Inder Malhotra looks at the thorny relationship between India and Pakistan, which has become increasingly antagonistic in recent weeks in the wake of alleged atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir.
Many years ago, Natwar Singh, then Indian ambassador to Pakistan and much later foreign minister, described the relations between the two South Asian neighbours as ‘devilishly complex’. Nothing could have underscored this more vividly than the dramatic and agonizing turbulence in this relationship that has taken place in a mere few weeks. At the time of writing there is an uneasy standoff between the two basically adversarial countries. Although they have managed to avert the threat of war, there is as yet no return to normalcy or to a dialogue. Let the facts speak for themselves.
During the last fortnight of December, there was a spate of newspaper articles and statements by the strategic community that gleefully welcomed ‘a paradigm change’ in the Pakistan army’s attitude towards India. It seemed that, having held this country as the ‘existential threat’ or the ‘threat number one’ for all these years, the all-powerful Pakistani military had tumbled to the conclusion that terrorism against the state of Pakistan by extremist outfits — some of them sponsored and nurtured, ironically, by the army itself — represented the ‘greatest danger’ to Pakistan’s stability.
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