India - Pakistan: Improving Relations Not Easy 


India - Pakistan: Improving Relations Not Easy 

Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has expressed hopes for betterment in bilateral ties with India after the country comes out of its election phase poised to be held from April 19 and ending in June, adding that Pakistan and India ties have its "own background".

The relations between Pakistan and India have been depleting for the past many years owing to Pakistan sponsoring terrorism, allegedly providing shelters to India's declared terrorists and its illegal occupation of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Most recently, India abstained from the adoption of a resolution on 'Measures to Combat Islamophobia' introduced by the Pakistan envoy at the UNGA.


Pakistan’s quest for ‘strategic depth’ against India

Improving relations  are difficult considering Pakistan has, over the past four decades, described the main objective of its foreign policy, especially in its immediate neighbourhood, as a quest for ‘strategic depth’ against India. The definition of ‘strategic depth’ in the lexicon of the Pakistani army has included support for radical Islamic groups within the country and in its neighbourhood. Islamabad believed in the use of ‘radical Islam’ for terrorism in India and Afghanistan.

On Pakistan’s desire to restore trade ties, in the view of G Parthasarathy (Chancellor, Jammu Central University, & Former High Commissioner to Pakistan) “it should be made clear that such changes would depend on an end to Pakistan-based terrorism against India. It would be useful if ‘back channel’ talks between India and Pakistan were initiated to examine whether and how the two countries could move ahead in restoring a useful bilateral dialogue.”


Rajnath Singh's strong message on terrorism

Meanwhile, Union defence minister Rajnath Singh reacted to a recent report by The Guardian which claimed that India carried out targeted assassinations in Pakistan, saying that the country will give a befitting reply to anyone that carries out terror activities against it.

In a snippet from his exclusive interview with Network18 Group Editor-in-Chief Rahul Joshi, Rajnath gave a strong message to Pakistan over cross-border terrorism. "If any terrorist tries to disturb peace in India, it will give a befitting reply," Rajnath said. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken the truth ... India has the ability [to do it] and Pakistan has also started understanding that,” the defence minister said when asked about a report in the UK newspaper about India ordering assassinations in Pakistan as part of a wider strategy to eliminate terrorists on foreign soil.

Though Rajnath did not directly comment on the report, he asserted that India is not the India of the past and no longer spares anyone who bats an eyelid against it.

"India wants to maintain good ties with its neighbours, no matter what country it is. We have never ever attacked any country first or tried to occupy anyone's territory. But if someone keeps needling us, then we have had it," the defence minister asserted.

Earlier, the ministry of external affairs denied allegations made in the report that about India carrying out targeted assassinations in Pakistan.

It called The Guardian report “false and malicious propaganda".

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