Prospects of Pak-India peace grim

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Prospects of Pak-India peace grim

The foreign office, in its assessment, gave its input to the government on foreign policy challenges including ties with India

DNA

ISLAMABAD: Prospects of any rapprochement between Pakistan and India are grim but the situation can change after the Indian elections, according to the assessment of the foreign office shared with the new government.

The government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has been getting briefings from different departments and ministries since it took charge. The foreign office, in its assessment, gave its input to the government on foreign policy challenges including ties with India.

Soon after the prime minister took charge, the outgoing caretaker foreign minister Jailil Abbas Jilani along with Foreign Secretary Syrus Qazi briefed Shehbaz Sharif.

Earlier, this week there was another briefing at the foreign office for the newly appointed Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar.

The assessment both by the outgoing foreign minister and the foreign secretary suggested that there were no or little chances of any breakthrough in the relationship between Pakistan and India in the foreseeable future.

Dar was informed that India, under Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was pursuing a policy of “Hindutva.” He was told that the Modi government was taking practical steps to convert India into a pure “Hindu State.”

India has also been aggressively pursuing the policy to ensure Pakistan’s international isolation, according to the assessment. In this backdrop, there were grim prospects of any ice break between the two countries.

However, the foreign office was also of the view that the situation could take a turn around after the Indian elections that are due in next couple of months.

Indian Prime Minister Modi had congratulated Shehbaz Sharif over his election as the prime minister. However, his unusually terse statement raised many eyebrows.

Shehbaz took two days to respond and his reply was equally brief, suggesting that both sides were not willing to concede an inch.

There has been a stalemate in the relationship between Pakistan and India for many years. The real dip in the relationship came in August 2019 when India revoked the special status of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region.

Pakistan downgraded the diplomatic ties and suspended trade in reaction to the Indian unilateral move.

There was a brief period in 2021 when chances of breakthrough were high after both sides agreed to renew the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC).

But the process could not move forward after the then government of Prime Minister Imran Khan vetoed a proposal to partially restore trade.