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Simmering resentment in Indian-held Kashmir

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The writer if of the view that the politico-economic situation in the occupied Kashmir is in a state of flux. All the leading politicians are frustrated at apathetic, nay callous, attitude of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party autocrats in New Delhi. They are unanimous that the situation, after abrogation of the special status and hereditary domiciliary rights, is worse than it was under nominal political set-ups in Kashmir. A nascent but discernible change is double-speak by Farooq Abdullah. While still being frustrated, he expresses ennui at prtition of India on religious grounds.

The US ambassador-designate to India has unequivocally announced that the US is really “concerned” about the prevailing human-rights situation in India. Some rights watchdogs, including the Russell Tribunal also has become vocal.

Economic resources of Kashmir are being diverted to Indian states. To destroy traditional shawl-making cottage industry, pashmina wool is being transported to Uttar Pradesh and other Indian states for processing.  Kashmiri students and other people from various walks of life are not being treated at par with residents of Indian states.

Farooq Abdullah’s Janus faced attitude

While expressing frustration at the Indian government’s attitude, Abdullah makes no bones that he agrees with defence minister Raj Nath’s view of partition as a blunder. Farooq naively ignores plight of Muslims throughout India. Muslims are lynched for flimsy reasons like, for instance, wearing a prayer cap, offering prayers in open space (Gurgaon) or on roads on Fridays if the mosques are overcrowded. India’s Supreme Court (kangaroo court) held that a mosque was not essential for offering prayers. But, in stark contrast it pronounced that a temple was sine qua non of Hindu way of worship. It pronounced that a temple existed under the Babri mosque millennia ago.

India claims to be a secular country but the Supreme Court dabbled in many other matters within domain of Islamic jurisprudence. For instance, it outlawed triple divorce. The views expressed are personal.

Nascent American concern for human-rights violations in Kashmir

The US ambassador designate minced no words in stressing that during his stay in India he would convey his government’s “concern’ on deteriorating Human-rights situation in Kashmir. His statement is like a whiff of fresh air. The US itself shrugged off Russell tribunal’s report on US atrocities in Vietnam. The U.S. Ambassador, Eric Garcetti, to India underlined human rights and discrimination in the Citizenship Amendment Act as .a “core” part of his work in India”.  ‘…Respect for human rights and strong democratic institutions are key elements of our relationship and values that are enshrined in both of our constitutions and if confirmed, I will engage regularly and respectfully with the Indian government on these issues’ (Human rights to be a ‘core’ part of Garcetti’s engagement with India, the Hindu, December 15, 2021).

A bird’s-eye view of political statements

Omer Abdullah questioned denial of rights to people in occupied Kashmir and Ladakh.  He pointed out that Modi-led BJP government had not only scrapped Articles 370 and 35-A, but also precipitated financial and economic breakdown of Kashmir. He accused the Centre of discriminating residents of Ladakh and occupied Kashmir in all realms of life (land protection, reservation in jobs, scholarships and so on).  He rebutted the government’s claim that it was all hunky dory after conversion of the state into a union territory.

He pointed out that now even peaceful Srinagar is a hot bed of militancy. He caution people not fall prey to Centre’s bid to divide them.  Addressing a rally in Kishtwar, Omar said the efforts to wish us off from the political space of Jammu and Kashmir have seen no let-up since 1953.“We have withstood dismissals, defections, and coups in every decade, be it in 53, 75, 84, or 90. Having me and most of my colleagues caged for months altogether proved abortive. He cautioned the people against falling prey to divisive forces, saying forging unity is a key requisite for the restoration of J&K people’s inalienable and inherent democratic and constitutional rights. (Omar asks people not to fall prey to divisive forces, The Statesman, November 29, 2021).

Omar said while his government, at one point, was even thinking about doing away with the AFSPA, now the situation was such that nobody felt safe even in Srinagar, let alone remote areas. He added these militants were not from outside, but they were the youth of Kashmir ready to take up arms out of anger and other reasons. (Youth of Kashmir ready to take up arms out of anger, says Omar Abdullah, Hindustan Times, Nov 28, 2021)

Calls for investigation through Russell or people’s tribunals

Russell tribunal on Kashmir

Indian troops martyred 95,917 innocent Kashmiris, including 7,215 in custody, widowed 22,939, orphaned 107, and 855 and molested 11,245 women since January 1989. Since October1, 2021, over 30 Kashmiris have been martyred by Indian forces over alleged “fake encounters and search operations.  The Kashmir Russell Tribunal held a convention from 17-19 Dec 2021 at Sarajevo, Bosnia to highlight plight of Kashmiris under the Indian yoke. Kashmir Civitas, a Canadian-registered NGO, has partnered with the Russell Foundation in London, the Permanent People’s Tribunal of Bologna (Italy), the International University of Sarajevo and the Center for Advanced Studies in Sarajevo to hold the inaugural Russell Tribunal on Kashmir in Sarajevo, Bosnia on December 17-19, 2021. The tribunal created awareness of the responsibility of the international community about the ongoing crimes against humanity and the possibility of genocide in the occupied Kashmir.

Some Pakistani think tanks like the institute of regional Studies and Former United Nations Judge,  Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan also called upon Pakistan to constitute an independent tribunal for Kashmir in Turkey under the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir

The Tribunal documented India’s reign of terror in Kashmir. In December 2009 the tribunal, in its report titled Buried Evidence alleged that the insurgency from 1989–2009 had caused more than 70,000 deaths. They investigated fifty killings by the Indian Security Forces. Except one, all were declared “militant”. Of those who were killed in these incidents 39 were Muslims, four were Hindus and rest were of undetermined religious background. The Tribunal found that only one of those killed was a militant and the rest were killed in staged encounters.

The tribunal called for an inquiry into forced disappearances and fake encounters. The inquiry could ferret out correlation of 8000 disappearances with the bodies in unmarked graves. The Tribunal found 2700 (about 3000) unknown and unmarked graves having 2900 bodies in three districts of the occupied Kashmir.

A gravedigger in a statement to the Tribunal said that he witnessed the burials of 203 people killed extra judicially during 2002-2006. The Tribunal criticized the United Nations and its members for failing to stop the fallout of the India’s militarization in the valley.

In December 2012, the Tribunal along with Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons released a report Alleged Perpetrators – Stories of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir. This report alleged involvement of about 500 Indian Armed Forces officials in human rights abuses in Kashmir. Those accused included three Brigadier rank officers of Indian Army. The report alleged that the perpetrators of crimes in Kashmir were decorated instead of being prosecuted.

Srinagar hotspot of “militancy”

According to India’s own official data, in 2020, twenty militants were killed in nine encounters. In 2021, Srinagar witnessed around 20 encounters and shoot-outs in and around the city. Srinagar district emerged as a hotspot of militancy in Kashmir this year. There was  a significant rise in the number “encounters” from the “zero militancy” figures and a small number of shoot-outs in 2020 to the highest number of targeted killings of policemen and civilians, including members of the minority community. Around 34 people, including seven policemen (excluding recently killed policemen in a bus) and 14 militants, were killed until December this year in the city.

It s eerie that the police had declared Srinagar a “militancy-free zone” with no locally recruited militants in October 2020.

Srinagar district witnessed the highest number of civilian deaths at ten, including six members of minority communities, which forced security agencies to deploy personnel at prominent shops owned by Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus for round-the-clock mobile and permanent bunkers.

The killing of four persons, including one “confirmed” militant and three “civilians”, in the Hyderpora encounter cast a shadow over the anti-militancy operations carried out in the city this year.

Though official figures suggest that militant recruits in Srinagar are in single digit numbers, the growing number of “militant supporters” has seen “a quantum jump” and “run into dozens”.

“We have reports that Srinagar at present may have significant presence of small arms, mainly pistols, with militant recruits and their supporters,” a police officer said. “There are fears of more targeted killings in the coming weeks,” another official added. Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) expanded its recruitment network in Srinagar and moved beyond its known axis of Khrew-Tral-Awatipora in south Kashmir, officials indicated.

For the first time in the past two decades, Srinagar saw an increased footprint of security personnel, permanent fortification of bunkers and the setting up of security installations in civilian areas, including marriage halls, akin what was witnessed in the 1990s. Around 3,000 extra paramilitary personnel have been camping in Srinagar since the last three months (Srinagar district turns into hotbed of militancy in Kashmir, The Hindu, December 14, 2021).

Concluding remark

In a fit of delirium tremens, India’s deceased chief of defence staff made many statements to humiliate Kashmiris. He vowed to change Kashmiris DNA, justified lynching of suspected persons without any formal trial, and justified parading around a Kashmiri tied to Major Leetul Gogol’s jeep.  The Indian government claimed to have eliminated “militancy”. But, attack on Central Reserve police Force bus exposed the government’s claims.  Kashmir remains a simmering cauldron.

Mr. Amjed Jaaved has been contributing free-lance for over five decades. His contributions stand published in the leading dailies at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, et. al.). He is author of seven e-books including Terrorism, Jihad, Nukes and other Issues in Focus (ISBN: 9781301505944). He holds degrees in economics, business administration, and law.

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S. Jaishankar’s ‘The India Way’, Is it a new vision of foreign policy?

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S. Jaishankar has had an illustrious Foreign Service career holding some of the highest and most prestigious positions such as ambassador to China and the US and as foreign secretary of India. Since 2019 he has served as India’s foreign minister. S. Jaishankar also has a Ph.D. in international relations from JNU and his academic background is reflected in this book.

His main argument is simplistic, yet the issues involved are complex. Jaishankar argues that the world is changing fundamentally, and the international environment is experiencing major shifts in power as well as processes. China is rising and western hegemony is declining. We are moving away from a unipolar system dominated by the US to a multipolar system. Globalization is waning and nationalism and polarization is on the rise (p. 29). The old order is going away but we cannot yet glimpse what the future will look like. This is the uncertain world that Dr. Jaishankar sees.

Dr. Jaishankar also argues that India too has changed, it is more capable and more assertive. The liberalization program that began in 1991 has made the Indian economy vibrant and globally competitive and it is well on track to becoming the third biggest economy in the world, after China and the US.  The war of 1971 that liberated Bangladesh, the liberalization of the economy after 1991, the nuclear tests in 1998 and the nuclear understanding with the US in 2005, Jaishankar argues are landmarks in India’s strategic evolution (p. 4). So given that both India and the system have changed, Jaishankar concludes, so should India’s foreign policy.

But his prescription for India’s foreign policy, in the grand scheme of things, is the same as before – India should remain nonaligned and not join the US in its efforts to contain China. India will try to play with both sides it seems in order to exploit the superpowers and maximize its own interests (p. 9). But he fails to highlight how India can find common ground with China other than to say the two nations must resolve things diplomatically. He also seems to think that the US has infinite tolerance for India’s coyness. In his imagination the US will keep making concessions and India will keep playing hard to get.

Jaishankar has a profound contradiction in his thinking. He argues that the future will be determined by what happens between the US and China. In a way he is postulating a bipolar future to global politics. But he then claims that the world is becoming multipolar and this he claims will increase the contests for regional hegemony. The world cannot be both bipolar and multipolar at the same time.

There is also a blind spot in Jaishankar’s book.  He is apparently unaware of the rise of Hindu nationalism and the demand for a Hindu state that is agitating and polarizing India’s domestic politics. The systematic marginalization and oppression of Muslim minorities at home and the growing awareness overseas of the dangers of Hindutva extremism do not exist in the world that he lives in. He misses all this even as he goes on to invoke the Mahabharata and argue how Krishna’s wisdom and the not so ethical choices during the war between Pandavas and Kauravas should be a guide for how India deals with this uncertain world – by balancing ethics with realism (p. 63). Methinks his little digression in discussing the ancient Hindu epic is more to signal his ideological predilections than to add any insights to understanding the world or India’s place in it.  

One aspect of his work that I found interesting is his awareness of the importance of democracy and pluralism. He states that India’s democracy garners respect and gives India a greater opportunity to be liked and admired by other nations in the world (p. 8). Yet recently when he was asked about the decline of India’s democratic credentials, his response was very defensive, and he showed visible signs of irritation. It is possible that he realizes India is losing ground internationally but is unwilling to acknowledge that his political party is responsible for the deterioration of India’s democracy.

This is also apparent when he talks about the importance of India improving its relations with its immediate neighbors. He calls the strategy as neighborhood first approach (pp. 9-10). What he does not explain is how an Islamophobic India will maintain good relations with Muslim majority neighbors like Bangladesh, Maldives, and Pakistan.

The book is interesting, it has its limitations and both, what is addressed and what is left out, are clearly political choices and provide insights into how New Delhi thinks about foreign policy. So, coming to the question with which we started, does India have a new foreign policy vision? The answer is no. Dr. Jaishankar is right, there is indeed an India way, but it is the same old way, and it entails remaining nonaligned with some minor attitudinal adjustments.  

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India’s open invitation to a nuclear Armageddon

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Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said that “India was not averse to the possible demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier ,  the world’s highest battleground and an old sore in India-Pakistan ties , provided the neighbour accepted the 110-km Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) that separates Indian and Pakistani positions. Acceptance of AGPL is the first step towards demilitarisation but the Pakistan side loathes doing that”. He said, ‘The Siachen situation occurred because of unilateral attempts by Pakistan to change status quo and countermeasures taken by the Indian Army’ (Not averse to demilitarisation of Siachen if Pak meets pre-condition: Army chief, Hindustan Times January 13, 2022).

Reacting to the Indian army chief’s statement, Pakistan’s former foreign secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan reminisced that the Siachen could not fructify into a written agreement because India wanted Siachen and Kashmir to be settled together. India’s approach ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ scuttled the agreement. As for Kashmir, “a simultaneous effort was made through the backchannel …in what is commonly known as the Four-Point Formula” (Siachen recollections, Dawn January 16, 2022). Riaz laments Indi’s distrust that hindered a solution.

Shyam Saran, a voice in the wilderness

Shyam Saran, in his book How India Sees the World (pp. 88-93) makes startling revelations about how this issue eluded solution at last minute. India itself created the Siachen problem.  Saran reminisces, in the 1970s, US maps began to show 23000 kilometers of Siachen area under Pakistan’s control. Thereupon, Indian forces were sent to occupy the glacier in a pre-emptive strike, named Operation Meghdoot. Pakistani attempts to dislodge them did not succeed. But they did manage to occupy and fortify the lower reaches’.

He recalls how Siachen Glacier and Sir Creek agreements could not fructify for lack of political will or foot dragging. He says ‘NN Vohra, who was the defence secretary at the time, confirmed in a newspaper interview that an agreement on Siachen had been reached. At the last moment, however, a political decision was taken by the Narasimha Rao government to defer its signing to the next round of talks scheduled for January the following year. But, this did not happen…My defence of the deal became a voice in the wilderness’.

Saran says, `Kautliyan template would say the options for India are sandhi, conciliation; asana, neutrality; and yana, victory through war. One could add dana, buying allegiance through gifts; and bheda, sowing discord. The option of yana, of course would be the last in today’s world’ (p. 64, ibid.).

India’s current first option

It appears that Kautliya’s last-advised option,yana, as visualised by Shyam Saran, is India’s first option nowadays. Kautlya also talks about koota yuddha (no holds barred warfare), and maya yuddha (war by tricks) that India is engaged in.

Cartographic annexation

By unilaterally declaring the disputed Jammu and Kashmir its territory does not solve the Kashmir problem. This step reflects that India has embarked upon the policy “might is right”. In Kotliyan parlance it would be “matsy nyaya, or mach nyaya”, that is big fish eats the small one. What if China also annexes disputed borders with India?  India annexed Kashmir presuming that Pakistan is not currently in a position to respond militarily, nor could it agitate the matter at international forums for fear of US ennui.  

India’s annexation smacks of acceptance of quasi-Dixon Plan, barring mention of plebiscite and division of Jammu. . Dixon proposed: Ladakh should be awarded to India. Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (including Gilgit and Baltistan) should remain with Pakistan. Whole Kashmir valley should have a plebiscite with no option to independence. Jammu should be divided on religious basis. The river Chmab should be the dividing line. Northern Jammu (Muslims dominated) should go to Pakistan and Hindu majority parts of Jammu to remain with India.

In short Muslim areas should have gone with Pakistan and Hindu-Buddhist majority areas should have remained with India.

India’s annexation has no legal sanctity. But, it could have bbeen sanctified in a mutually agreed Kashmir solution.

India’s propaganda

India portrays the freedom movement in Kashmir as `terrorism’. What about India’s terrorism in neighbouring countries?

The world is listless to accounts of former diplomats and RAW officers about executing insurgencies in neighbouring countries. B. Raman, in his book The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane makes no bones about India’s involvement up to the level of prime minister in Bangladesh’s insurgency.

 Will the world take notice of confessions by Indi’s former intelligence officers and diplomats?B. Raman reminds `Indian parliament passed resolution on March 31, 1971 to support insurgency. Indira Gandhi had then confided with Kao that in case Mujib was prevented from ruling Pakistan, she would liberate East Pakistan from the clutches of the military junta. Kao, through one RAW agent, hijacked a Fokker Friendship, the Ganga, of Indian Airlines hijacked from Srinagar to Lahore.

India’s ambassador Bharath Raj Muthu Kumar, with the consent of then foreign minister Jaswant Singh, `coordinated military and medical assistance that India was secretly giving to Massoud and his forces’… `helicopters, uniforms, ordnance, mortars, small armaments, refurbished Kalashnikovs seized in Kashmir, combat and winter clothes, packaged food, medicines, and funds through his brother in London, Wali Massoud’, delivered circuitously with the help of other countries who helped this outreach’. When New Delhi queried about the benefit of costly support to Northern Alliance chief Massoud, Kumar explained, “He is battling someone we should be battling. When Massoud fights the Taliban, he fights Pakistan.”

Death of back-channel

In his memoirs In the line of fire (pp.302-303), president Musharraf had proposed a personal solution of the Kashmir issue.  This solution, in essence, envisioned self-rule in demilitarised regions of Kashmir under a joint-management mechanism.   The solution pre-supposed* reciprocal flexibility.

Death of dialogue and diplomacy

Riaz warns of “incalculable” risks as the result of abrogation of Kashmir statehood (Aug 5, 2019). Both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers. In the absence of a dialogue on outstanding issues, war, perhaps a nuclear one,  comes up as the only option.

Concluding remark

Sans sincerity, the only Kashmir solution is a nuclear Armageddon. Or, perhaps divine intervention.

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Major Challenges for Pakistan in 2022

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Pakistan has been facing sever challenges since 1980s, after the former USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan. The history is full of challenges, but, being a most resilient nation, Pakistan has faced some of them bravely and overcome successfully. Yet, few are rather too big for Pakistan and still struggling to overcome in the near future.

Some of the challenges are domestic or internal, which can be addressed conveniently. But, some of them are part of geopolitics and rather beyond control of Pakistan itself. Such challenges need to pay more attention and need to be smarter and address them wisely.

Few key areas will be the main focus of Pakistan in the year ahead. Relations with China and the US while navigating the Sino-US confrontation, dealing with Afghanistan’s uncertainties, managing the adversarial relationship with India and balancing ties between strategic ally Saudi Arabia and neighbor Iran.

Pakistan has to pursue its diplomatic goals in an unsettled global and regional environment marked by several key features. They include rising East-West tensions, increasing preoccupation of big powers with domestic challenges, ongoing trade and technology wars overlying the strategic competition between China and the US, a fraying rules-based international order and attempts by regional and other powers to reshape the rules of the game in their neighborhood.

Understanding the dynamics of an unpredictable world is important especially as unilateral actions by big powers and populist leaders, which mark their foreign policy, have implications for Pakistan’s diplomacy. In evolving its foreign policy strategy Pakistan has to match its goals to its diplomatic resources and capital. No strategy is effective unless ends and means are aligned.

Pakistan’s relations with China will remain its overriding priority. While a solid economic dimension has been added to long-standing strategic ties, it needs sustained high-level engagement and consultation to keep relations on a positive trajectory. CPEC is on track, timely and smoothly progress is crucial to reinforce Beijing’s interest in strengthening Pakistan, economically and strategically. Close coordination with Beijing on key issues remains important.

Pakistan wants to improve ties with the US. But relations will inevitably be affected by Washington’s ongoing confrontation with Beijing, which American officials declare has an adversarial dimension while China attributes a cold war mindset to the US. Islamabad seeks to avoid being sucked into this big power rivalry. But this is easier said than done. So long as US-China relations remain unsteady it will have a direct bearing on Pakistan’s effort to reset ties with the US especially as containing China is a top American priority. Pakistan desires to keep good relations with the US, but, not at the cost of China. In past, Pakistan was keeping excellent relations with US, while simultaneously very close with China. When the US imposed economic blockade against China and launched anti-communism drive during the cold war, Pakistan was close ally with the US and yet, keeping excellent relations with China. Pakistan played vital role in bring China and the US to establish diplomatic relations in 1970s. Yet, Pakistan possesses the capability to narrow down the hostility between China and the US.

Pakistan was close ally with the US during cold war, anti-communism threat, war against USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1980s, and war on terror, etc. Pakistan might be a small country, but, possesses strategic importance. As long as, the US was cooperating with Pakistan, Pakistan looked after the US interest in the whole region. In fact, Pakistan ensured that the US has achieved its all strategic goals in the region. Since, the US kept distance from Pakistan, is facing failure after another failure consecutively. The importance of Pakistan is well recognized by the deep state in the US.

US thinks that withdrawal from Afghanistan has diminished Pakistan’s importance for now. For almost two decades Afghanistan was the principal basis for engagement in their frequently turbulent ties, marked by both cooperation and mistrust. As Pakistan tries to turn a new page with the US the challenge is to find a new basis for a relationship largely shorn of substantive bilateral content. Islamabad’s desire to expand trade ties is in any case contingent on building a stronger export base.

Complicating this is Washington’s growing strategic and economic relations with India, its partner of choice in the region in its strategy to project India as a counterweight to China. The implications for Pakistan of US-India entente are more than evident from Washington turning a blind eye to the grim situation in occupied Kashmir and its strengthening of India’s military and strategic capabilities. Closer US-India ties will intensify the strategic imbalance in the region magnifying Pakistan’s security challenge.

Multiple dimensions of Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan will preoccupy Islamabad, which spent much of 2021 engaged with tumultuous developments there. While Pakistan will continue to help Afghanistan avert a humanitarian and economic collapse it should not underestimate the problems that may arise with an erstwhile ally. For one, the TTP continues to be based in Afghanistan and conduct attacks from there. The border fencing issue is another source of unsettled discord. Careful calibration of ties will be needed — assisting Afghanistan but avoiding overstretch, and acknowledging that the interests of the Taliban and Pakistan are far from identical. Moreover, in efforts to mobilize international help for Afghanistan, Islamabad must not exhaust its diplomatic capital, which is finite and Pakistan has other foreign policy goals to pursue.

Managing relations with India will be a difficult challenge especially as the Modi government is continuing its repressive policy in occupied Kashmir and pressing ahead with demographic changes there, rejecting Pakistan’s protests. The hope in establishment circles that last year’s backchannel between the two countries would yield a thaw or even rapprochement, turned to disappointment when no headway was made on any front beyond the re-commitment by both neighbors to observe a ceasefire on the Line of Control.

Working level diplomatic engagement will continue on practical issues such as release of civilian prisoners. But prospects of formal dialogue resuming are slim in view of Delhi’s refusal to discuss Kashmir. This is unlikely to change unless Islamabad raises the diplomatic costs for Delhi of its intransigent policy. Islamabad’s focus on Afghanistan last year meant its diplomatic campaign on Kashmir sagged and was limited to issuing tough statements. Unless Islamabad renews and sustains its international efforts with commitment and imagination, India will feel no pressure on an issue that remains among Pakistan’s core foreign policy goals.

With normalization of ties a remote possibility, quiet diplomacy by the two countries is expected to focus on managing tensions to prevent them from spinning out of control. Given the impasse on Kashmir, an uneasy state of no war, no peace is likely to continue warranting Pakistan’s sustained attention.

In balancing ties with Saudi Arabia and Iran, Pakistan should consider how to leverage possible easing of tensions between the long-standing rivals — of which there are some tentative signs. With Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman keen to use economic power to expand his country’s diplomatic clout by making strategic overseas investments, Pakistan should use its political ties with Riyadh to attract Saudi investment through a coherent strategy. Relations with Iran too should be strengthened with close consultation on regional issues especially Afghanistan. The recent barter agreement is a step in the right direction.

In an increasingly multipolar world, Pakistan also needs to raise its diplomatic efforts by vigorous outreach to other key countries and actors beyond governments to secure its national interests and goals.

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