Pakistan desires peace and cordial relations with India, says army chief

Sib Kaifee
Fri, 2017-10-13 03:00

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s army chief, Qamar Javed Bajwa, has reiterated Islamabad’s desire for a resumption of dialogue with India and for peaceful relations with its eastern neighbor. Both nations are engaged in border skirmishes resulting in loss of life along the disputed boundary of Jammu and Kashmir.
Speaking at a seminar of Interplay of Economy and Security on Wednesday, Gen. Bajwa said, “It takes two hands to clap” and without India reciprocating, issues will remain unresolved between the nuclear-armed rivals.
“With a belligerent India on our east and an unstable Afghanistan on our west, the region remains captive due to historical baggage and negative competition,” said Bajwa.
He stressed that Pakistan had worked hard toward making a “deliberate and concentrated effort to pacify the western border through a multitude of diplomatic, military and economic initiatives.”
Gen. Bajwa’s remarks come nearly a week after the former chiefs of Pakistan and India’s prime intelligence agencies said that diplomatic communication channels were essential and must remain open for the sake of both countries’ national interests.
Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI’s) former Director-General Ehsan ul Haq, and former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) spymaster, Amarjit Singh Dulat, took part in a debate at the London School of Economics in which both underlined that talks were the only option for resolving long standing issues.
Ehsan, responding to a question, said: “Interaction must be such that even when there is a breakdown in diplomatic relations between states and entities, the intelligence channel must continue because that becomes the last resort for venting and pre-empting crisis; the initiative for this has to come down from the political level.”
Ehsan’s former counterpart agreed and said that India should not cut ties with Pakistan as it made no sense to him. Pointing to history, he explained that even in the worst days of the Cold War, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Russian Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (KGB) talked to each other.
On the other hand, Aqab Malik, security and strategy analyst at Pakistan’s National Defense University, believes that “India doesn’t want to engage because Americans are angry at Pakistan” and they (the Americans) are seeking a greater role for India in ending the Afghanistan conflict.
“It’s also mutual interest,” he said speaking to Arab News, and referring to the uncanny relationship between US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He stressed that even in “100 years” India would not be friends with Pakistan. “Thinking otherwise would be living in a fool’s paradise.”
“We can’t compete in any way with India except when it comes to nuclear weapons. India has long term aims but we don’t and that’s why they don’t care about opening communication channels,” said Malik, explaining the large differences between both countries and noting that Pakistan is on the weaker footing.
Over the last 15 months the militaries of both countries have violated the cease-fire agreement — India claiming over 600 and Pakistan countering with a claim of 700 violations. The trust deficit has only grown over several decades with a dimming of hopes for a viable solution to end the Kashmir and eastern border dispute.
Pakistan’s foreign secretary, briefing the heads of missions of the permanent members of the UN Security Council in Islamabad, stressed the unprecedented escalation by Indian occupation forces at the line of control and the working boundary in 2017. She expressed grave concern over the increased frequency and duration of indiscriminate firing/shelling from the Indian side, deliberately targeting villages and civilian populated areas. This has resulted up to now in the deaths of 45 civilians and injuries to 155, including women and children.
Pakistan said it has displayed exemplary restraint but has been compelled to respond.
Malik painted a grim picture and said: “We are a thorn in their side and an obstacle to India’s ambition to become a regional power. That’s why there will never be a solution to the conflict between Pakistan and India.”

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