Indo-Pak Dialogue – The Kargil Effect

13 Aug, 1999    ·   244

Dr. Subhash Kapila says India's options for immediate resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue stand thus limited by the Kargil effect and more so by the domestic effect of Kargil on the Indian public.... This can only harden attitude and stall Indo-Pak dialogues

With India militarily succeeding in evicting Pakistan Army's aggressive occupation of a sizable chunk of Indian territory South of the LoC in the last few months, calls are now being made by different quarters including Pakistan, for resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue to settle conflictual issues. Dialogue between nation states to solve contentious issues as an imperative is well recognized. However, any future resumption of Indo-Pak dialogues in the wake of the Kargil conflict has necessarily to take into account the pattern of inter-state relations vis-à-vis India woven by Pakistan so far. Pakistan 's aggressive misadventure in Kargil brings this pattern acutely into focus. India needs to keep this backdrop in mind.



Kargil, foremost, highlighted that Pakistan has not even the modicum of respect for any bilateral agreements of processes. While aggressing into Kargil sector, Pakistan gave the of-by to the Simla Agreement of 1972 and the Lahore Process of 1999. The Simla Agreement specifically embodied principles of bilateral dialogues for settlement of disputes, non-interference in each other internal affairs and respect for the LoC in J & K based on the 17 December, 1971 cease-fire. Kargil, therefore, in effect, highlights that Pakistan has no respect for international agreement or dialogues.



Kargil, next, demonstrates that in terms of Pakistan 's internal power elite and political decision making processes, no change has taken place. Pakistan Army's collegium of Generals call the shots in Pakistan 's foreign policy processes. Pakistan Generals do not subscribe to or respect any peaceful processes. Kargil is the latest example. Further, an unholy combination of Pakistan Army and Islamic fundamentalist forces in Pakistan would negate any Indo-Pak in the future.



Kargil and the follow-up spurt of terrorist activities by Pakistan in J & K indicates that Pakistan has not given up its grand strategic design of attempting the Balkanisation of India. Besides the four wars, Pakistan state sponsored terrorism and sabotage in Punjab , J&K and the North East, the Bombay blast of 1993 and ISI penetration of South India are indicators. With such designs, Pakistan 's faith in any inter-state dialogue is questionable and therefore, India has to be cautious.



India 's options for immediate resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue stand thus limited by the Kargil effect and more so by the domestic effect of Kargil on the Indian public. Not only Indian national unity has been strengthened, but there is a heightened call for build-up of national power to defeat any future Kargils. Kargil also for the first time in 50 years has brought Kashmir as an election issue in Indian politics. This can only harden attitude and stall Indo-Pak dialogues.



Kargil further highlights that Pakistan is no more amenable to United States and China 's advice. Surely, neither these countries would have advised PM Nawaz Sharif to go ahead with its aggression in Kargil. At least in India , we would like to believe it. United States and China are the only two countries that had leverage over Pakistan and with this gone or diluted, Indo-Pak dialogue can hardly move forward.



In international relations, there is no respect for aggrieved parties and their grief about breach of trust. India should therefore, stop sobbing over Pakistan 's perfidy. India should agree to the resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue subject to a declaration by Pakistan that it is ready to respect the provisions of the Simla Agreement and the Lahore process and a commitment by the Pakistan Govt. to curb all Pakistan terrorist activities, governmental or non-governmental, in India . Pakistan is unlikely to commit itself as such as demonstrated by its post-Kargil activities in J& K. It thus becomes incumbent on the United States , China and the G-8 countries to exercise their financial leverages on Pakistan to make declarations of its intent to facilitate resumption of a Indo-Pak dialogue. Falling this, India would be justified in not resuming a dialogue with Pakistan .