After NSA fiasco, military talks also in doldrums

Published: August 24, 2015
PM Nawaz Sharif shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at the SCO summit in Ufa, Russia. PHOTO: INP

PM Nawaz Sharif shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at the SCO summit in Ufa, Russia. PHOTO: INP


Following the last-minute scuttling of talks between the national security advisers of Pakistan and India, proposed meetings between senior military officials of the two countries are now unlikely to take place in the near future, The Express Tribune has learnt from senior Pakistani officials.

The separate meetings between Director General Military Operations (DGMOs) and heads of Pakistan Rangers and India’s Border Security Force (BSF) were part of the understanding reached between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in their meeting in the Russian city of Ufa last month.

New Delhi wanted the two meetings to take place before the NSA-level talks but Islamabad proposed the interaction between senior military officials in September. Islamabad had suggested September 6 for the meeting between the heads of Rangers and BSF. It would have been followed by the DGMOs’ meeting.

Read: US expresses disappointment over cancellation of Pakistan, India peace talks

However, with the NSA talks called off due to differences over the agenda as well as Pakistan’s invitation to Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders, the meetings between DGMOs as well as heads of Rangers and BSF are uncertain, said a senior Pakistani official.

“In fact, the entire Ufa agreement has now become controversial,” the official added while requesting anonymity. He disclosed that the Ufa accord has become ‘irrelevant’ as a result of cancellation of the NSA talks.

Different interpretations of the Ufa joint statement had led to a blame game that eventually compelled Pakistan to call off the NSA talks just hours before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz was to travel to New Delhi.

While India was adamant that under the Ufa accord, the NSA meeting was restricted to terrorism-related issues, Pakistan insisted the Kashmir issue was very much part of the agenda.

In an interview with India’s CNN-IBN news channel, Aziz admitted that the Ufa agreement was interpreted differently by both the countries. He, however, insisted that Pakistan’s agenda of the NSA talks was in line with the Ufa joint statement.

When asked, Aziz said the DGMOs meeting would go ahead but he would not give the exact date for the senior military officials’ talks.  These meetings were aimed at reducing rising tensions along the Line of Control and working boundary. Since the Ufa meeting, there have been at least close to 200 incidents of ceasefire violations reported by both sides along the LoC and working boundary. Both sides accused the other for hostilities.

Read: Pakistan calls off ‘pre-conditional’ talks with India: FO spokesperson

The stalemate is likely to ratchet up tensions between the two neighbours, although Pakistan hoped the cancellation of talks would not further deteriorate ties. While prospects of resumption of talks seem remote at this stage, the official said both countries would now use ‘backchannel’ to sort out modalities before any future engagements.

Given the pressure by powerful Western countries, particularly the US, on both Pakistan and India, the two countries will still explore options for re-engagement, said another official. The upcoming UN General Assembly (UNGA) session may provide a platform to Islamabad and New Delhi to look into options for maintaining some kind of contact.

The official said Pakistan was also considering the option of going ‘aggressive’ on the Kashmir issue during the UNGA session where the prime minister will make the keynote address. “But it depends how things pan out in coming days,” said the official, adding if India continues sticking to its current stance, then Pakistan will be left with no other option but to raise the longstanding dispute at all international forums.

India, however, continues harping on to the old mantra of terrorism, further bedevilling relations with Pakistan instead of making efforts to miminise the damage done by the cancellation of the NSA talks. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary, Anurag Thakur, said on Saturday there will be no revival of cricketing relations with Pakistan if Islamabad harbours Dawood Ibrahim, India’s most-wanted man, and continues dialogue with Hurriyet leaders.

“Dawood in Karachi. National Security Agency (NSA) wants to meet separatists here. Are you really serious about peace and you expect we’ll play cricket with you?” Thakur said in a twitter message, according to the Press Trust of India.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2015. 

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Gruham
    Aug 24, 2015 - 8:13AM

    The Pakistani establishment know very well that their “only moral and diplomatic support to the freedom fighters in Kashmir” line does not work anywhere, except within Pakistan, but the Pakistani Army will continue to arm twist the political establishment to repeat this at every international forum. That’s the only way the Army can be relevant within PaksitanRecommend

  • salman
    Aug 24, 2015 - 8:23AM

    Get a Life Indians. Whom are you fooling? you are trying to burn next door neighbor and shout for heat? You complain for Hafiz saeed and spare the Samjhoota express convict Swami Aseemanand? You talk about lakhnavi while You give state funeral to Sarbajeet singh for killing 25 Innocent pakistanis? Separate the east Pakistan and claim Pakistan is fueling Kashmir? Talk about peace so why shouldn’t we start with Simla accord? Stop day dreaming and crying like a child every morning. World is not ready to buy old stories. Just in-case you threat for war , You are more than welcome . Deal with the pigeon and move on.Recommend

  • Arif Mohammed
    Aug 24, 2015 - 10:05AM

    @salman: then why go to UN, US , OIC, KSA crying and begging to interfere in Kashmir.Recommend

  • Humair
    Aug 24, 2015 - 11:10AM

    @Arif Mohammed:
    we seek international attention over this issue as world largest democracy is playing there cards too…..Recommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Aug 24, 2015 - 12:53PM

    Waste of time to talk now. More fruitful after the nuclear war.Recommend

  • Point
    Aug 24, 2015 - 1:02PM

    @Arif Mohammed:
    I guess the beggins is much more from modi side who has no other thing to speak but to whine about Pakistan in Russia, China, Bangladesh, US, and now even abu Dhabi. I wish he had more to do then to only promote hatred every where . Sick mentality wont last for long. Recommend

  • fact
    Aug 24, 2015 - 1:07PM

    @Arif Mohammed:
    May you grow up someday Recommend

  • Pankaj
    Aug 24, 2015 - 2:28PM

    Now you are talking about blasts and terrorism !!!?? That was supposed to discusses in NSA talks but your officials were more interested in Kashmir. This was international level talks where you have specific agenda not some road side tea-stall talks. Your PM decide something and your NSA want to talk about other thing and you expect international community to respect you !!! first respect your own elected leader’s decision. Recommend

  • TiffinBox
    Aug 24, 2015 - 4:06PM

    @salman, you really seem to be too much b-hurt. Here it is … Your credibility as a nation was zero and after obl saga the ranking is already in the negatives. Why do you think the U.S is delaying the latest 300 million dollar to Pakistan?. Not many counties want to deal with Pakistan. And about war, you already are in a war, the modus operandi has changed but the consequences remains the same …. Wait for another decade and you’ll be in tatters.Recommend

  • Majaadhar
    Aug 24, 2015 - 4:08PM

    Rollin & Trollin

    Only cockroaches will be alive. No fruits or veggies in Pakistan after that.Recommend

  • yugal
    Aug 24, 2015 - 4:41PM

    Pakistan is the only country in world who is telling every where “We have atom bombs”. and they are thinking other country hv “Chinise Diwali bomb”.
    Come on ground Pakistan and India have lots of similarity. Pakistan can also grow like India on economic front. Come and join hands try to make Kashmir as beautiful as it deserve. Stop funding Youth against India and let them get modern education with modern life.
    Lets talk as soverign countries. Forget Hurriyat type parties and start talk on grounds.Recommend

  • Aug 24, 2015 - 4:45PM

    What we needed at this juncture was a dynamic person as our PM. Nawaz Sharif acts like a timid and shy child. Only shows confidence when addressing a rally of villagers.Recommend

  • Kushal
    Aug 24, 2015 - 5:27PM

    @Rollin & Trollin: Question is whether anyone from Pakistan would be available for talk after the nuclear war.Recommend

  • Desi
    Aug 24, 2015 - 6:30PM

    Pakistan should note that it has bad relationships with all its neighbors be it Afghanistan, Iran or obvious India. India has good relations with all except Pakistan. Some introspection needed seriously. Prime Minister Nawaz has his act cut out, Mr. Aziz goes about going his own way and the dickat is from Military. Regards to NSA talks, at government level it should have been implicit what NSA talks will cover and agenda and a separate set of talks that would have followed being the composite dialogue.Recommend

  • shahid
    Aug 24, 2015 - 6:45PM

    GOOD; Dont talk with Hindus-tan; Let them do what they need to do, and we will do what we need to do; Let these Hindu-stanis learn how to behave .. its just a matter of time.. a year or so and thenwe all will see them run after you to talk to them; Just wait, watch and enjoy the show; Recommend

  • Gurion
    Aug 24, 2015 - 6:56PM

    You will never have or will win a fight against India. All you can do is set your house on fire and hope a few sparks will fall on your neighbor’s house. Which does happen once in a while but India has enough resources at hand to handle any fire, which Pakistan does not have. You neither can win a battle of attrition or a straight forward war. To sustain a semblance of parity with India, 1) you have rented yourself to US interests which resulted in the current chaos in the country 2) you are spending on defense way more that you need to/afford to, leaving infrastructure development in ruins 3) you rent yourself to China, which will cannily siphon off economy and resources without as much as giving any useful direct aidRecommend

  • Appan
    Aug 24, 2015 - 7:11PM

    I do not know whether sartajbhai has the authority to discuss Kashmir issue being highly a political one. But Ajitbhai does not have the authority to discuss K Issue. So what is the point in insisting on K issue with Ajitbhai? Despite knowing this Sartazbhai insists on talks on K issue in NSA level talks Does it make sense? Please introspect. I am surprised why right thinking Pakistani Citizens do not call this bluff. May better sense prevail.Recommend

  • rama
    Aug 24, 2015 - 7:59PM

    @Rollin & Trollin:
    Yes, After nuclear war with Pakistan, their is no need for India to talk to its western neighbour. Recommend

  • iAskU!
    Aug 25, 2015 - 7:22AM

    There is not one meeting of India anywhere around the globe where Pak was part of, that she did not mention terrorism-Pak-Kashmir & Mumbai. If that is your persistent style than what is wrong if Pak talk with Kashmiri leaders before talking to you again? After all you just had a meeting in UN & with John Kerry and you again mentioned Kashmir and Pakistan. Not just that, you knowingly opened fire at the LOC border villagers, killing few too. What were your goals and expectations from this comming meeting, anyway? I Ask You!Recommend

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