Synopsis: India and Pakistan have to improve their engagement further if they want to improve bilateral ties.
India and Pakistan have improved their engagement in recent times. For example,
- India and Pakistan issued a joint statement to strictly observe all the agreements on a ceasefire along the LoC and other sectors
- Permanent Indus Commission meeting on the Indus Water treaty,
- Resuming trade with India. Under this, Pakistan allows the import of sugar and cotton from India. However, later retracted from this stand.
- Issuing of sporting visas and other measures like official speech on regional rapprochement, etc.
The U-turn of Pakistan:
Despite the development, the External Affairs Ministers of both sides did not meet and greet each other at the Heart of Asia conference held last week. Further, Last week reversed few earlier developments as well. Such as,
- Pakistan’s foreign minister was the one who led the charge of Cabinet Ministers. He and his colleagues opposed the move of Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee to reopen imports of Indian cotton and sugar.
- He was of the opinion that the move would violate Pakistan’s commitments to Kashmir.
- Further, the Pakistan Army General also stressed the need for Geo-economics.
- Following these developments, the Pakistan cabinet rejected the import proposal of Cotton last week.
- Apart from that, the Pakistan cabinet also announced that they will not normalize India Pakistan ties until the revocation of steps of August 2019. (on Jammu and Kashmir and Article 370).
The U-turn in India Pakistan relations is not a new one. India did not comment on the unworkable demand on Article 370.
Pakistan has to explore options for more ties with India. This can be achieved by steps such as,
- Restoration of High Commissioners in each other’s capitals.
- Opening up of cross border LoC trade that was suspended for security reasons in 2019
- Valuable commitments from Pakistan on issues such as cross-border terrorism, etc.
Both India and Pakistan have to capitalise on the nascent re-engagement. But the only solution is to improve their engagement further.
Source: The Hindu