Pakistan’s reluctance to grant India the Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) status is also likely to stall resumption of bilateral relationship. Following grant of MFN status to Pakistan, India has looked for a swift reciprocity keeping in view huge market and immense trade opportunities that exist here for the Indian business community.
India needs to appreciate Pakistan’s security concerns dispassionately, knowing that a stable and peaceful Pakistan is in India’s interest, and is a factor of stability for the entire South Asian region. It calls for adopting conciliatory approach to negotiate their way out of complex problems. Pakistan has been the worst victim of terrorism itself and has paid a heavy price; a fact that India must acknowledge. The employment of brinkmanship policy aimed at browbeating Pakistan into submission may prove counterproductive for India. Indians should understand that terrorists thrive on irritants and cleavages in relations of both countries. Nothing can be more destabilizing and scary to the terrorists than both countries having excellent bilateral relations.
Pakistan is steeped in a myriad of challenges at internal as well as external fronts. The country faces a fluid situation on its western border. The much-awaited US drawdown from Afghanistan is just a few months away. Though a lot depends on how new political administration in Kabul handles the issues including the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) and Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), Pakistan needs to carefully analyse the developments in Afghanistan and weigh its options accordingly in view of new political realities.
As for Afghanistan, Pakistan should give up the policy of taking sides, and should stay neutral in the ongoing political instability that has ensued from the presidential election. Pakistan should express its readiness to work with whosoever comes at the helm there after the audit of votes. It should urge all parties including Afghan Taliban to accept the legitimacy of the new government and work with it for the better future of Afghanistan and the whole region.
Both Pakistan and Afghanistan has been involved in the blame game since years. While Pakistan has justifiably asked Afghanistan to take action against TTP activists holed up in Afghanistan; from where they have been targeting Pakistani security forces and launching terrorist attacks across the country, the outgoing President Karzai has equally been critical of Pakistan’s links with the Haqqani network for its role in staging attacks in Afghanistan. This blame game would only further aggravate the situation. Both countries should ensure that their respective soils aren’t used for attacks.
Operation Zarb-i-Azb signals Pakistan’s seriousness to eradicate militancy and terrorism. The operation is said to be targeting terrorists indiscriminately, including Haqqanis. It should suffice to satisfy Afghan apprehensions and pave the way for greater cooperation on this front. Pakistan and Afghanistan should take steps to expand trade and economic cooperation, which is central to deepening their relationship.
Peace and stability on Pakistan’s eastern as well as western borders will allow the government a space to focus exclusively on country’s internal problems such as terrorism, economy, and energy. It will also have long-term benefit for peace of the region as well. Hence, a win-win situation for all!