ANOTHER opportunity to talk has been squandered. In the wake of India’s decision to pull out of foreign minister-level talks at the UNGA, I was struck by the unanimity of views among Pakistani analysts trying to decode India’s move. Virtually all of them linked it to next year’s Indian elections.
In a recent conversation on India-Pakistan issues, I found a group of Pakistani opinion-makers challenging this conventional wisdom. They argued that India is approaching the relationship with Pakistan with a longer time horizon in mind. They pointed out that in Pakistan-India policy fora, they have noticed a shift in the body language of Indian interlocutors. It is far more confident, if not arrogant, and fixated on the country’s upward trajectory. There are regular references to the growing economic and military differential between India and Pakistan and to comparisons with Nepal and Bangladesh when Pakistan is referenced. The mindset doesn’t reflect an India that feels a need to compromise with Pakistan anymore.
While I do not subscribe to this presentation of facts, I accept the bottom line about India’s focus on the growing power imbalance in the region. I have previously explained what the longer game may be premised on: if India can continue growing economically and diverting significant resources to defence while forcing Pakistan to remain wedded to a paradigm that prizes hard security over economic well-being, in a decade or two, the power differential will be so large that the only negotiation possible would be on the stronger party’s terms.
Ties with India must be rejigged.
They argued that India gains by ignoring Pakistan while blaming Pakistan every time the Kashmir issue goes south. New Delhi agrees to talks every now and then to present itself as the magnanimous big brother but then backtracks by pointing to some incident or the other regarding Kashmir. This is seen as hubris that must be responded to by staying steadfast.
Using their very logic, India’s approach must be construed as one that is designed to force Pakistan to dig in, in turn allowing India to further cement its narrative in the world. When I pointed this out, I was told that India is delusional if it feels it can widen the gap with Pakistan — the conversation quickly shifted to poverty, deprivation, and communal problems in India as reasons why India’s rise is artificial.
Smart policy must be predicated on improving oneself, not on hoping for the opponent’s failure. But in this case, does the view hold up against evidence? There is no denying that India has myriad internal problems that aren’t easily fixable. It’s also true that under the current government there, societal intolerance has come to the fore and an objective analyst cannot but worry about the consequences of the callous way in which New Delhi is handling it. And yet, in country after country, the neo-liberal economic model has proven to have unlimited patience with the plight of the downtrodden as the macroeconomic picture is fixed to register the country on the map of global powerhouses. The model is sustainable.
Pakistan must proactively figure out how it can rejig the deteriorating equation vis-à-vis India. I have been highlighting two aspects of this overhaul.
First, Pakistan needs to continue offering India dialogue and be prepared for serious negotiations on all issues regardless of India’s responses. Precisely because India wants to remain on the good side of the global narrative, it will sooner or later have to acquiesce to talking — which would be good for Pakistan-India relations — or its constant refusal will automatically begin to project Pakistan in a more positive light.
Second, Pakistan needs to reorient its thinking from geo-security to geo-economics. About the only way to develop a genuine Indian stake in Pakistan’s stability while gaining economically is to position Pakistan as a regional trade and transit hub. CPEC is the perfect start. Adding on east-west connectivity by allowing India access to Afghanistan and Central Asia (ideally in return for its acceptance of CPEC) and championing fast tracking of already-agreed upon energy projects that flow from Central Asia to India will offer Pakistan significant transit fees and local economic benefits, remove India’s opposition to CPEC, and force genuine economic interdependence. The outcome will also align with the US interest in offering Afghanistan greater economic opportunity and incidentally, China’s ultimate goal of doing the same.
Admittedly, this is easier said than done — and unpopular. But even initiating a serious internal debate on this vision will force a rethink of our own dated take on geo-strategy, begin shifting the global view of Pakistan as the impediment to regional integration in South Asia, and prompt India to question the utility of its policy of seeking to isolate Pakistan globally.
来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/46248.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
Shahbaz Asif Tahir
I totally disagree with your logic. India is not something we Pakistanis cannot do with out.
“ in a decade or two, the power differential will be so large that the only negotiation possible would be on the stronger party’s terms.”
In a decade or two?! Seems very unrealistically optimistic. It feels that way NOW.
For India, Pakistan is a problem as opposed to an opportunity. Talks become meaningful when both countries see each other as opportunities instead of problems.
Our foreign policy and defence policy is always India centric! If we want to have a shift from Geosecurity to Geoeconomics, we must keep Kashmir issue on hold for next few years and have dialogue with India on trade, transport, and tourism etc. We must keep in mind that India will never agree to discuss Kashmir issue in the very beginning as an unresolved issue.
Wonderfull and sensible aricle. Positive vibes
Well written and Good idea.only economic interdepency can improve relations, diminishing fear of war and prosperity for all
I like your style but it is wishful thinking. No govt in Pakistan is going to open up towards India (or atleast in our life time). So let us stop thinking this will happen anytime soon.
very well explained. India is far ahead now but if pakistan follows the way auther said its Good for the region
Good thinking. To improve relation with India, Pakistan must change it's policy of Kashmir first. Keep Kashmir on back track and negotiate to improve trade and transit facilities to get maximum economical benefit from India.
A very astute analysis by the author and Dawn. In any negotiations, there is something which you have to be able to offer the other party. Pakistan has two things it can put on the table, which it refuses to do so.
Free trade with India ( MFN status to India).
Transit trade with Afghanistan.
At least with these two things, there is the possibility of talks. Otherwise, there is no need to talk with Pakistan now or ever.
Impressed, thoroughly impressed. This is hard thought analysis after understanding constraints and limitations and yet, seeking a way forward. Hope both countries have the audicity to move forward.
Finally a sensible article on analysis of Indian response. "Smart policy must be predicated on improving oneself, not on hoping for the opponent’s failure." Sums it up
India is doing exactly what Israel is doing to Palestinians...demonise them and find any excuse to pull out of negotiations as they have nothing to gain from the talks other than peace....while they can loose the occupied territoy....
Not squandered a chance. One party destroyed the chance of talking
Trade with INDIA is the only solution to come out of our all problems. But, don't expect till Modi @ center. We can survive only if Congress in the power.