Sincere effort by the Prime Ministers of both countries can bring peace and prosperity in the region but ignoring the core issues and “I am the boss” attitude can destabilize the whole region.
Venomous anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslims speeches are considered to be the trademark of BJP (Bhartia Janata Party) but this time Mr. Modi remained vocal about making India more muscular in the region during his election campaign. He promised surgical strikes -secret operations in Pakistan during his election campaigns – and his anti-Pakistan statement reached its limits when Mr. Modi said that he will bring back Dawood Ibrahim if will come to power.
Interior Minister of Pakistan Nisar Chaudhry condemned the statement of Modi and said that “Before making such an irresponsible statement, Modi should have first confirmed the whereabouts of Dawood”. He added that “Modi had gone to such an extent in enmity towards Pakistan, particularly Muslims, that if elected as Prime Minister of India, he would destabilize the regional peace.”
With all these anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslims statements Indian voters voted for India’s Hindu nationalist Bhartia Janata Party. BJP won by sweeping a clear majority in general elections and nominated Narindar Modi as the Prime Minister of India.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated Narinder Modi on the impressive win of his party in the general elections of India over a phone call. Prime Minister also invited Narindra Modi to visit Pakistan during the same conversation.
After Modi’s anti-Pakistan statement in his election campaign his invitation to Nawaz Sharif and leaders of other SAARC countries to attend his swearing in ceremony as Prime Minister was a surprise. Modi’s gesture was unusual because it is the first time in Indian history that leaders from neighboring countries have been invited to the oath taking ceremony of a prime minister.
Modi’s gesture was appreciated by Pakistan and Pakistan expressed hope that Modi will seize this opportunity to rebuild ties between the two nuclear powers as the last government of BJP had also seen improvement in the relations between the two countries.
Although a same invitation made by Nawaz Sharif to Manmonhan singh was rejected by Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accepted the invitation of Indian Prime Minster and he will participate in the swearing in ceremony of Narindar Modi on 26th May. This will be the first time of Nawaz Sharif to visit India as Prime Minister and he will be the first Prime Minister of Pakistan to attend oath taking ceremony of Indian Prime Minister.
Nawaz Sahrif will attend the oath taking ceremony on 26th May and will have a one to one meeting with Indian counterpart on 27th May.
India-Pakistan relations have always lived on the edge; several attempts to improve the relations between the two nuclear powers were initiated in past but halted after mishaps in either of the country and the blame game after each mishap. No progress was made in this respect in last ten years of congress in spite of several offers by Pakistani government. It is expected now that some visible development will improve the relation because the political parties of Prime Ministers at both sides are having a clear majority in their national assemblies which will make it easy for both sides to take hard decisions.
Expectations are high and challenges are difficult. Narindar Modi will try to change his image of hardliner in the world-perception to strengthen his government and Nawaz Sharif will try to show some progress on India-Pakistan relations to strengthen his government. Pakistan will expect progress on Kashmir and Indian involvement in Balochistan unrest whereas India will expect something concrete from Pakistan on the issues of terrorism and trade. Similarly both prime ministers will try to defend the interests of their country in Afghanistan after US withdrawal. At the same time hardliners in India are already on the roads protesting against the invitation and hardliners in Pakistan have criticized Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s acceptance of invitation.
Kashmir is the core issue between India and Pakistan since 1947. Sidelining the core issue and working on the other relatively smaller issues will not work because whenever the core issues will be highlighted the progress on any other issue will be halted as has happened in the past. This is a great opportunity for both prime ministers to resolve this issue according to the wishes of Kashmiri people and as mentioned in UN resolution.
With all these difficulties, both Prime Minister are committed to resolve these issues and improve relations between both countries but that will be only possible when the relations between India and Pakistan will be based on equality. Now is the time to seize every opportunity to improve the relations unlike past 65 years when every opportunity to halt the progress was utilized. A serious and sincere effort by the Prime Ministers of both countries can bring peace and prosperity in the region but ignoring the core issues and “I am the boss” attitude can destabilize the whole region.