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India - Pakistan Downgrade Ties

India - Pakistan Downgrade Ties

Context:

The Government of India has taken the decision to reduce the staff strength in the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi by 50%. It would reciprocally reduce its own presence in Islamabad to the same proportion.

Background

  • India last week asked Pakistan to reduce its staff strength in the country by half, a decision that came just weeks after the police expelled two Pakistani staffers at the high commission in Delhi on charges of spying.
  • Pakistani security agencies picked two Indian high commission staffers in Islamabad, tortured them, and framed them in a false case of a road accident and possession of fake currency in the tit-for-tat action.
  • The external affairs ministry told Pakistan about India’s continuing concern about the activities of officials of its mission in Delhi who have been engaged in acts of espionage and dealing with terrorist organizations.

Summary of the Debate

The downgrading of ties between India and Pakistan

  • The downgrading of ties is part of a long-simmering process. It’s not the first time in the history that such steps have been taken.
    • The last time the two countries cut staff in their diplomatic missions in New Delhi and Islamabad by half was during heightened tensions in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Indian parliament on 13 December 2001.
    • India had also cut off air, rail and bus links, and amassed troops along the border with Pakistan. Normal ties were restored in 2003-04.
  • There are two ways of looking at it- Strategically and tactically.
    • Tactical aspect: It includes a cycle of retribution, differences, and clashes like Uri, Pathankot, Balakot, etc. After the Pathankot attack, from 2016 both the countries do not have a dialogue. After the Indian Prime minister went to meet Pakistan PM in 2015, the countries virtually had no ties.
    • Strategic aspect: The two countries looked at their place in the history and the world in a diametrically opposed, conflictual, and fundamentally different way.  Pakistan is a civilization revisionist state and is trying to shift its

Problem with Pakistan

  • Initially, it seems that Pakistan is a security state and it feels a threat because India is a big country. But as time has passed, it is realized that even when India is not doing anything, Pakistan is still moving ahead and trying to pull all stings against India.
  • The birth of Pakistan was based on the idea of the Two-Nation theory. Now when the nation has been made and people got homeland on the basis of religion, they need some reasons to survive and emphasizing India as a threat helped them.
  • Pakistan's army has created a dilemma within the state and society of Pakistan that India is a threat and hatred for India is the only reason they can hold together. The moment when India Pakistan has normal relations with each other their survival becomes difficult.

Situation after scrapping Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir

  • Abrogation of article 370 and 35A is the watershed moment as far as Indian history is concerned. Jammu Kashmir became an integrated part of India. Pakistan protested against this step all over the world.
  • Pakistan knows it cannot fight conventionally with India, so it wants to create problems in J&K and started bleeding India with thousands cut. It started insurgence in Kashmir and all that happen on the orders of the elite class and army of Pakistan.
    • The power in Pakistan do not flow from Islamabad, it flows from Rawalpindi.
    • So all and everything is created by the Pakistan army for their own survival.  Pakistan army always wants enmity between both the nations for their survival.
  • Because now Jammu Kashmir is directly under the New Delhi, Pakistan is finding it difficult to operate terrorism there, so it is trying to find new areas where it can start a new dispute.
    • Opening the Kartarpur corridor during the COVID Pandemic, even when the interstate movement is difficult, is suspicious. Pakistan is encouraging the idea of referendum 2020 of radical Sikhs.

Way Forward

  • Some sort of communication channel should always be opened from both the side. People to people connections are difficult but still, the ball is in Pakistan court.
  • Pakistan is a junior partner of China and in this time when India has disputes with China, it is mandatory to keep an eye on Pakistan’s activity.

Conclusion

Pakistan will do everything possible to try and hurt India. For India, Pakistan is not a big threat, it is more often a nuisance, but even nuisance needs to be dealt with. Ties between both nations are not going to improve anytime in the near future and this is something we have to digest.

Main points made by Guests:

1. Maj. Gen. Ashwani Siwach (Retd.), Defence Expert:

  • Abrogation of article 370 and 35A is the watershed moment as far as Indian history is concerned. Jammu Kashmir became an integrated part of India. Pakistan protested against this step all over the world.
  • Pakistan knows it cannot fight conventionally with India, so it wants to create problems in J&K and started bleeding India with thousands cut. It started insurgence in Kashmir and all that happen on the orders of the elite class and army of Pakistan.

2. Jitendra Nath Misra, Former Ambassador:

  • The downgrading of ties is part of a long-simmering process. It’s not the first time in the history that such steps have been taken. There are two ways of looking at it- Strategically and tactically.
  • Some sort of communication channel should always be opened from both the side. People to people connections are difficult but still, the ball is in Pakistan court.

3. Shakti Sinha, Foreign Affairs Expert:

  • The birth of Pakistan was based on the idea of the Two-Nation theory. Now when the nation has been made and people got homeland on the basis of religion, they need some reasons to survive and emphasizing India as a threat helped them.
  • Pakistan's army has created a dilemma within the state and society of Pakistan that India is threat and hatred for India is the only reason they can hold together.

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