Where is Balochistan?
Last year the emergence of a so called Indian spy in Balochistan had created a political crisis as Pakistan had claimed that the man has been sent for creating trouble in Balochisthan since the people of that region found a ray of freedom. Till date the incident has remained as mysterious as the whole drama it was. Above that Pakistan’s not agreeing to extend consular access to the arrested ‘spy’ has remained more mysterious. But it has served one cause that Pak Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had called off his Washington trip at that time. Sharif was scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi there. This “policy shift” marked its official beginning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech. The timing of the arrest as claimed by Pakistan of a former Indian Naval officer working for RAW had come just ahead of PM’s meet giving credence to the fact that some sections within the Pakistan administration are not in favour of resumption of much-stalled dialogue. On the contrary the tacit support extended by Indian leadership and time-to-time references about that region in Pakistan too raised the hope for the people about India’s intention. Pakistan has been blaming India for fanning trouble in North West province of Balochistan, which too has been reeling under its indigenous militancy which to some extent has been the fallout of Afghan turmoil. What interest India has in Balochistan? Why must India discuss Balochistan with Pakistan? For, it will be the transit route of at least two multinational gas pipelines – one from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan and the other from Iran to Pakistan and not only that with Gwadar Port project coming up with Chinese investment any trouble in that region would be construed as the handiwork of India. India could be a beneficiary of both pipelines, which could be extended from Multan to New Delhi if it works out. A stable Balochistan will, thus, ultimately benefit India. Has India been able to achieve the set target, seeing the silence on the issue as a mark of consent?