Pakistan’s response will yield it little diplomatically | HT editorial
It may resort to terror to draw attention to Kashmir. India must be preparedUpdated: Aug 08, 2019 19:26 IST
The Pakistan government was under mounting pressure to respond to India’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. Following a meeting of the country’s top leadership, Islamabad announced it was expelling the Indian ambassador as part of the downgrading of diplomatic ties, and snapping bilateral trade. On Wednesday, Pakistan had closed a corridor of its air space which will affect Air India flights. A day later, it stopped the Samjhauta Express on their side at the Wagah border, citing security concerns. Islamabad said all bilateral arrangements would be reviewed, and the Kashmir issue would be taken to the United Nations (UN). The measures have had little impact on New Delhi, which has only called on Islamabad to review its decisions, and reiterated the changes in Kashmir are an internal matter.
Bilateral diplomatic contacts have been minimal over the past few years. India’s trade with Pakistan accounts for about 0.3% of its total trade. Pakistan’s first two steps — expelling the Indian envoy and snapping trade — are unlikely to make a difference to the current stalemate. The two sides have sparred repeatedly at the UN on a range of issues, including Kashmir. A continuation of this trend is unlikely to lead to a change on the ground, especially when Pakistan enjoys little support globally because of its continued use of terrorism as an instrument of State.
The international community, barring a few close friends of Pakistan such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, has responded coolly to overtures on the Kashmir issue. Other nations have indicated they are not opposed to the Indian position that the decisions of August 5 are an internal matter. The fear, however, is that a desperate Pakistan, especially when it believes it is needed for finding a solution in Afghanistan, could again resort to the use of terror to force the world community to heed its demands. India must be prepared for just such an eventuality.
First Published: Aug 08, 2019 19:26 IST