Issue Brief on “Indo-Pak Nascent Rapprochement: A Preliminary Assessment”

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The Indo-Pak relationship is unique due to peculiar nature. There have been a few neighbours in the world who share mutual history and still maintain fierce animosity and hostility. Contemporarily, the relationship between Republic of Korea (South) and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North) presents somehow a similar picture.[1] Nonetheless, besides number of peace initiatives taken by Pakistan and many attempts made by both sides, even supported and facilitated by the great powers; the Indo-Pak relations present a gloomy picture.[2] However, the larger part of the quagmire rests on Indian shoulders, as it holds enormous landmass and relatively larger share of the world power. The objective of this brief is to understand why such a dilemma has clouded South Asia and how an unfortunate landscape between the two could be rectified. However, it would be unfruitful to explore the latter without taking into consideration the set of events that took place within the span of last four weeks.

Quite recently, on March 22, 2021, the incumbent Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote a letter to his Pakistani counterpart Prime Minister Imran Khan expressing “On the occasion of the National Day of Pakistan, I extend greetings to the people of Pakistan.” He added “As a neighbouring country, India desires cordial relations with the people of Pakistan. For this, an environment of trust, devoid of terror and hostility, is imperative.”[3] Also, it was a second direct communication made by him, since on March 20, PM Modi stated on his twitter account “Best wishes to Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI for a speedy recovery from COVID-19.”[4] Moreover, almost a month earlier on February 25-26, the Director General Military Operations (DGMOs) from both sides “recommitted themselves to the 2003 ceasefire arrangement at the Line of Control.”[5] Major General Nauman Zakaria from Pakistan and his Indian counterpart Lieutenant General Paramjit Sangha made the joint statement.[6] It would be important to understand the import of these three major developments between the two nuclear-armed rivals, while keeping in view the geopolitical landscape of the South Asian region and beyond.

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