India and Pakistan, the inevitable enemies

The latest firing incidents at India-Pakistan Line of Control (LOC) killing 17 villagers, mostly on Pakistan side, has hyped the tension between the two neighbors once again.  The firing is being seen as one of the worst flare-ups since the 2003 ceasefire deal.

This can be threatening for the two nuclear powers, especially in context of current situation in the wider region. With withdrawal of NATO forces and most of US troops from Afghanistan this year, India and Pakistan both seem to be competing against each other for a greater influence in Afghanistan. So far, India seems to be clearly ahead of Pakistan in this struggle.

The political leadership in Afghanistan is out-rightly hostile towards Pakistan and seems to point figure at Pakistan for most of Afghanistan’s problem. While they are not entirely wrong, they seem relatively inconsiderate of the fact that Pakistan is currently struggling with its own Taliban fractions and political turmoil. And with this, the previous support to terrorists’ networks in Afghanistan, specifically in terms of providing them safe havens, has definitely ceased for some time. 

Besides, Afghanistan’s talk of re-shifting Pakistan-Afghanistan border to Durand line, is as ridiculous, as Pakistan’s demand for free plebiscite in Kashmir.

Pakistan, has also alienated, its traditional Pashtun sympathizers in Afghanistan, by playing the role of US alliance after 9/11, in exchange for security grants. These fractions of Pashtuns and Afghan Taliban are hard to be lured back now.

As a result, Pakistan has another hostile neighbour at its border.

On the other hand, Afghanistan is all praises for Indian proactiveness in achieving enhanced trade and security cooperation with Afghanistan. With the new business-friendly government in India, bigger western powers seems all out to woo Indian government to safeguard their business interests in India. This has given India an edge over Pakistan, and we see a harder stance from India on ties with Pakistan, and other relevant issues, including Kashmir. The possible alliance of western powers, India and Afghanistan is, of course, the new concerning situation for Pakistan that can result in increased pressure on Pakistan to step back on its stances, as far as its neighbours are concerned. 

This, however, cannot alienate Pakistan completely in the region, as given its strategic location, its highly 'in-demand' nuclear assets, its 'friendly' ties with China and its expertise and past record of mobilizing miscreant groups, specifically in Afghanistan, Pakistan would keep on maintaining the interests of some western powers and the rich Arab nations, even if it's for the wrong reasons.

The result will be a continuation of hostilities between India and Pakistan, further cutting-off of trade and prosperity ties. And in the terrorism-stricken, politically unstable Pakistan, and poverty-stricken India, with both countries plagued by yearly floods, this is the last thing both countries can afford.

2310 hours
Thursday 9 October

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