India. He loves Israeli culture.
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