Pakistan took a courageous step by opening Kartarpur border for Sikh pilgrims despite dangers of infiltration of agents inside the country under their garb. It has been repeated ad nauseum that Pakistan takes a hard line in its relations with India but the Indian reaction on the opening of border reflects the Indian recalcitrance that appears to be spurning off any gesture of goodwill undertaken by Pakistan. The intensity of animosity present in the stance taken by the Indian government defies all their claims of pinning aggression on Pakistan.
A large part of bilateral diplomacy is dependent upon confidence building measures and it is a widely accepted norm practiced by states particularly countries like Pakistan and India that have divergent views on multiple issues. India has consistently rebuffed Pakistani efforts to normalise matters and have not even cursorily accepted the spirit of amity hidden behind Pakistani gestures. The Indians have always employed flimsy reasons to turn down Pakistani initiatives and the recent example was seen during the offer made by Pakistani foreign minister to meet his Indian counterpart on the sidelines in UN session. Ironically, the offer was initially accepted but then suddenly withdrawn probably under the pressure of hawks of the Indian military establishment.
Indian cancellation of talks did not even merit a cursory reaction from the world players despite the fact that they always chided Pakistani authorities for bucking under the pressure of its defence sector. No one paid any heed to the poisonous anti-Pakistan mindset prevalent in Indian TV talk shows whereas Pakistani media is considerably restrained in comparison. The presence of double standards could not be denied even if proclamations of non-partisanship are regularly advanced by the west. The world opinion completely ignores the atrocities committed by Indian forces in Kashmir whereas immediately focuses on individual issues such as killing of a Saudi journalist, that no doubt is a cause of major concern.
Modi government in India is without doubt the most reactionary regime ever to have governed India but hardly any notice is taken of its divisive behaviour with respect to the minorities living in the country. India has become very attractive economic proposition to the western world particularly America that is going on the fast track of making it the regional policeman. While doing so, it fails to realise that earlier efforts to designate such policemen failed to deliver. This region is far too credible to be brow-beaten and in the current world it is not possible to terrorise countries and nations as is borne out by the current American experience in Afghanistan.
The inconsistent strategy in Afghanistan has actually unnerved the US-led coalition that feels bogged down in the morass. Pakistan is an easy target to blame and India is a convenient bully to cow-down Pakistan. Like their unraveling campaign in Afghanistan they will take time to realise that such strategy will not succeed in respect of Pakistan as it is a very tough nut to crack. The successful battle against terrorism in Pakistan should be enough to convince the world that Pakistan is capable of taking good care of itself.
Indian bullish attitude is also symptomatic of its ambitions to become the supreme power in the region but with China and Pakistan in the field it will not be possible. China may ignore territorial disputes with India for the sake of economic ties but it may not give up its territory as was made clear during the recent Chinese spat with India over Doklam plateau neighbouring India. The stand-off showed that China is not comfortable with Indian designs and it mentioned that India is certainly not for peace though it always puts peace on its lips.
The Chinese remarks are precisely what Pakistan is trying to tell the world but trade with India and antagonism against Pakistan over Afghan issue has blinded the western world towards the real Indian intentions. It is not surprising therefore that Americans are rigorously toeing Indian line despite Pakistan’s efforts to normalise matters. They downplay visible signs of Indian schemes to destabilise Pakistan through fanning unrest in Balochistan. The recent attempt to attack Chinese consulate is also attributed to Indian-sponsored desperados of BLA who acted on its behest.
India is unhappy about CPEC and has refused to endorse it despite conducting parleys with Chinese leadership. The logical policy would have been to get itself associated with this project as it is part of the wider BRI concept that aims at ensuring widespread global connectivity but its undying hostility towards Pakistan and its competition with China compelled it to move against it. Pakistan is left with no option but to create opportunities for normalisation of relationship with India but it appears difficult that Indian recalcitrance will pay any heed to them.