New Regional Dynamics

Wagah Border

The Nuclear States in the Region has frozen the hostile relations these days. First, India allowed Pakistan PM Imran Khan to use their aerial space for traveling to Sri Lanka. Second, the secret “on-call” meeting between the DGMOs of arch-rivals resulted in resuming of halted ceasefire agreement alongside LOC. The latest development is the COAS indication “it is time to bury the past” and “move on” hinting to India for rapprochement. Before the chief,  PM Imran Khan suggested a resolution on the Kashmir cause. Next is the peaceful gesture of PM Narendra Modi who wished his counterpart PM Imran Khan a speedy recovery from COVID-19.

The most important development is the abiding of a ceasefire agreement, brokered secretly by the United Arab Emirates, as one official told to Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity. However, there is no official confirmation from any countries but their action suggests that UAE is playing a secret role in bringing the two countries together. One of the top diplomats of the UAE visited India a day after the revival of the 2003 agreement. The foreign ministers of UAE and India also reaffirmed noting they, “discussed all regional and international issues of common interest and exchanged views on them”, news confirmed from their official readout.  

One official said that the ceasefire is the beginning, a framework for lasting peace has been discussed, which in the coming days both the neighbors will resume the diplomatic relation stranded since 2019. The next important step will be the talk on the resumption of trade and Kashmir issue. The disputed territory has not allowed the two countries to maintain cordial relations and benefit from regional trades. UAE, after playing its cards in Middle Eastern politics, has now chosen South Asia to showcase its diplomatic strength and make political alliances, utilizing its good economic relations with both the nuclear states.

These regional dynamics are coming under circumstances where Washington is reviewing Afghanistan’s peace process, a country strategically important for India and Pakistan. India, after border skirmishes on Northern Sikkim, is focusing more on the border it shares with China and International pressure on them regarding their policies in Kashmir. Pakistan is yet to overcome its political uncertainty and economic crisis. The Post-America Afghanistan political setup is vague for Pakistan, in such scenarios they can’t afford any military misadventure from its eastern or western border. The United States, if withdraw from Afghanistan, must ensure its presence in another form, as per its Indian Pacific Ocean Strategy; containment of China and its security apprehensions in the region.

Moreover, if the US leave Afghanistan and the Taliban was streamline; some non-state actors like the Islamic State will be looking for another battleground for themselves. Infiltration to Kashmir may be their choice as Mujahidin did after the Soviet defeat in the 1990s. India may not in the favor of history to repeat itself. On the other hand alignment with Pakistan will open the door of energy-rich Central Asian Countries to India, as well as cooperation in trades, benefitting both countries. So, installing peace in the region is a win-win game for both countries.

But there are certain voices, which are raising some alarms. If UAE is brokering the deal then it should be kept in mind that it was the UAE who called the revocation of the special status of Kashmir, as an internal matter of India. Their role in deals will not be in the favor of Pakistan. Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider recently said that they will reject any bilateral talks without their involvement. Disengaging the Kashmiri leadership will undermine a peace process and will further the escalation in the occupied territories. Lastly, China has also a claim on the disputed area Ladakh, which makes it a part of the discussion. What would be their positions?