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Peace is difficult

101 15 318

THE recent military crisis with India was a baptism of fire for Prime Minister Imran Khan and the PTI government. In the event, the Pakistani leader emerged as a responsible statesman while Modi exposed himself as a rash warmonger.

The Pakistani prime minister has expressed the hope that after his anticipated re-election, Prime Minister Modi will be strong enough to politically to engage in a dialogue for peace with Pakistan. He has similarly expressed hope for peace in Afghanistan through the US-Afghan Taliban talks which Pakistan has facilitated.

Unfortunately, peace is difficult to achieve in the present global environment. A new Cold War is under way between the US and China. The Washington ‘establishment’ views India as an essential ally in its global competition with China. After the Pulwama suicide attack, US National Security Adviser John Bolton immediately proclaimed India’s “right to self-defence”, providing New Delhi a virtual “carte blanche” to proceed with its threatened military action, irrespective of the inherent risk of a wider Pakistan-India war. Responsibility to avoid a conflict — by acting against Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) — was placed on Pakistan.

US mediation to prevent a wider war was activated only after Pakistan retaliated against India’s incursion, downed two Indian aircraft, captured an Indian pilot and, reportedly, ‘locked’ its missiles on to several Indian targets in response to similar Indian action. Pakistan’s foreign minister was gracious in acknowledging US mediation. Yet, the lesson from the episode is clear: strength is the only sure way to deter an aggressive adversary and secure even-handed outcomes.

India is unlikely to offer any meaningful compromises to resolve the........

© Dawn