by Brig Arun Bajpai

It is a world known factor that what Indian armed forces achieve on the battle field our Netas lose it on the discussion table. Cases in point are our victories in 1965 & 1971 wars against Pakistan leading to Tashkent agreement and Shimla agreement respectively. In Tashkent Agreement talks we gave back to Pakistan strategically important Hajji Pir Pass and other territories occupied by India, in Shimla Agreement we, when Pakistan was totally defeated and we had their elite Army’s 93000 prisoners, still all we could achieve was a vague promise by then Pakistani Prime Minister Bhutto that he will convert LOC as IB in a futuristic perspective instead of permanently solving Kashmir problem once for all. It was lucky that Pakistan agreed to hold all India Pakistan talks bilaterally.

Recently in a virtual program organised by American Stanford University , foreign minister of UAE, the interior minister made a statement that he is doing middleman’s job between India and Pakistan. Why he said so when he was not even asked is something he will know better but the fact remains that this is not possible. This does not mean that India and Pakistan are not doing some back room diplomacy. But it will not be trilateral talks. Indian PMs have always been ready for permanent peace between Pakistan and India. Mr Lal Bahadur Shastri the Indian PM while returning from Kahira had broken his journey in Karachi, Pakistan to meet Ayub khan then Pakistani president, but next year only in 1965 Pakistan attacked India. Similarly Indian PM Vajpayee went to Lahore in a bus to speak with Nawaz Sharif then PM of Pakistan in 1999 but Pakistan then attacked Kargil. In other words this Pakistan cannot be depended upon.

India has been telling Pakistan that all talks between India and Pak should be held bilaterally but Pakistan has been always trying to make it trilateral or multilateral so that it can pressurize India and if the talks succeed then Pakistan can claim victory to its own people. Indian stand as professed by Bajpai and followed for last seven years by Indian PM Modi, that bilateral talks and terror sponsored by Pakistan cannot go together. Pakistan is refusing to let go terror despite Modi ji initially making a un scheduled halt at Lahore to attend marriage of Nawaz Sharif daughter. While Pakistani current PM Imran khan and his foreign minister Qureshi has made an official statement that talks of any kind with India are only possible if India reverses its decision to remove Art 370 and 35A from Kashmir. very recently Pakistani PM Imran Khan and his Army Chief Qamar Bajwa had said that they will resume trade with India which this duo had stopped after removal of Art 370 from Kashmir in 2019, but then within two days they made a U turn.

Truth is that all countries who may like to mediate in this India-Pakistan dispute in Kashmir tend to see things from their own point of view. Let us not forget that Indian PM Nehru against advice of Indian Army had taken the case of Kashmir to UN on advice of Mountbatten in 1948 and had mad internationalised Kashmir issue. Now Pakistan is bound by Shimla Agreement to hold bilateral talks with India on issue of Kashmir due to Shimla Agreement. Under no circumstance we should lose this advantage that we have over Pakistan. We must stick to this stand come what may. We do not want America or any other country interfering in this bilateral matter, with their own axe to grind.

Brig Arun Bajpai (Retd) is a distinguished Defence and Strategic Analyst. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN. IDN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same