Narendra Modi’s visit to Lahore: some factors
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘surprise’ visit to Lahore sucked up all the oxygen of Indo-Pak print, electronic and social media. Many classified this as ‘historic visit’ and a new social media hashtag #Xmasmiracle is also created. But those who keep a closer eye on world politics it was neither miraculous, nor surprising. The event was indeed phenomenal for Narendra Modi as after a long time he has visited a country without greeting the protesters. Many view this move as a social diplomacy and not a political diplomacy but either way it is the success of Pakistan’s balanced new approach on its foreign policy. Pakistan new approach to its relationship with India has indeed created a strategic balance between India and Pakistan.
About two months ago in October, Pakistan’s permanent representative to United Nations Dr. Maliha Lodhi had shared three dossiers containing evidences pertaining to Indian interference in Balochistan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Karachi with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Mon. Pakistan has also raised with the international community that India has been violating the ceasefire agreement with Pakistan at the Line of Control (LoC). In the recent months Pakistan has also briefed foreign ministers of 15 countries about the Indian aggression in Pakistan. At the 76th session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Dr. Lodhi raised the issue of Kashmir during a UNGA plenary session on the report of the Secretary General on the works of the organization. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in New York, where he urged for a plebiscite in Kashmir, stressing on the need for implementation of the United Nation’s Security Council resolutions. India however, strongly dismissed Pakistan’s raising of the Jammu and Kashmir issue at multiple fora in the UN, asserting that the references are “totally out of context” and constitute a “clear interference” in India’s internal affairs.
As confirmed by the Pakistan National Security Advisor; Pakistani Premier raised the issue of suspended Pak-India peace process with President Barack Obama during his visit to Washington from October 20 to 23, 2015. White House also confirmed that during Obama-Nawaz meeting, ‘The two leaders expressed concern over violence along the Line of Control, and noted their support for confidence-building measures and effective mechanisms that are acceptable to both parties. The leaders emphasized the importance of a sustained and resilient dialogue process between the two neighbors aimed at resolving all outstanding territorial and other disputes, including Kashmir, through peaceful means and working together to address mutual concerns of India and Pakistan regarding terrorism. President Obama commended Pakistan for hosting and facilitating the first public talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in July 2015 and highlighted the opportunity presented by Pakistan’s willingness to facilitate a reconciliation process that would help end insurgent violence in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Sharif reaffirmed that Pakistan’s territory will not be used against any other country and noted that this is an obligation of all countries in the region. Both leaders affirmed that regional peace and stability required the prevention of attacks across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border’.
It is believed that India was pressurized by the United States to resume its talks and peace process with Pakistan. United States fully realizes that peace in South Asian region cannot be achieved until Indo-Pak proxy war is over in Afghanistan. On perusal of United States; India shown a drastic change in its policy towards Pakistan when Narendra Modi met Nawaz uninvitingly at the sidelines of the COP21 climate change conference in Paris last month. This was followed by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’sdramatic visit to Pakistan. Sushma who holds a reputation for her anti-Pakistan statements confirmed that the ‘government of India is committed to building an environment of peaceful and cooperative relations with all its neighbours, including Pakistan.
Only hours before landing at Lahore, Mr. Modi inaugurated India’s symbolic gift of democracy to Afghanistan – its new parliament building in Kabul. India has born a cost of 90 million US dollars to build the grand new building of Afghan Parliament. Modi also accompanied the delivery of new attack helicopters for the Afghan government, vastly stepping up India’s military aid to Afghanistan.During his visit; Mr. Modi met with the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, and addressed the Afghan Parliament in Kabul, in a visit that included explicit criticism of Pakistan for its alleged role in sheltering the Taliban insurgency.
Where Pakistan was criticized by Kabul during Modi’s visit; one cannot ignore Indian RAW’s clandestine operations against Pakistan from Afghan soil. RAW previously conducted stealthy terrorist activities in Pakistan in conjunction with Afghanistan’s Intelligence agency Riyast-i-Amoor-o-Amanat-i-Milliyah (RAAM). RAW used Afghan soil for carrying out massive terrorist activities against Pakistan. Daily Dawn has also previously reported that the three arrested militants of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan namely Khurram Ishtiaq, Ghulam Mustafa and Shamim have disclosed that RAW has been funding suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan and that the Indian intelligence agency has channeled Rs680 million through its links with the Afghan secret agency, RAAM.
Webster Griffin Tarpley, an American correspondent in a TV interview while responding to a question said; “the Research and Analysis Wing of Indian intelligence, they are up in Afghanistan, recruiting crazies from there to bring them down and help them to engage in terrorism inside Pakistan. So the Indians have this real dirty aspect’.RAW and RAAM supports insurgent groups in Balochistan. Zahidan border has been used for destabilization of Balochistan. Shahgarh-Kishangarh Indo-Pak border is also under use to supply arms to terrorists in Karachi and Balochistan. There is a strong suspicion that the unrest in Balochistan and FATA region has something to do with the RAW’s presence in Afghanistan and the number of Indian consulates that are operating close to the Pakistani border. In this connection, one cannot ignore the observations made by renowned scholar Christine Fair of Rand Cooperation who said that “having visited the Indian mission in Zahedan, I can assure you they are not issuing visas as the main activity. Moreover, India has run operations from its mission in Mazar (through which it supported the Northern Alliance) and is doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Kandahar along the border. Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Balochistan.’
In the light of these circumstances one can only hope that the political leadership of Afghanistan, India and Pakistan will show some real engagement to peace process and stop proxy war against each other otherwise gloomy hopes of peace may results into further tensions in the region.