Security is the most essential component in the survival of a state. For ensuring its survival, a state acquires power; therefore, power is an instrument for the security of state. Power can be hard military power or soft power; the diplomacy, an instrument of foreign policy. In the global politics of a nation, its foreign policy determines its goals, actions and objectives. The foreign policy guides the conduct of a nation while interacting with other nations of the world. It reflects the values that a nation holds supreme and the interests that it aspires to protect and safeguard. Foreign Policy, being dynamic and flexible in nature, must have the capacity to cater for the future challenges as it is the first line of defence of a country.
Security and foreign policy are integrated subjects; hence, these cannot be separated. In the case of Pakistan, it is even more pronounced as the country has been beset by a difficult security situation (owing to Indian aggression) ever since its inception. Under such a challenging security situation, Pakistan’s relationship with India has been the major factor in its foreign policy. Indeed, owing to ideological divide, the India-Pakistan relations have been marred by Hindu-Muslim animosity, and parleys have been traditionally futile, the outcome a foregone conclusion. Therefore, the prospect of agreement was something not to materialize, mainly because of historical reasons and narrow-minded Indian approach towards Pakistan.
In the recent history, the sporadic incidents like Mumbai attacks-2008 derailed the composite dialogue between the two countries, and India remains reluctant to resume the talks on unfounded excuses. In fact, the cloud of mistrust — partly real and partly constructed — is the order of the day between the two countries. India, backed by a strong economy, alliance with the US, space in Afghanistan and expanding soft image, continues to pursue a dominant regional and global role. India’s clear, though unstated, policy of imploding Pakistan from within through non-kinetic warfare is evident beyond doubt, posing a formidable challenge to Pakistan’s foreign policy and security. There is widespread support for a regional pivot policy in Pakistan. However, it is constrained by the thrust of Indian foreign and defence policies, directly affecting Pakistan. This has led to the fact that South Asia is the third most violent region and one of the least integrated areas in the world intra–regional trade accounting for less than 5% of its world trade.
In the contemporary environment, a number of factors mar the contemporary Indo-Pak relationship. The previous Congress led government in India, remained influenced by Indian security establishment and RAW, thus did not make progress towards resolution of outstanding issues like Kashmir, water issues, Sir Creek and Siachen. It had a lingering policy towards resolution of outstanding issues ever since. The incumbent Modi–led BJP has exceptional hardliner approach towards Pakistan. Prime Minister Modi is well known for his anti-Pakistan approach. Modi has been an activist of RSS and is known for his power and divisive politics. His past record is fraught with anti–minorities’ politics. His acrimony and venom against Pakistan and Indian minorities shape his personality and guide his actions. His deep involvement and overwhelming participation in implementing Hindutva agenda of RSS, contrary to domestic and global expectations, did not decline even after becoming India’s premier. During his current regime, fanatic and extremist Hindu outfit RSS has totally dominated the power corridors and is continuously exerting pressure to shape domestic and external affairs as per the agenda of RSS.
Modi’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar have openly remarked against Pakistan and even devised a strategy of sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan. Through the promotion of terrorism and extremism, India would like to weaken Pakistan to the extent of its submission to Indian hegemony. Within India, there is a forced conversion of minorities, especially Muslims, to Hinduism. Then, there is a demand to ban cow slaughter, radical changes are being made in the academic curriculum, burning and desecration of mosques and churches, rapes of nuns and aggressive diplomacy towards Pakistan, are testimony of Modi’s pro-RSS stature. Even Mr Obama’s warning to him on maltreatment of minorities did not deter him to refrain from blindly following RSS agenda. Modi’s extremist and radical agenda is stepping up the polarization and radicalization in Indian society that would have far-reaching consequences on regional and global peace.
Pakistan being a peace – loving country would like India to negotiate with it and the Kashmiris to bring an end to its illegitimate occupation of Kashmir, where its security forces are involved in gross human rights violations and atrocities against innocent people of IOK. India is continuously disregarding UN resolutions for conducting plebiscite for the people of Kashmir. Indian authorities have given a free hand to country’s security forces under AFSPA to carry out worst kinds of human rights violations in IOK to suppress the on-going freedom movement. Recently, besides search and cordon operations, a trend of target killing has surfaced in which eight pro-movement activists have been gunned down just within a span of four weeks.
Being a peace – loving country, Pakistan wants to normalize relations with its neighbours, especially, India. Pakistan’s government has been extending hand of friendship towards India despite negative reciprocation from her. Pakistani Prime Minister made many gestures of goodwill and for restoration of dialogue process. However, the BJP government led by Modi spared no chance to criticize Pakistan and malign her internationally on false and baseless accusations. Even Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Bangladesh brazenly confessed India’s involvement and massive support for creation of Bangladesh.
There is a dire need for India to reconcile its hawkish, hegemonic and radical mindset towards Pakistan and other regional countries. India must respond positively to Pakistan’s earnest efforts to resolve the outstanding issue amicably through a peaceful mechanism of dialogue process. In this regard, the United States and other major powers must act as facilitators, since India has been on dictating terms over the unresolved issues between the two neighbours. After confession of Indian leadership of the Indian role in disintegration of Pakistan in 1971, the civilized world and UN should have taken strict measures against India. However, there was hardly any reaction from the international community. The global silence over this confession provided an opportunity to Indian Defence Minister to openly threaten the state of Pakistan. Owing to the Indian hegemonic designs, the security and foreign policy of Pakistan are inter-connected and should be dealt as such.
By: Dr Raja Muhammad Khan – Courtesy: The Frontier Post