In the wake of Narendra Modi’s Landslide Victory to secure a second term as Indian Premier, what can Pakistan expect as it once again signals for peace in the region?
Having secured a majority 56% of the seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, the BJP has once again secured a term with Modi in power. India and Pakistan have alternated between phases of intense hostility and moments of calm since 1947. The near future after these elections will be of utmost importance to India Pakistan relations under the regime of ‘Modi 2.0’. Crossfire at the Line of Control (LoC) will likely cease due to telephonic conversations between Prime Minister Khan and Modi. Imran khan has repeatedly signalled for initiating the use of dialogue to achieve a resolve in this long standing conflict. This derives from the Prime Minister having similar views on the United States presence in Iran; that 17 years of military action has led to no solution, with Trump ultimately withdrawing his troops from the country.
What should be understood is that the relationship between the two Nuclear Powers will have to be portrayed under the strategic interests of both sides. Prime Minister Modi needs to develop a policy that ultimately satisfies his right wing Hindu nationalists whilst Prime Minister Khan would also need to reciprocate on that by searching for a solution to the Kashmir dispute by implementing policies that promote political and economic stability in the region.
The extent to which both countries are willing to go to improve Bilateral relations lie solely in their geo-strategic interests. Pakistan can significantly improve its stance in this matter if it allows Afghanistan and India to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). But whether this happens lies in the Governments’ hands and to what their Intentions could be. Relations can also be improved through the elimination of Proxy Warfare by both sides in the region. However, the relationship between the two countries also has the possibility of further deteriorating; this can occur on the likelihood that Modi adopts policies attempting to implicate or isolate Pakistan, this has happened in the past with India removing Pakistan from its ‘Most Favoured Nation Status’ and also withdrawing from the SAARC summit. India also has a tendency to use sports related activities to initiate propaganda against its neighbour.
Following Imran Khans meeting with United States President Donald Trump on 22nd July, the US premier has offered to mediate in the Kashmir Dispute, offering to achieve together a solution that will satisfy sovereign interests for both nations. This follows from Donald Trump’s praise of Imran Khan as leader Pakistan has needed for a long time coming, and that the United States sees great potential for trade and development in Pakistan.
However, India was swift to deny these claims and ‘clarified’ that Modi did not ask President Trump to mediate in this matter, what was the rationale behind this rejection seems to be unknown. It could be said that perhaps if this dispute were to be mediated, Pakistan would gain the high ground due to publicly insinuating that it has approached India for the use of ‘comprehensive dialogue’ instead of violence and military action, something which has been India’s practice for a substantial time now. This adds on to the fact that most of the Indian violence in Kashmir has yet not been reasonably justified, a prime example being several lives lost due to misconduct by the Indian Army in order to ‘avenge’ the attack in Pulwama earlier in February, which ultimately turned out to be a stunt by the Indian Prime Minister himself, to promote the agenda of the BJP. The scenario will play out as any side will wish it to, both Heads of State will inevitably give priority to their sovereign interests above all.