Pakistan’s military seeks rapprochement with India, says report

Published: May 7, 2018
In this file photo, Pakistan and Indian border security troops share sweets at Wagah border. PHOTO: AFP

In this file photo, Pakistan and Indian border security troops share sweets at Wagah border. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa believes that peace and prosperity in Pakistan is linked to better military cooperation with arch rival India, says a report by a UK-based think tank.

According to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) report, published on May 3, bilateral ties between the two arch-rivals are warming with Gen Bajwa saying that the “Pakistan military wanted peace and dialogue with India”.

The statement came two weeks after the COAS invited Indian military attaché Sanjay Vishwasrao and his team to the Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad.

In a historic first, the Foreign Office has confirmed Pakistan would be taking part in joint military exercises with India and other regional countries, including China, under the banner of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

The joint military drills are scheduled to be held in Russia in August this year.

Pakistan, India to take part in military drills: FO

The series of events are a sign of rapprochement against the background of regular exchanges of fire along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary.

Speaking at RUSI last year, Gen Qamar had announced that, “the Pakistan Army is now no more insecure and feels confident of its future and that he welcomes Indian participation in Pakistan’s flagship infrastructure project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).”

This is not the first time a Pakistani military leader has approached his Indian counterparts to thaw frosty relations.

Lt-Gen Aamir Riaz headed the first high-level contact group with India as the Director-General Military Operations (DGMO), the report said.

Another top officer, Maj-Gen Ahmed Hayat, the Director General of the analysis wing of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), authored the ‘India Plan’ in 2013, which tried to ascertain how and when Pakistan should approach India, it added.

According to Gen Hayat, the Pakistani military would approach India after Islamabad strengthened its defence diplomacy without pressure or threats from Washington.

“It is a no-brainer that one cannot live in an environment of perpetual enmity with a neighbour six times your size, but the indicators have to be right,” he was quoted as saying.

In a first, Indian diplomats attend Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad

“History teaches us to be cautious when approaching India – history paints India as an anti-status quo entity.”

According to the report, Pakistan now feels more politically stable and Gen Hayat’s plan could come to fruition this year.

With growing security and stability on the western border following back-to-back successful operations Zarb-e-Azb in 2014 and Radd-ul-Fassad in 2017, the army understands that talking to India will help the country’s upward economic trajectory and allow regional trade flourish, according to the RUSI report.

Despite cold response from India on transit trade dialogue on Afghan-India commerce, Pakistan’s military leadership’s sustained efforts are highly likely to exact the desired response sooner rather than later. “It could only be a matter of time before Delhi agrees to at least talk to Islamabad,” the report suggested.

“There is some rapprochement, but it is stuttering and there’s a long way to go yet.”

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Reader Comments (5)

  • BrainBro
    May 7, 2018 - 6:29AM

    The establishment wants civilian politicians subdued while making headway with India. The bureaucrats sitting in New Delhi are smarter than what the GHQ believes them to be.Recommend

  • madhaya
    May 7, 2018 - 9:11AM

    Good move Recommend

  • Tyggar
    May 7, 2018 - 11:46AM

    Everytime Pakistan talks peace, it means it is preparing a kargil, mumbai or pathankot attackRecommend

  • tatvavetta
    May 7, 2018 - 12:35PM

    This a positive move which we hope is honest.There are no military solutions for anything.
    Hope this will go long way in building trust for several decades against deficit accumulated since 1948.Recommend

  • Farooq Ahmed
    May 7, 2018 - 10:29PM

    Peace the only option for progress, confrontation a recipe for poor nations, a disaster Recommend

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