Forget Kashmir, let’s talk trade: Indian envoy

Published: September 6, 2016
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PHOTO: INDIAN EXPRESS

PHOTO: INDIAN EXPRESS

KARACHI: India is unable to hide its frustration over Pakistan’s aggressive diplomacy on the use of brute force by security forces in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. “People living in glass houses should not be throwing stones at others,” India’s top envoy said at an interactive session organised by the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations on Monday.

Gautam Bambawale, India’s high commissioner in Islamabad, called Kashmir an ‘internal matter’ of India. “There are problems in both India and Pakistan and you [Pakistan] should focus on resolving your problems before looking into the problems of other countries,” he added.

Islamabad rejects New Delhi’s claim on Kashmir

Dozens of people have been killed and thousands injured by Indian security forces in an unsuccessful attempt to quell an uprising triggered by the killing of a popular Kashmiri separatist leader Burhan Wani by Indian police in July.

Bambawale chose to dodge questions about the recent remarks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Balochistan and Gilgi-Baltistan. “The prime minister, in his August 15 independence day speech, only referred to the letters he had received,” he added.

Modi claimed that he had received ‘letters of thanks’ from the people of Balchistan and G-B for raising voice in their favour. Analysts call it an attempt by the Indian leader to counter Pakistan’s aggressive diplomacy on Kashmir which boomeranged as rallies were subsequently staged across Balochistan against Modi’s remarks.

Asked about Kulbushan Jadhav, the RAW agent arrested in Balochistan earlier this year, Bambawale said New Delhi has been very clear on the matter. “After the arrest was made we said he [Jadhav] was an Indian national but does not work for any government organisation,” he added. “We asked for consular access to Jadhav, but our request was turned down by Pakistan.”

Jadhav has admitted in a video confession that he was a serving Indian navy commander and worked for RAW to foment trouble in Balochistan and Karachi.

In an attempt to counter Jadhav’s confession, Bambawale said security forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir had also arrested a ‘Pakistani man’ he identified as Bahadur Ali who confessed to his involvement in creating unrest in the region.

Pakistan cannot offer trade concessions to India unilaterally

New Delhi blames Pakistan for the ongoing unrest in Kashmir – a claim recently dismissed by a former RAW chief. “There has been anger simmering [in Kashmir] for a long time and we [India] did not take cognisance of it. That anger just needed a spark, and Burhan Wani did that,” AS Dulat told India’s The Economic Times newspaper in an interview.

Pakistan says India, through its top spy agency RAW, is fomenting trouble in Balochistan in an attempt to sabotage the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. “India will not derail any process that is for the betterment of Pakistan,” Bambawale said but admitted that his country has objection to the CPEC route.

Pakistan calls Kashmir the main reason of discord with India, Bambawale, however, said the road to normalisation between the two countries lies through greater trade and business. “There is a great potential that needs to be tapped.”

He said in order for trade to improve, Pakistan had to grant India the Most-Favoured Nation status. “There should be more participation in trade fairs and more Pakistani trade delegations should visit India,” he added. “There is no option but to do it step by step.”

The Indian envoy said political issues could take time to resolve, but countries could start by taking up smaller matters. “We have boundary issues with China but we decided on building other relationships to move forward. Today, they are our biggest trade partners,” he said. “We should start by grabbing the low hanging fruit.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2016. 

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Reader Comments (41)

  • Khwaja
    Sep 6, 2016 - 9:54AM

    No kashmir. No trade. End of story. I love the people but Modi’s india has done nothing to build trust.

    So lets continue to widen the distance. It will only bring us closer to how things ought to be. Recommend

  • Asim
    Sep 6, 2016 - 10:09AM

    forget Afghanistan, lets talk NepalRecommend

  • Dr Sal
    Sep 6, 2016 - 10:11AM

    Why the Indians are total disconnected with the issue. All roads to India go via Kashmir PERIOD.Recommend

  • Virkaul
    Sep 6, 2016 - 10:23AM

    @Khwaja:
    Absolutely! No trade. India doesn’t need to trade with Pakistan. Neither do Afghanistan and Iran. Pakistan can live in their own cocoon until, China buys all their assets.Recommend

  • Rehmat Ali
    Sep 6, 2016 - 10:31AM

    Same strategy our PM Nawaz already following since decades.Recommend

  • salman
    Sep 6, 2016 - 10:57AM

    We dont need trade with you, we need a peaceful deal over Kashmir first. Recommend

  • Vectra
    Sep 6, 2016 - 11:12AM

    “India is unable to hide its frustration over Pakistan’s aggressive diplomacy on the use of brute force by security forces in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir”

    Pakistan’s aggressive diplomacy,you mean sending some 22 MNA’s + Baluchistan CM sending its own MP’s to world capitals to brief them is aggressive diplomacy.??
    Man 1st tell how many Prime Ministers or Presidents or Defence Chiefs or Foreign Ministers of those nations have given their precious time to these MNA’s.Have they given their time or not???

    If Yes then did it have any impact on India and if No then what aggressive diplomacy this article is talking about???

    In my opinion its all fooling public and enjoying free time taking foreign tour on public money on the pretext of India Kashmir excuse and if India’s ambassador is talking about trade then Pakistan should grab the opportunity.Recommend

  • FAZ
    Sep 6, 2016 - 11:13AM

    We are saying the same thing the other way around Mr. Envoy. Remember, India will gain a lot from trade with Pakistan. Recommend

  • PrakashG
    Sep 6, 2016 - 11:18AM

    Good sugestion. Seeing that Pakistan is so excited about CPEC, how about an IPEC too?Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Sep 6, 2016 - 11:34AM

    First We Lost Bangladesh Due to our own Policies Now It might be Baluchistan. Kashmir Kashmir kar k Baki Pakistan Ka Satyanas na maro Bhai.

    Aggressive Diplomacy ? USA cancelled F16 Due to Indian Diplomacy Now that is what we call Aggressive Diplomacy. Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Sep 6, 2016 - 11:35AM

    India = HypocrisyRecommend

  • Ahmad
    Sep 6, 2016 - 11:47AM

    Delusional People. Recommend

  • Anon
    Sep 6, 2016 - 11:50AM

    India doesn’t need trade or anything from Pakistan, as India is progressing well without Pakistan Recommend

  • Marco
    Sep 6, 2016 - 12:24PM

    @Dr Sal: Then you are stuck my dear. Hope you enjoy where you’re at!Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Sep 6, 2016 - 12:26PM

    @FAZ:
    What is India going to gain from Pakistan? your markets are already sold out to the ChineseRecommend

  • Marco
    Sep 6, 2016 - 12:27PM

    @FAZ: Well…Keep saying it. Nobody is interested in Kashmir issue. The world goes where trade and businesses go.Recommend

  • TBS
    Sep 6, 2016 - 12:38PM

    Yes, you maybe right because TRADE is the only language our government understands. Let the poor Kashmiris suffer the slings and arrows as long as our leaders can have ‘trade’ with India. After all it does fatten their bank balances!Recommend

  • VINOD KUMAR JAISWAL
    Sep 6, 2016 - 12:53PM

    “India is unable to hide its frustration over Pakistan’s aggressive diplomacy on the use of brute force by security forces in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.” The opening sentence itself reeks otherwise. You tried all the tricks of the trade in Punjab. You are trying every dirty trick of the world in Kashmir from day one of your coming into being. We assure you that nothing will work. Recommend

  • Singh
    Sep 6, 2016 - 1:16PM

    He is right. Talk about trade, not Kashmir.Recommend

  • Taxzu
    Sep 6, 2016 - 1:17PM

    @PrakashG
    IPEC is not a bad idea.
    I dont know why India is so desperate to keep Kashmir on the cost of strained relationship with Pakistan. There is so much India can gain by just normalising the relationship. India is faced by severe energy crisis and it will increase with time. Instead of begging every other country for NSG membership they should focus on being friend with Pakistan. Only poor relation with Pakistan is standing between India’s access to Central Asian and Irani energy resources. Instead of using chahbahar port indian can have shortest ever crude pipeline from iran to gujrat (Jamnagar Refinery) via sindh. Same goes for trade routes and gas pipeline from central asian countries. India has the potential to become world power but instead they chose to fight for inconsequential Kashmir. And USA knows this therefore they keep playing friends with both. Recommend

  • Haramullah Fattuddin
    Sep 6, 2016 - 2:32PM

    @Taxzu:
    Nice Idea, but there is a trust deficit.Recommend

  • a&a
    Sep 6, 2016 - 2:32PM

    NS will be more than happy to do so ……Recommend

  • PrakashG
    Sep 6, 2016 - 2:54PM

    @Taxzu:
    So bottom line: no Kashmir, no IPEC, no nothing. We get it.Recommend

  • Maz
    Sep 6, 2016 - 3:16PM

    No kashmir. No trade

    LOL

    Even America which is the largest Economy in the world doesn’t have have the courage to be so presumptuous about dictating what can and cannot be on a trade negotiation. Remember – India “trading” with Pakistan only brings India “pocket change” while it would massively help Pakistan. The High Comissioner’s statement about “trade” is an Olive branch – not a concession.

    The reason he speaks about trade – and this is something even Musharaff tried, is that it is simple and therefore doable without much trust required.

    The Pakistani establishment knows that there is no chance on Earth that India will ever relinquish its control over the Kashmir valley and there is nothing they can do to change this fact. The only thing left to negotiate is how and when to convert the LoC into an international border.

    If Punjab can be divided between India and Pakistan – so can Jammu and Kashmir. No amount of stone throwing and bearded clowns running around scaring children will alter that fact. Recommend

  • wow
    Sep 6, 2016 - 3:27PM

    Cricket and Anti India sentiment keeps Pakistan together. Cricket is not doing any good so Pakis wont allow trade etc. as they only believe in Anti India policy to keep their act together. Unfortunate…Recommend

  • Vectra
    Sep 6, 2016 - 3:39PM

    @Taxzu:
    Just reverse what you said with and India with Pakistan and you will find Pakistan also fits there perfectlyRecommend

  • Reader
    Sep 6, 2016 - 3:59PM

    Internal matter? Indians are daydreaming. Kashmir is internationally recognized disputed region.
    We don’t want trade. we want to resolve kashmir issue first. By only solving this issue both nations will benefits billion times more than trade.
    Indians live in dillusional world. If modi wants to talk about balochistan we can talk about Hyderabad and Puna state as wellRecommend

  • SHAH
    Sep 6, 2016 - 4:57PM

    @Virkaul: Just wait, then we will see how the Afghans, Hindu-stanis and Persians run to be part of CPEC corridor and the Oil & Gas Pipelines from Russia Tajikhistan and Kazakhistan. So, keep trade inside Hindus-tan and keep buying weapons and military Trash for Cash from your new daddy the USofA; Be happy as USofA will fleece your Hindu-stan with whatever cash you have accumulated till now; Great News;Recommend

  • M. Emad
    Sep 6, 2016 - 5:07PM

    Potato = YES.
    F-16 = NO.Recommend

  • FAZ
    Sep 6, 2016 - 5:14PM

    @Tyggar:

    In other words, India doesn’t stand the completion?. For your information, the trade deficit between India and China is 57b USD. In favour of China that is.Recommend

  • Nunan
    Sep 6, 2016 - 5:50PM

    First time I have visited this site, and the news is so doctored… guys, wake up .. just by putting false news u cant get rid away of the reality…. put go to Journalism college in Europe or America and then start writing..Recommend

  • genesis
    Sep 6, 2016 - 10:19PM

    @Khwaja:
    Good for India and there are many nations one to trade with.It is not option that has been shut down.Trade generally brings down hostilities but if it is not desired so be it.Spend all the meager resources on fighting for Kashmir who are a minuscule minority and honestly do not deserve the sacrifice that both nations are making on their behalf!Recommend

  • Khanra
    Sep 7, 2016 - 2:49AM

    @VINOD KUMAR JAISWAL: nothing will work? If you accuse us of fomenting trouble in Kashmir, you should also realize the whole of Kashmir Valley hates India. So it seems we’ve at least succeeded in that regard, if we are doing as you claim. Alienation will lead to separation. But don’t give us credit for that feat, blame your own security forces and broken promises to Kashmir. Recommend

  • Desi
    Sep 7, 2016 - 2:54AM

    @Virkaul:
    Pakistan has excellent relationship with Iran, Iranians want very much to increace trade, transport connection and other kind of contact with Pakistan, the same do Pakistan.Recommend

  • Khanra
    Sep 7, 2016 - 2:55AM

    @Virkaul:
    You’re horribly wrong, Afghanistan is almost completely reliant on Pakistan for trade, and even Chabahar won’t change the fact that the roads to that port or too dangerous to travel on. Did your Indian news bother to report that the Taliban have shut down the road which connects Kabul/Kandahar to Chabahar? How will Afghanistan rely on Chabahar when the road is not even safe to travel on?

    And don’t bring Iran into this. Iran is repeatedly asking for close trade ties and Pakistan is obliging. Recommend

  • Sandip
    Sep 7, 2016 - 4:46AM

    @Taxzu: Have you seen a poor man befriend a beggar? What you are suggesting is exactly that. No matter how poor one is, he/she wants to move up the chain. For India, that means befriending the developed world, although on it’s own terms, certainly not what you are suggesting.Recommend

  • Cool Henry
    Sep 7, 2016 - 5:02AM

    @Khanra:
    Taliban are brave (read cruel) only with unarmed hapless civilians. So, once the Afghan Army with support from Iranian and Indian military show up, they will either fizzle away or surrender.Recommend

  • Cool Henry
    Sep 7, 2016 - 5:04AM

    @Dr Sal: About the only thing there’s to discuss about Kashmir is for Pakistan to vacate the Kashmiri territory it currently occupies illegally.Recommend

  • mirestan
    Sep 7, 2016 - 8:10AM

    First Kashmir than any other thing with India. People of Pakistan’s voice. Period.Recommend

  • VINOD KUMAR JAISWAL
    Sep 7, 2016 - 12:16PM

    @Khanra: Beauty of a pulsating and alive democracy like India, America, Uk and others is that the people have the freedom to discuss openly the failures and mistakes. They also have the guts and willingness to correct the mistakes and say sorry. Look at your sham democracy even today you are not ready to say sorry to the people of Bangladesh and you are single tracked in your approach in Balochistan, Gilgit etc. This arrogance, denial and justification will lead you no where ever. Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Sep 7, 2016 - 8:44PM

    @FAZ:
    You have a free trade agreement with your Chinese masters and you refuse to give us even MFN status and you talk about competition. That’s hilarious!Recommend

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