Current Trends

Prime Ministers of the two countries, India and Pakistan, have recently exchanged ‘peace’ messages to halt the air of hostility between the countries. In these regards, COAS, General Qamar Bajwa presented an offer to engage with India through geo-economic options. PM Modi also wished peace in the region in his message to Pakistan on 23rd March which marks the Pakistan resolution day. In turn, PM Imran Khan urged India to cooperate for bringing peace to the region. These peace messages are echoing after a year-long diplomatic shutdown between the nations.

Background of Tensions

The prolonged diplomatic tensions began after 5 August 2019. The day, when India illegally annexed the valley of Kashmir by revoking article 370 from its constitution and imposed a record-long lockdown in the valley. The lockdown allowed India to curb the indigenous voices of ‘freedom’ through atrocious human rights violations. Pakistan immediately stood for the rights of Kashmiris and demanded the right of self-determination for Kashmiris. This conflict became a clash of national interests between India and Pakistan.

Critical View of Kashmir’s Future

Unfortunately, these new ‘peace’ messages, do not address the underlying issue of Kashmir, which is truly an apple of discord between the two. Moreover, these peace talks would not result in any successful conclusion of hostilities between the two nuclear rivals.

Although, the DGMOs of both countries have announced the revival of ceasefire at Loc. But such agreements can easily be broken upon any conflict as witnessed in past. For example, India is addicted to the idea of its hegemony in the region and thus it loves to pursue surgical strikes, border provocations, illegal dam construction over the waters of Pakistan. This can escalate the tensions between them and ultimately halt the ongoing peace-talks over Kashmir.

However, since 5 August 2019, India has learned a lesson. That it cannot explore more aggressive options to suppress the legitimate concerns of neighboring country Pakistan, because in that case, Pakistan would retaliate through nuclear strategy. The region has remained a nuclear hotspot for the last year, which is a huge threat to the International community. Therefore, International and regional stakeholders like the USA, China, KSA, and many others have urged both countries to revive bilateral talks.

Reports suggest that parties have discussed a longer-term roadmap for a Kashmir settlement in the latest peaceful discussions. However, this must be kept in mind, that any concessions over the Kashmir dispute should not be expected from these developments. This is because both India and Pakistan cannot afford to give concessions over their interests in Kashmir.

Matter of National Defeat

As for Pakistan, it cannot agree to the Indian annexation of Kashmir because such an act will bring an uproar within the country that can culminate into civil war. And for India, it cannot rollback its illegal annexation plan for the fact that this annexation is an election promise of the BJP. Also, Modi cannot risk the outrage from fellow RSS campaigns. Thus, it is a matter of national defeat for both the parties to the conflict.

USA’s Take Over the Issue

Moreover, the superpower under Biden’s regime may be willing to help on Kashmir, but only up to a certain extent. The US will not promote peace in the region if it has to force India to withdraw from Kashmir. This is because the US wants to ally with India against China. And Us is likely to pressurize Pakistan to choose between the US and China if it will have to.

Pakistan, as a struggling and developing country, cannot ally with any of the two great powers like China and the USA.  Due to this, COAS Bajwa asked the US, “not to look at Pakistan from the lens CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic corridor) only,” as Pakistan has its own geostrategic importance.

Bottom Line

In short, current paradigms do not suggest any favorable results for the people of Kashmir. Those people, who live under the atrocities of Indian troops and threat of genocide, according to reports of Genocide Watch. They cannot hope for “freedom” in near future, but they can only leave that ish to come true on ‘One day.

Barbed-wire placed by security personnel stretches across Srinagar street in Indian-controlled Kashmir, Aug. 11, 2019. Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan complained bitterly about Indian atrocities. And he raised the threat of military escalation.