The India-Pakistan relations, which plunged to a new low in the aftermath of the 2016 terror strikes allegedly masterminded by Pakistan-based terrorists, look set to continue in the mode of mutual recriminations and distrust in 2017, with hardly any possibility of a thaw in the near term. Islamabad’s latest gambit to internationalise the issue of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav by seeking to present a dossier before the UN on the alleged terrorist activities of Jadhav portends another bleak year for the severely challenged India-Pakistan relations.
Typical of Pakistan’s posturing, double-speak and grandstanding, Islamabad appears to be in no mood to prosecute Pakistan-based terrorists involved in the Pathankot and Uri terror attacks in India in 2016. Instead, in a latest salvo, Pakistan has claimed it’s a direct victim of Indian “state-sponsored terrorism” and claimed that Jadhav’s activities were aimed at destabilising Pakistan and slaughtering Pakistani nationals. “With such duplicitous behaviour and blood on its hands, India has little credibility on counter-terrorism,” said the spokesperson of Pakistan’s Foreign Office. In a warning to India, he added that Pakistan will share with the UN “additional evidence” of New Delhi’s involvement in terrorism in Pakistan. India has sought consular access to Jadhav, but Islamabad has not responded yet.
Raking espionage charges against the alleged Indian RAW agent is seen in New Delhi as a diversionary tactic by Pakistan’s powerful military-ISI establishment to deflect attention from the role of Pakistan-based terrorist groups in the terror attacks in India in 2016.
Politics of terror?
With Pakistan in denial, the Modi government is set to be more assertive on cross-border terrorism. The political dynamics involved in a series of state elections to be held this year in India will further complicate the picture as PM Modi and his colleagues in the party are set to flaunt the cross-LOC surgical strikes against Pakistani militants to mobilise nationalist sentiments against the perpetrator of terror. In such a scenario, if there is another terror attack in India in which the Pakistani involvement is established, then the India-Pakistan ties are set to go from bad to worse. It’s early days, but latest indications suggest that 2017 is going to be another grim year for the India-Pakistan relations.
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