The optics of the Pakistani Foreign Minister traveling to India early next month in what CNN noted will be “the most senior-level visit in seven years” strongly suggest a thaw of some sorts between them. This in term prompts speculation about exactly what sort of backchannel discussions preceded Thursday’s announcement.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (BBZ) will attend an SCO meeting with his counterparts in India’s coastal city of Goa early next month, which CNN noted will mark “the most senior-level visit in seven years.” There are very important implications connected with this development, the most immediate of which is that Islamabad isn’t expected to resort to saber-rattling against Delhi anytime soon out of desperation to distract from its post-modern coup regime’s worsening domestic crisis.
For whatever one’s views about that issue may be, it’s commendable that this beleaguered government didn’t violate the ceasefire that’s impressively remained in place for over two years now. Building upon that observation, the optics of BBZ traveling to India early next month in “the most senior-level visit in seven years” strongly suggest a thaw of some sorts between them. This in term prompts speculation about exactly what sort of backchannel discussions preceded Thursday’s announcement.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif floated the idea of resuming talks with India in early January, after which some in the latter wondered whether the carrot of financial aid could be dangled to incentivize practically bankrupt Pakistan into making meaningful progress on resolving the Kashmir Conflict. Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar politely dismissed this scenario in late February, but fresh life could be breathed into it depending on the pace of their incipient rapprochement.
It’s premature to predict the future trajectory of their ties, let alone the details of whatever they might be discussing behind closed doors, but the point is that everything appears to be moving in a positive direction for now. Instead of irresponsibly destabilizing the region out of desperation to distract from its worsening domestic crisis by unilaterally violating its ceasefire with India, Pakistan’s post-modern coup regime is making a symbolic outreach to its neighbor by attending next month’s SCO event.
This won’t be lost on observers like Russia, who have grown concerned about Pakistan’s geostrategic intentions since last year’s post-modern coup and particularly in light of regular reports concerning its involvement in an Anglo-American scheme to arm Kiev. Furthermore, Thursday’s announcement about BBZ’s participation in the upcoming SCO Foreign Ministers’ meeting follows Wednesday night’s confirmation from Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik regarding Pakistan’s purchase of Russian crude.
Taken together, these two moves demonstrate a degree of regional pragmatism that few expected to be displayed by those political forces who owe their present positions of authority to America. The impression that one’s left with is rather curious since there’s visibly an inverse correlation – which doesn’t necessarily prove causation – between the worsening of this post-modern coup regime’s domestic crisis and the improvement in its relations with regional stakeholders like Russia and India.
It’s presently unclear what might be driving the second-mentioned trend and whether it’s due to a profound change in policy or simple opportunism vis-à-vis those two, but both developments deserve to be applauded. Pakistan’s objective national interests are served by purchasing Russian crude, participating in SCO events, and retaining stable ties with India, all three of which will hopefully continue to remain the case going forward.