By Ashok Bhan
Kulbhushan Jadhav case will hit India-Pakistan relations badly. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) interim order directing Pakistan that till the proceedings are finally decided Jadhav should not be executed. It appears from here it would take a year or more for ICJ to conclusively decide the issues raised by applicant India. The order is historical, because in 1999 when both Countries went to world Court over shooting of a Pakistani military plane the ICJ ruled that it had no authority to decide the case. But 18 years later in the changed circumstances has decided to hear the case and granted interim order in favour of India. As lawyer my view is that the ICJ order has left a gap on the core issue of granting consular access to Jathav,the order is silent but in the days to come the only big comfort for him will be that he will not be hanged soon. This Order has further strained India-Pakistan relations.
For India the verdict is a victory. India has not only saved its citizen from gallows but also came clean for not being meddlesome in the internal affairs of Pakistan. There is also a flip side to the story. Nothing stops Pakistan to approach World Court for consular access to Pakistani terrorists caught by security forces in Kashmir and elsewhere and lodged in Jails. Pakistan military establishment may want to send Jadhav to gallows but Sharif Government has to protect him under international obligations till the matter is finally decided by International Court of Justice.
The relations with Pakistan have been defined by the partition of British India in 1947, the Kashmir conundrum and the military conflicts fought between the two Countries. The relations have always been ploughed by conflicts, hostilities and suspicion, despite the two south Asian Countries share the common linguistic, cultural, geographical and economic linkages.
There have been military wars, continuing undeclared war, numerous skirmishes and stand offs between the two Countries. The relations soured after Saichen conflict of 1980, Kashmir insurgency of 1989 onwards, Kargil conflict of 1999. Terror attack on Indian Parliament in 2001 almost brought two nuclear nations to a brink of war. Mumbai terror attack of 2008 by Pakistani terrorists, killing hundreds of innocent people gave severe blow to the relations. The Pathankot and several terror attacks on Indian soil and perennial terrorist activities in JK State and unnecessary intervention in the internal affairs particularly in Kashmir situation continue to distract the real and meaningful talks with Pakistan.
Prime Minister Modi’s initial honest outreach to Islamabad was described progressive and his credentials are internally recognized as a moderate leader of India. It was hoped that Modi’s friendly relations with US will always be helpful in moving ahead with the structured dialogue with Pakistan. US is always concerned about the regional security in South Asia. US experts feel that India-Pakistan tensions will complicate and spoil US’s interest in the region. In India, the foreign policy expert including myself alerted Prime Minister Modi about the implications of China-Pakistan close relations as Beijing is trying to remake geography by launching huge infrastructure projects and bridges on the borders. Therefore, engagement at a comprehensive level with Pakistan and try for resolution of issues becomes diplomatically important despite its belligerence. Even in Jadhav case, parallel quite diplomacy is always an available option.
Diplomats are aware that PM Modi may not be able to transact any big issue with Pakistan. Pakistan always wants business on Siachen, water issues and Sir Creek which, in turn, is always difficult. Kashmir is used only as a bargaining chip. India will not agree for any third party inter-locution. India does not buy any formula on Kashmir accept the good friendly and neighborly/trade relations. The terror and talks cannot go together. But this time, Pakistan had assured that there would be speedy trial for the 26/11 Mumbai terrorists in Pakistan. Thus, the only issue which can find an agreement is enhanced trade relations and other economic developments schemes but that too make take some time to materialize. Conducting frequent talks at different levels, which do not yield satisfying outcomes is part of diplomacy, India and its Prime Minister is to be seen as a participant in the process of buying peace with the hostile neighboring country to promote his credentials as a modernized leader of India.
Prime Minister Modi has gained strength after strength as a tall leader of the Country with a robust people’s mandate. That provides him the confidence of playing significant role in the global affairs. He has gained by his experience the vision that India needs to promote world wide-He has the ability, grasp, the gift of gab and the vision of a Statesman.
Recently PM Modi frankly spoke in a television interview that unless the democratic and Military power centers in Pakistan are on same page on the agenda of peace talks for good neighborly relations of the two Countries, the whole exercise becomes futile.
Pakistan has always failed diplomatically, in military wars ,in proxy war and at the people’s level on Kashmir.By its continued meddling in the internal affairs of Kashmir,
Pakistan has made its real agenda known to Kashmiris that all its so called military support, exporting terrorists to Kashmir and inflicting death and destruction agenda on Kashmiris is meant to enslave Kashmiris in the failed Nation called Pakistan. Kashmiris have always rejected Pakistan as an option then, when MA Jinhah Sb. visited Srinagar and personally proposed and they reject it when Sharief and his military is promoting its designs.
The whole nation stands behind Prime Minister for his diplomatic efforts so that Country plays its recognised role in world affairs through a moderate Prime Minister. The PM Modi has to focus the public mind on the prospects of resolving the big issues of the country.