The curious phenomenon of talks between India and Pakistan took an ugly turn when Delhi cancelled the first possible talks between the two countries since 2015. These were meant to take place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
The cancellation of talks came hours after suspected militants in Kashmir killed three policemen. India called off the meeting in New York and attributed it to the ‘evil designs’ of Khan and the latter in retaliation alluded to Modi as a “small man”.
After the elevation of cricketer turned politician as the new face of Pakistan, who claims to take out his country from economic crisis and Narendra Modi’s re-election situation, both the prime ministers are caught in interesting situations. Now political analysts are looking forward for Kashmir issue, which may act as a rescue to both of them.
Unlike Narendra Modi, it goes to the credit of Imran Khan of being vocal about peace efforts with India, even during the election campaigning where he said, “If you take one step, we will take two steps forward.”
Finally when talks were about to happen, everybody was taken by surprise when, almost 25 hours after the meeting was announced, Raveesh Kumar, the spokesman of the External Affairs Ministry announced the cancellation of the meeting. Other than killings, he also blamed the release of a series of 20 postage stamps as “glorifying a terrorist and terrorism.”
Pakistan made its disappointment public. “It is unfortunate that India has not given a positive response. India has once again wasted an opportunity for peace,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mohammed Qureshi was quoted by media, saying. “It was important to sit and talk for the sake of peace and stability in the region. The refusal of India shows that the Indian government is facing internal pressure.” Qureshi also said that seemingly “India is already preparing for its elections” and has priorities “other than dialogue”. He also said that, “a group in the New Delhi doesn’t want talks to take place”.
Finally the tech-savvy Khan reacted personally. “Disappointed at the arrogant and negative response by India to my call for the resumption of the peace dialogue,” Khan wrote on the micro-blogging site, the Twitter. “However, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture.”
After Khan’s tweet the accusations and counter-accusations from highest offices started pouring in, which included the Army chiefs of both countries who almost discussed the situation unto wars.
Analysts in India and abroad believe that Modi led BJP government may ill-afford talks with Pakistan. It is facing an election, and the situation on India is not so good with the inflation all time high, petrol prices unable to stop anywhere, currency shedding value, the right-wing activists leading a minority-specific terror and, more recently, the allegations that it was government’s keenness to have a third party – read Reliance Industries – in the 2016 afale jet deal with France.
Whatever both the countries decide for themselves, it is the Kashmir that continues to suffer on day-to-day basis. The India Pakistan animosity or a cold war will add to crisis in Kashmir. Even if the two countries do not fight a war – which they obviously will not, Kashmir sees no exit from the ‘war’ it is already caught in and sucked by, for three decades now.