Pakistan military is deliberately ratcheting up tension with India to prevent any meaningful peace talks and demonstrate that it still calls the shots on bilateral ties, an eminent American expert has said.
"It is possible the Pakistani military establishment is deliberately ratcheting up the tension to demonstrate to the Sharif government that it still calls the shots regarding India-Pakistan relations," Lisa Curtis of The Heritage Foundation said.
The Pakistan army may be trying to warn Sharif off from pursuing any meaningful peace initiatives like he did when he previously served as prime minister in the late 1990s, she added.
"Back-channel negotiations with India over the status of Kashmir had made significant progress under Sharif's previous tenure in 1999 until the Pakistani military took over Indian military positions in the heights of Kargil, precipitating a brief Indo-Pakistani border war," she said.
Curtis said the US should take the recent border flare-ups seriously and do what it can to reduce the military tensions that risk developing into broader conflict.
"Washington should resist any calls for mediation, however," she said and praised the State Department to dismiss the idea of Washington appointing a special envoy to deal with Indo-Pakistani tensions.
"The spectre of a visible, high-profile US role in the dispute over Kashmir would only risk exacerbating tensions by fuelling unrealistic expectations in Pakistan and its support for Kashmiri militants," she said.
"A more promising path to encouraging peace in the subcontinent and overall regional stability is for Washington to convince the Pakistani military to give up its policies of relying on extremist groups to achieve its foreign policy objectives," Curtis said.