The Bold Voice of J&K

Will Modi?

0 81

Even as Pakistan pushes ahead with preparations to host the SAARC Summit in November, India is yet to confirm if Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Islamabad for the meet. The decision would have to take a number of factors into consideration, such as the chill in India-Pakistan ties and India’s commitment to multilateral organisations. The formal invite had arrived in March for the summit, scheduled for 9th and 10th November in Islamabad. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj says that PM Modi would attend the summit, but much has changed since then. While the escalation in tensions with Islamabad will figure high in the matrix of decision making, so will the experience of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s recent Pakistan visit for a meeting of SAARC Home Ministers. The Centre had justified Rajnath’s trip to Islamabad as a demonstration of India’s commitment to its role in the regional multilateral organisation. However, Rajnath’s visit had only seen the pitch getting shriller between the two countries. While some outfits had protested his arrival in Islamabad, Rajnath himself had used the platform to needle the Pakistan establishment over its ties to terrorist organisations and to the ongoing tensions in Kashmir.  Modi is faced with a fluid scenario. Since Rajnath Singh’s visit, Modi has threatened Pakistan that India would be forced to raise Islamabad’s human rights violations in Balochistan if it continues to foment violence in Jammu and Kashmir.  Avoiding a war of words with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his turf could also be a key factor in PM Modi’s decision. On the other hand, the summit could afford PM Modi a high-level platform to raise pressure further. Though other SAARC members are usually wary of getting caught in an India-Pakistan argument, India could look to make common cause with Afghanistan. Kabul too has faced a deterioration in ties with Islamabad over the past few months, even as it moves ever closer to India. One way or the another, New Delhi will still have to prepare for multiple eventualities, keeping the possible developments between now and November in mind. Prime Minister Modi’s last visit to Pakistan was his surprise stopover in Lahore in December 2015. The feel-good bubble that followed the visit was punctured just days later, when terrorists from Pakistan attacked the Indian Air Force Base in Punjab’s Pathankot.

Leave a comment
WP Twitter Auto Publish Powered By :