Polite tweet from PM Modi, Shehbaz Sharif goes into convulsions over Kashmir

Aug 31, 2022 03:28 PM IST

There has been no offer of flood assistance from India or back channel but Pak PM Shehbaz Sharif has linked it to Kashmir propaganda to appease domestic radicals and score points over political rivals.

A simple empathetic tweet from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the devastation caused by floods in Pakistan has triggered off an irrational response from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to score points against his political archrival Imran Khan Niazi and appease the domestic audience over Jammu and Kashmir pipedreams.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Shehbaz Sharif.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Shehbaz Sharif.

While the highest levels of the Narendra Modi government have confirmed that India did not offer any aid or food exports to Pakistan after more than 1000 lives were lost in floods, PM Shehbaz Sharif linked the non-existent offer with usual Kashmir propaganda including abrogation of article 370 and 35 A and minority rights.

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On Monday, PM Modi tweeted that he was sad to see the devastation caused by floods in Pakistan and offered condolence while expressing hope for early normalcy. This was followed by Pakistan finance minister Miftah Ismail suo moto going on record to state that his country could consider importing vegetables and other food items from India to help people cope with the widespread destruction of crops in flash floods. It was after this statement that PM Shehbaz Sharif unilaterally went on a rant against Narendra Modi government with the usual laundry list Despite there being no offer to Pakistan, PM Sharif used Kashmir propaganda to appease his domestic electorate with the general elections due next year and PTI Chief Imran Khan giving a good street fight to the present regime.

The fact is that there has been no political back-channel functioning between the Modi government and the Pakistan government since the 2016 Pathankot air base attack by Bahawalpur-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists. There has been operational liaison between the security forces and security agencies to the extent to avoid any flare up or cross border firing all along the international border.

India knows that Pakistan is reeling under a severe economic crisis and is caught in a multi-billion- dollar Chinese debt trap. It knows that while the Rawalpindi GHQ under the astute leadership of Gen Qamar Jawed Bajwa has given up on the Kashmir issue and does not want to rake up military tensions along the international border with the Indian Army, it is the Pakistani politicians who continue using the Kashmir issue as a political football to score points against their rivals. With Pak PM Shehbaz Sharif under pressure from Imran Khan Niazi, the Kashmir propaganda will continue to politically resonate in Pakistan till the forthcoming general election.

It was not so long ago that Indian policy planners decided to engage the civilian government of Pakistan to empower them to take on the rabidly anti-India Pakistan Army. The problem today is the Pakistani politician.

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    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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