China-Pakistan Equation: Is it India’s Dilemma?


In April, China struck 51 agreements with all-weather ally Pakistan, including the multibillion dollar economic corridor through the PoK that will expand the communist giant’s influence in India’s neighbourhood.

Before we deep dive, let’s first know historical background

India claims the entire erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir based on an instrument of accession signed in 1947. Pakistan claims Jammu and Kashmir based on its majority Muslim population, whereas China claims the Shaksam Valley and Aksai Chin.

  • The origin of the Sino-Pak equation could be traced in China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), finds root to the Border Agreement of 1963, considered a milestone in China-Pakistan relations.
  • The agreement ceded the 5000 plus square mile Trans Karakorum Tract to China and served as a precursor to the Karakoram Highway, conceived later as a strategic link defining China and Pakistan’s ‘all-weather friendship’.
  • The then Defence Minister of India, Krishna Menon, elaborately enunciated India’s position on the issue at the UN, condemning the agreement as illegitimate.
  • Besides, India lodged an “emphatic protest” to China and conveyed its concerns in a letter of protest.
  • Decades down the line, while India’s policy orientation and broader claim on Gilgit Baltistan remains unchanged, its stance on Chinese investments in the Karakoram Highway, and Chinese efforts to leverage this territorial link to build a strategic corridor, is perceived to be weakening over time.

What is the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project?

  • The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is biggest connectivity project aims to connect Gwadar Port in southwestern Pakistan to China’s northwestern autonomous region of Xinjiang, via a network of highways, railways and pipelines to transport oil and gas.
  • The economic corridor is considered central to China–Pakistan relations and will run about 3,000 km from Gwadar to Kashgar.
  • The Corridor is an extension of China’s proposed 21st century Silk Road initiative.
  • According to a Firstpost report, this is the biggest overseas investment by China announced yet and the corridor is expected to be operational within 3 years.

Why Gwadar Port is strategically so important to China?

  • Gwadar forms the crux of the CPEC project, as it is envisaged to be the link between China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) in Maritime Silk Road project.
  • In total, more than $1 billion worth of projects are to be developed around the port of Gwadar by December 2017.

But, what are the geopolitical reasons to China’s OBOR project?

  • There are compelling geopolitical reasons, such as energy security, for China to push forward with its One Belt, One Road plans at a time when its trading partners are potentially excluding it from strategic agreements.
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the EU-Japan agreement show comprehensive liberalisation agendas, but do not include China and have the potential to increase trading costs.
  • In response, China plans to negotiate free-trade agreements with 65 countries along the OBOR.
  • Until now China has signed 12 free-trade agreements including Singapore, Pakistan, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Iceland, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
  • Further 8 are under negotiation with Japan, Korea, Australia, Sri Lanka, Norway, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Asean and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

How will CPEC benefits to Pakistan ? Is it a Game changer for Pak?

  • China and Pakistan hope the massive investment plan will transform Pakistan into a regional economic hub as well as further boost the growing ties between Pakistan and China.
  • The CPEC is considered a significant project that seeks to cement Sino-Pakistan bilateral ties and further consolidate their strategic ties.
  • According to The Guardian, “The Chinese are not just offering to build much-needed infrastructure but also make Pakistan a key partner in its grand economic and strategic ambitions.”

What’s the claim from India in CPEC?

  • The corridor will run through India’s periphery, more significantly, Gilgit Baltistan, claimed by India as part of the erstwhile princely state of J&K.
  • In due course, this geographical reality of the CPEC could potentially impinge upon India’s geopolitical calculations and pose a strategic challenge.

How does China look at CPEC?

  • In December 2014, the Chinese state-run Xinhua published a statement announcing the closure of the strategic Khunjerab Pass and in the process referred to Gilgit Baltistan as part of Pakistan.
  • Until then, China had maintained that J&K was a bilateral problem/dispute between India and Pakistan.
  • Whether terming Gilgit Baltistan as part of Pakistan reflected a possible shift in the Chinese position on the J&K— a change from its previously held neutral position – was debated in the Indian media for a while.
  • In the Gilgit Baltistan segment, the CPEC project design includes a major expansion of the Karakoram Highway, establishing industrial parks in special economic zones, constructing hydropower projects, railway line and road building.
  • The project also entails building hydropower projects and motorways/highways in the so-called Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

What’s the India’s claim and response to it?

  • India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan, noted: “India has no worry over the construction of Pakistan-China Economic Corridor as an economically strong Pakistan would bring stability in the region.”
  • India is yet to comprehensively articulate its approach towards the CPEC despite the fact that the corridor bodes strategic implications for India.
  • The corridor will pass through the Gilgit Baltistan region where China has invested in the past in infrastructure and hydropower projects.
  • India has occasionally raised objections to Chinese infrastructure investment in the region.
  • New Delhi’s move to raise objections to Pakistan’s plan of holding an election in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Gilgit-Baltistan region may appear to be an afterthought.
  • In fact, the belated assertion of a simple principle: In a dispute, express your maximal position, rather than the one you will compromise on.

Is it India’s Dilemma?

  • Is it because of a realization that in a changed strategic landscape, the options for India vis-a-vis a project like CPEC are limited and complicated?
  • Is India conflicted about whether to engage itself in the mega connectivity network project or stay out of it in accordance with its stated position on Gilgit Baltistan and the so-called AJK?



How does it pose a policy challenge to India?

  • Participating in the project would require a major alteration in India’s policy.
  • Overlooking the territorial dimension could be interpreted as a massive climb-down from its stated position.
  • It may even be construed as acquiescing to the China-Pakistan alliance in the region and beyond.
  • Thus, the CPEC poses a policy challenge to India on how best to strike a precarious balance between securing its strategic/territorial interests without at the same time being confrontational.
  • Charting a policy course is essential since China has, of late, through stray remarks extended an invitation for India to participate in the Silk Route ‘one route one belt’ project.

How will CPEC get materialised despite scepticism?

  • Ironically, in Pakistan itself, there is growing cynicism about the CPEC’s prospects and feasibility because of security-related concerns and inter-provincial political discord on route preferences.
  • Nevertheless, given the Chinese determination to find a route to oil-rich West Asia through Pakistan, and the Pakistani desperation to provide every possible assurance to China about safeguarding its investments, the project is likely to be implemented, even if its scope may be limited.
  • One has to remember that China and Pakistan have weathered geographical and logistical extremes in the past to build the highest metalled road on one of the toughest terrain, i.e. the Karakoram Highway.
  • Moreover, the Pakistani decision to raise a special security division to protect Chinese workers and interests in Pakistan, indicates its resolve to implement the project in all earnestness.

The Way forward

  • While India’s overall stance on PoK remains understated, the commencement of the CPEC warrants more serious attention than what has been accorded so far.
  • There is a need to carefully weigh the situation and devise a suitable and sustainable approach that could serve India’s long-term interests.
  • It is imperative that some of the explicit strategic concerns regarding the CPEC figure in the bilateral round of talks during the Indian Prime Minister’s forthcoming visit to Pakistan.

What do you think on such a big triangular geostrategic politics? How will it resolved from Sino-India relations? Let us know!


Published with inputs from Arun | Image: Wikipedia

Any doubts?

  1. dar adil

    Its possible for India to take the advantage of CPEC , more probably gives a reaching route to Gilgit-Baltistan. As far as Foreign policies are concerned strategic ties must be enhanced to the next level and while as border security on top priority between the countries.

  2. directionless arrows

    As China wants India to join CPEC and OBOR , India should upheld diplomatically its keenness to join CPEC only if China is willing to change its route through Gilgit – baltistan region and if it is impossible for China to change its route then it must recognize India’s sovereignty over Gilgit – Baltistan , if any one of these two is fulfilled then India should join .. There has to be clear cut strategic interests of India with a touch of helping hand from Delhi to Beijing in China’s ambitious OBOR project.

  3. Alwoodlands Residency Ooty


  4. Sankalp Singh

    If Possible, India must use that route to its advantage. Well, Dealing china isnt easy but now we have to be act wise, frowning wont work here.

  5. Aditya kumar

    Considering the strategic implication of supporting CPEC India should comprehensively work out with Pakistan as well China to realise a soft border . Without solving the border and kashmir dispute it will be a strategic loss to INDIA.

  6. S Giri

    Sorry.about sports news

  7. S Giri

    Why have not you been answering about news?

Pak. extends Thar Link Express for 3 years


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the train

Mains level: The extension shows positive side(though not significant) of the relationship between the two nations.


Extension for the Thar Link Express

  1. The rail link between India and Pakistan received an extension from Pakistan
  2. The Thar Link Express that connects Khokhrapar in Pakistan and Munabao in Rajasthan received an extension for three more years from 1 February 2018 to 31 January 2021

Particulars of the train

  1. The weekly train connects Jodhpur and the bordering region of Rajasthan with the province of Sindh in Pakistan
  2. The agreement to run the Thar Link Express was signed in 2006 and is one of the cheapest means of transport between the two rival countries
  3. The rail link facilitates people-to-people contacts which are essential for improving relations between both the countries

Pakistan examining proposal for DGMO-level talks with India: report


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: DGMO

Mains level: Rising tension along India-Pakistan border and ways to resolve it


Reducing tensions along LoC

  1. Pakistan is examining a proposal for a DGMO-level meeting with India after a gap of four years
  2. This is to reduce tensions along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary through fresh confidence-building measures

Measures being planned

  1. According to the report, one of the confidence-building measures being considered for the planned meeting of DGMOs is “calibre reduction” of the arms being used at the LoC

Previous attempts

  1. In November, a telephonic conversation between the two DGMOs took place following a request by the Pakistani side
  2. Pakistan-India DGMOs have a frequent hotline contact, but they last met face-to-face four years ago at Wagah

Govt says no proposal to review Most Favored Nation status to Pakistan


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: MFN status, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, WTO

Mains level: India-Pakistan relationship despite long standoff


MFN status to Pakistan

  1. The government has denied any proposal to review the ‘most favoured nation’ (MFN) status to Pakistan
  2. India has accorded MFN status to all WTO members, including Pakistan, in accordance with the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

What does MFN status mean?

  1. Under MFN, a WTO member country is obliged to treat other trading nation in a non-discriminatory manner, especially with regard to customs duty and other levies


General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

  1. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) covers international trade in goods
  2. Its overall purpose was to promote international trade by reducing or eliminating trade barriers such as tariffs or quotas
  3.  The workings of the GATT agreement are the responsibility of the Council for Trade in Goods (Goods Council) which is made up of representatives from all WTO member countries
  4. GATT was signed by 23 nations in Geneva on October 30, 1947, and took effect on January 1, 1948
  5. It remained in effect until the signature by 123 nations in Marrakesh on April 14, 1994, of the Uruguay Round Agreements, which established the World Trade Organization (WTO) on January 1, 1995
  6. In addition to facilitating applied tariff reductions, the early GATT’s contribution to trade liberalization include
  • binding the negotiated tariff reductions for an extended period (made more permanent in 1955),
  • establishing the generality of nondiscrimination through most-favoured-nation (MFN) treatment and national treatment,
  • ensuring increased transparency of trade policy measures, and
  • providing a forum for future negotiations and for the peaceful resolution of bilateral disputes.

‘230% increase in ceasefire violations’

Image Source


Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges and their management in border areas

Prelims level: BSF and other paramilitary forces

Mains level: Ceasefire violation is an important cause of concern for India. Also, these topics are specially mentioned in the mains syllabus.


Increase in ceasefire violations

  1. According to government, there was a 230% increase in ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) this year compared with the 2016 figure


  1. The 740-km LoC is under the operational control of the Army and 192 km of the International Border in Jammu is manned by the Border Security Force
  2. The truce between India and Pakistan along the IB, the LoC and the Actual Ground Position Line in Jammu and Kashmir came into force in November 2003

Data on terror incidents

  1. The government also released data on the impact of demonetisation on terror incidents
  2. Terror incidents showed an increase in Jammu and Kashmir in 2017 in comparison with last year

[op-ed snap] Responding to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor challenge


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Suggestions and Concerns discussed in the newscard; regarding the CPEC, security issues, etc.



  1. The article talks about some important concerns of India related to the CPEC and suggests some possible solutions

Construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam

  1. Pakistan has reportedly rejected China’s offer of assistance for the $14 billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam
  2. Pakistan’s demand: Pakistan wants Beijing to take the project out of the $60 billion CPEC so that Pakistan can build the dam on its own
  3. Why: Because the project was in a disputed territory, the Asian Development Bank had refused to finance it
  4. So China was keen to step in but Pakistan realized that the tough conditions being imposed by Beijing, the dam would make the project politically and economically untenable

Controversy over use of Yuan in Pakistan

  1. The dam project was followed by differences on the use of the Chinese yuan in Pakistan along the lines of the US dollar
  2. Pakistan had to reject this demand as well
  3. Pakistan’s demand: common use of the yuan in any part of Pakistan, exchangeable like the dollar, has to be on a reciprocal basis

Some important issues related to the CPEC

  1. China is demanding greater autonomy and security in operationalizing the project and Pakistan is finding it difficult to accede to most of these demands
  2. There are growing voices in Pakistan that China seems to be a bigger beneficiary from CPEC than Pakistan
  3. China’s strategy of getting more benefit: China is saying that Pakistan is not producing the goods that are needed in China
  4. This has reinforced the perception that all China wants is to use the infrastructural advancement of CPEC for the benefit of Chinese companies

India’s take on One Belt and Road Initiative

  1. India so far has steadfastly refused to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative
  2. And maintains opposition to China’s investment in CPEC, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir

Long term security concerns for India

  1. The long-term strategic consequences of Obor for India could also allow China to consolidate its presence in the Indian Ocean at India’s expense
  2. China may use its economic power to increase its geopolitical leverage and, in doing so, intensify security concerns for India
  3. CPEC gives China a foothold in the western Indian Ocean with the Gwadar port, located near the strategic Strait of Hormuz(where Chinese warships and a submarine have surfaced)
  4. CPEC can also resolve China’s “Malacca dilemma” which is about its over-reliance on the Malacca Straits for the transport of its energy resources

What should be done from India’s side?

  1. Indian opposition has taken attention of those who remain suspicious of Chinese motives behind Obor in Pakistan as well as in the rest of the world
  2. The West is now more vocal in its concerns and voices in Pakistan are demanding a reappraisal of the project
  3. But India needs to do more than just articulate its opposition
  4. It needs to provide a new template for the world on global connectivity projects
  5. Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC): India has moved in that direction recently with an articulation of the Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC)
  6. Alternative to OBOR: The AAGC, structured to connect East Asia, South-East Asia and South Asia with Africa and Oceania, provides a normative alternative to Obor with its promise of being more consultative and inclusive
  7. This is a welcome first step but given the challenges that CPEC is facing, India will need to do much more to provide an effective counter-narrative

[op-ed snap] Trump’s Pakistan test


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Q.) “US president’s new South Asia doctrine threatening Pakistan with dire consequences if it fails to check jihadists could lead Rawalpindi to revive the policy of strategic defiance.” Critically examine.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Article critically analyse the consequences of the new Afghan Policy.



  1. The article talks about the US president’s new South Asia doctrine

The idea of Strategic Defiance

  1. In 1991, a war began to descend over Saddam Hussein’s Iraq
  2. Pakistan, at that time, believed the war would create a Zionist-led order in West Asia
  3. Once the United States started the war, Pakistan would lead a fightback by mid-sized powers like Iraq and Iran, helped by China
  4. This new idea was called “strategic defiance”
  5. However, strategic defiance didn’t actually work for a country(like Pakistan) addicted to United States’ patronage

Consequence of Trump’s new South Asia Doctrine

  1. This new doctrine is threatening Pakistan with severe consequences
  2. And this has made strategic defiance relevant again

The new South Asia strategy of the US

  1. The pillars of the new South Asia strategy are
    (1) Open-ended commitment to the Afghan war, with the use of all the instruments of American power
    (2) A greater role for India there, strategic partnership with India and destroying terror safe-havens in Pakistan
  2. And with it, growing Iranian, Chinese and Russian influence

Up and Down of the US aid to Pakistan

  1. Each time the United States has cut aid to Pakistan, geopolitical situations forced it to reverse course
  2. In 1954, Cold War alliance-building led economic and military assistance to surge steadily to $3 billion in 1963
  3. Aid fell to near-zero levels after the United States detected Pakistan’s nuclear-weapons programme in 1980
  4. But the anti-Soviet Union jihad in Afghanistan saw the United States change course yet again, and started giving aid of over $ 1 billion per year through most of the 1980s
  5. The 1990s saw a sharp reduction in aid yet again, after the anti-Soviet jihad ended
  6. But it surged after 9/11, rising to historic levels of $4.5 billion in 2010

Options in front of the US against terrorism(originated from pakistan)

  1. The United States has the capacity to target jihadist infrastructure and individuals deep inside Pakistan
  2. It could also unleash its Afghan allies’ covert assets to execute retaliatory terrorism in Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif loyalist Shahid Khaqan Abbasi elected Pakistan Prime Minister

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims Level: New PM

Mains Level: It is important to note political developments in neighborhood.


New PM in Pakistan

  1. The Pakistan Parliament has elected ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) nominee Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as the interim Prime Minister
  2. This follows the ouster of Nawaz Sharif after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office till life in the wake of corruption charges against him and his family members
  3. Mr. Abbasi is expected to hand over power to Shahbaz Sharif once the latter is elected to the National Assembly in six weeks

Who is Shahbaz Sharif?

  1. Mr. Shahbaz Sharif is the Chief Minister of Punjab and the younger brother of Mr. Nawaz Sharif

Here’s how Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s ouster will impact India

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims Level: Not Much

Mains Level: It is important to know the possible effects on Indian Foreign policy after these kind of incidents in the neighbor.



  1. The article is related to the recent ouster of the Pakistan’s PM and its possible effects on India

Why was Nawaz Sharif ousted?

  1. The court ruled that Mr. Sharif was dishonest in failing to disclose in his 2013 election nomination papers his association with a UAE-based company
  2. And therefore was unfit to continue in office

What it means for India?(short run)

  1. For India, it may not mean much in the short term as the Pakistan government has never been free of military interference in its policy towards India
  2. Since the attack on the Indian Army base in Uri last year, India-Pakistan relations have been strained
  3. The Kulbhushan Jadhav case worsened the ties
  4. Therefore, there was little chance of Sharif making any move to improve the ties with India independent of the military

What it means for India?(long run)

  1. It is good for India if Pakistan is demilitarised, as it desists from sending terrorists into the Indian territory
  2. But in the longer term, military dominance in Pakistan is not positive for India
  3. A free hand for military due to the political instability will increase tensions with India
  4. Also, with Sharif’s exit, there is little chance of any strong leader emerging in future

[op-ed snap] General Raheel Sharif begun his farewell calls before his pending retirement

  1. There were speculations about a possible second term of three years for the army chief, with public pressure on PM Sharif to extend his tenure
  2. Appointment system: Pakistan’s PMs have right to “appoint” army chiefs, but do not seem to enjoy the power to “terminate” their services
  3. The civilians have rarely won the battle against the army in Pakistan. That fact makes this exit of General Sharif an important landmark
  4. Effects of this move on India: The on-time retirement of General Sharif will make no difference to the reality of the army’s dominance over the national security politics in Pakistan
  5. Delhi should not rule out change in Pakistan’s civil-military relations and examine if those changes can facilitate a more productive engagement with Islamabad
  6. Delhi’s default position has been to stay away from Pakistan’s internal politics
  7. Some policymakers in Delhi argue that it is not worth supporting the civilian leaders, who have no power to address issues of concern to Delhi such as cross-border terrorism

Pakistan risks relations in South Asia if it keeps blocking SAARC initiatives: Jaishankar

  1. Source: Foreign Secretary S.Jaishankar
  2. What: South Asian nations will begin to look at other “alternatives” if Pakistan continues to “block” SAARC initiatives
  3. He said Pakistan risks relations with other SAARC countries if it doesn’t follow “basic standards of regional cooperation”
  4. Context: Pakistan’s decision to reject MFN status for India as well as India’s proposal for a SAARC motor vehicle agreement
  5. He said SAARC countries could opt for “sub-regional initiatives and will look at other initiatives like Bimstec

Pak. cannot control terrorism on its soil: Shivshankar Menon

  1. Source: Former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon
  2. Views: Pakistan can no longer control terrorism on its soil as terrorism is hard-wired into Pakistan’s society and polity
  3. He said that the likelihood of tactical nuclear weapons being used against India has increased
  4. Reason: There are younger officers in an Army that is increasingly religiously motivated and less and less professional
  5. The Pak army has consistently produced rogue officers and staged coups against its own leaders
  6. This, in turn, means that there is an increased possibility of an all-out nuclear war when India retaliates against tactical nuclear weapons with massive retaliation of its own

Chinese ship opens new trade route via Gwadar port in Pakistan II

  1. China is building a network of roads and power plants under a project known as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
  2. It is expected to absorb $46 billion in Chinese investment in the coming decades
  3. Gwadar port is located on the Arabian Sea and it occupies a strategic location between South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia
  4. The port is also located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, just outside the Straits of Hormuz
  5. China is seeking convenient and reliable access to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean
  6. Chinese ships now use the Strait of Malacca, a narrow passage between the Malay Peninsula and Indonesia
  7. The proposed new route would give China access to the Persian Gulf region and West Asia

Chinese ship opens new trade route via Gwadar port in Pakistan I

  1. Event: The first convoy of Chinese trucks carrying goods for sale abroad has arrived in Pakistan amid tight security
  2. How: It used a road linking Gwadar to China’s Xinjiang region
  3. This opens a new international trade route by seeing off a Chinese ship that’s exporting goods to West Asia and Africa from the newly-built Gwadar port
  4. The port is located in insurgency-hit Balochistan province where an overnight blast at a shrine killed nearly 50 people

After India’s strong statement, World Bank appeals for mediation

  1. Context: Reply to a strong statement from India that the WB, a signatory to the Indus Waters Treaty 1960, was favouring Pakistan by going ahead with an arbitration process
  2. The WB “urged” India and Pakistan to agree to mediation on how to proceed in their dispute over two hydropower dam projects in J&K
  3. According to the WB, it has a strictly procedural role under the Indus Waters Treaty
  4. The treaty does not allow it to choose whether India’s procedure should take precedence over Pakistan’s
  5. A WB official admitted that two parallel processes were “unworkable” in the long run, and therefore mediation was required
  6. The dispute is over the Kishenganga (330 MW) and Ratle (850 MW) hydel plants India is constructing on the Kishenganga and Chenab rivers

India slams World Bank process on Indus Treaty

  1. What: India lashed out at the World Bank over its decision to favour Pakistan on the Indus Water Treaty dispute process
  2. The dispute is over the Kishenganga and Ratle dam and hydropower projects
  3. India had asked for a neutral expert to be appointed over Pakistan’s objections to the projects first
  4. Pakistan appealed directly for a Court of Arbitration (CoA) to be set up as it claims India has violated the 1960 treaty
  5. The WB has begun the process requested by Pakistan under Arbitration Article IX of the Indus Water Treaty rather than India’s appeal for the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC)
  6. Officials said the World Bank’s action of going ahead with Pakistan’s claim had escalated the differences into an international dispute

[op-ed snap] Is New Delhi (ND) reducing itself to a South Asian power? II

  1. Trend of diplomatic efforts: ND’s diplomatic efforts increasingly seem to revolve around Pakistan-backed terrorism
  2. Getting US is not helpful as they unhesitatingly make well-rehearsed statements about terrorism from Pakistan and go back to doing business with Rawalpindi
  3. China’s unwillingness to agree to India’s line on Pakistan-based terror has made Sino-Indian relations thornier than ever
  4. Further damaged Mr. Modi’s global image as a leader focused on governance, trade and growth
  5. Attention has suddenly shifted to self-generated tactical concerns, instead of larger issues such as FDI, global partnerships, institutional reforms, economic diplomacy, etc.
  6. ND has internationalised the Kashmir issue, which it traditionally avoided
  7. ND’s signing of LEMOA is allowing the two militaries to work closely and use each other’s bases for repair and supplies
  8. A clear departure from its traditional policy of not getting into military alliances
  9. India’s interests in the Indian Ocean region should be articulated with more vigour, it should rethink the strategic rationale of its forays into the South China Sea

[op-ed snap] Is New Delhi (ND) reducing itself to a South Asian power? I

  1. Context: ND’s decision to reply to Pakistan by raking up Baluchistan in various global fora demonstrates tactical considerations trump strategic thinking in India
  2. Early objectives of this government: Neighborhood first, selling India’s growth story globally, and getting Sino-Indian relations on track- all these lay in tatters
  3. Reason: Foreign policy without a grand strategic blueprint
  4. Result: Reduced to the little box- South Asia because of our never-ending battle with Pakistan
  5. ND’s new-found outrage about human rights violations in Baluchistan is suggestive of misplaced priorities. It is a sheer waste of India’s limited diplomatic energy, owing to shortage of diplomats in MEA
  6. Increasing Sino-Indian disaffection prompts Beijing to confine India further

[op-ed snap] Civilians on LOC and border caught in cross fire

  1. Context: Ceasefire violations have become a daily occurrence since the terrorist attack on the Army camp in Uri in September and the subsequent “surgical strikes” by the Army.
  2. Since then there have been 60 ceasefire violations.
  3. Indians suffering more: The density of civilian settlement is much higher on the Indian side in comparison to Pakistan’s. As a result, the increased firing across the border creates more pressure on India.
  4. Hundreds have been shifted to shelters and bunkers for safety.
  5. Post 2003 ceasefire agreement: After the two countries agreed to a ceasefire in 2003, the resultant calm had won the confidence of local residents.
  6. Villagers began farming right up to the fence, tourism picked up, and even informal border trade increased.
  7. Present situation: After the surgical strikes, the security forces retain a free hand in responding to infiltrations and instances of firing.
  8. Government response: No senior government functionary has publicly addressed the issue.

ADB declines to fund big dam project in PoK

  1. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has refused to commit funds for Pakistan’s $14 billion dam project on the Indus in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)
  2. Two years ago the World Bank declined to fund the project following Islamabad’s refusal to seek an NoC from India

Arrest of staffer violates Vienna Convention, says Pakistan

  1. Issue: Pakistan on Thursday accused India of violating the international convention for protection of diplomats, under the 1961 Vienna convention
  2. Why: After New Delhi briefly detained a staffer of the Pakistan High Commission
  3. The staffer has been declared a persona non-grata and has been asked to leave India within 48 hours
  4. Context: Heightened tension along the International Border between India and Pakistan

BSF Jawan killed in cross-fire in Jammu

  1. What: Another BSF Head Constable was killed in cross-border firing from Pakistan
  2. Where: In Jammu’s Abdullian district
  3. This is the third death of a BSF personnel along the Pakistan border in Jammu in the past one week
  4. The 192-Km long International Border that runs along Jammu has seen ceasefire violations since October 19
  5. Reason: BSF personnel pushed back four terrorists who were trying to infiltrate from the Hiranagar sector

Pakistan claims OIC backing on Kashmir

  1. Pakistan has said the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) has backed its stance over Kashmir by adopting a resolution upholding Kashmiris’ right to self-determination
  2. The grouping reaffirmed its unwavering support to the just cause of Kashmiri people

No ‘blanket ban’ on Pak artists in India

  1. Source: Ministry of External Affairs
  2. The MEA declared that there is no blanket ban on Pakistani artists and they remain free to perform in the Indian entertainment industry
  3. Context: Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have been campaigning to stop release of films featuring Pakistani artists due to India-Pakistan tensions
  4. Context: A ban on Indian TV and radio channels in Pakistan was declared by the Chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA)

Cross-LoC strikes not new: Jaishankar

  1. Foreign Secretary Jaishankar: Army had carried out “target-specific, limited-calibre, counter-terrorist operations” across the LoC in the past too
  2. He also said that this is the first time the government has gone public about such strikes
  3. The Foreign Secretary gave these remarks to the Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs
  4. Fallout: These remarks contradict Defense Minister Parrikar’s claims that these were the first surgical strikes

Things changing after Modi highlighted Baloch plight

  1. What? Things are changing rapidly at the international level since Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the plight of the people of troubled Balochistan province in Pakistan
  2. Other countries are coming forward to support the Balochistan issue
  3. The Baloch cause for freedom has received a major diplomatic push
  4. Who said it? Baloch nationalist leader Naela Quadri Baloch

India cannot unilaterally revoke or alter Indus Treaty: Pakistan

  1. Pak: The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) is not time-barred and was never intended to be time or event-specific
  2. It is binding on both India and Pakistan and has no exit provision
  3. According to the sub-provisions (3) and (4) of Article XII of the IWT, the treaty cannot be altered or revoked unilaterally
  4. India: There are differences on the treaty.
  5. For any such treaty to work, it is important there must be mutual trust and cooperation
  6. It can’t be a one-sided affair

Indo-Pak border to be sealed by 2018: Rajnath

  1. India will completely seal the border with Pakistan by December 2018 by using all effective means including technological solutions
  2. A proper monitoring mechanism would be in place at the central and state government levels for it
  3. Govt also mooted setting up a border security grid for which suggestions have been invited from all the concerned stakeholders including the States which share border with Pakistan

Security Council not discussing India-Pak issue

  1. UNSC Prez: The United Nations Security Council is not discussing the issues between India and Pakistan and has no plans to do so
  2. Pakistan: Has been trying to ensure U.N. involvement in the situation
  3. Nawaz Sharif had raised the issue of human rights violations by India in Jammu and Kashmir in the General Assembly, but no other country has mentioned it

Costs of Non-Cooperation- what does it mean?

  1. It occurs when a country imports from the global market at prices higher than the price at which the same product is available from the regional market
  2. And thereby it incurs an additional foreign exchange expenditure on such imports

Pak. loses $7 bn. by avoiding India goods

  1. Source: ‘Costs of Non-Cooperation’ study by Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS)
  2. Findings: Pakistan suffered a loss of about $7 billion in 2014 by importing items from other countries at a higher cost instead of sourcing them from India
  3. The loss is substantial considering Pakistan’s GDP (nominal, 2015) is only about $270 billion
  4. Many products that Pakistan imported from third countries were at least three times more costly than the price of the same item from India in export markets
  5. Lessons for Pak: The objective of the study is to show Pakistan that they can save on the foreign exchange front if they cooperate in South Asia
  6. Pak’s trade scenario: It is a net-importing nation with a trade deficit of $22 billion in 2015
  7. In 2015, it imported around $44 billion, while it exported only items worth $22 billion

[op-ed snap] To revive an old friendship Part 2

  1. The way ahead for India-Russia relations: India needs to rebuild on its strengths and common concerns with Russians e.g. : Need to converge strategies on terrorism, Need to maintain a balancing act between USA and Russia, Need to revive and deepen India-Russia economic, scientific and technological ties, trying for an RIC (Russia, India, China) alliance, leveraging India-Russia ties to isolate Pakistan.
  2. Need to converge strategies on terrorism: India and Russia need to converge their strategies vis-à-vis terrorism in West Asia and Afghanistan and also revitalize the previous India-Russia agreement on intelligence sharing.
  3. Need to maintain a balancing act between USA and Russia: India needs to reassure Russia that India-US relations will not jeopardise Russian interests. India could also consider concluding similar military exercises and logistics agreements with Russia as it has with the US..
  4. Need to revive and deepen India-Russian economic, scientific and technological ties: India needs a continuous engagement and follow-up plan to deepen its scientific and technological relations with Russia eg investments in the oil and gas sector and Joint manufacturing facilities.
  5. Trying for an RIC (Russia, India, China) alliance: India should overcome contradictions with China and build an RIC alliance as suggested by Russia. Russia has its own concerns with China’s increasing international prominence.
  6. This forum can help in effective resolution of mutual concerns.
  7. Leveraging India-Russia ties to isolate Pakistan: The U.S. will always have a dual approach to India and Pakistan, because it needs both. Russia, on the other hand, will not which could be leveraged by India to isolate Pakistan.

Have Pakistan and India accorded MFN status to each other?

  1. The MFN status was accorded to Pakistan in 1996 as per India’s commitments as a WTO member
  2. But Pakistan has not reciprocated
  3. Why? It has cited non-tariff barriers erected by India as well as huge trade imbalance
  4. WTO’s report on the Trade Policy Review of Pakistan (in 2015): Pakistan is in the process of offering India Non-Discriminatory Market Access (similar to MFN)

Pakistan’s contribution to trade

  1. According to Assocham, out of India’s total merchandise trade of USD 641 billion in 2015-16, Pakistan accounted for a meagre USD 2.67 billion
  2. India’s exports to Pakistan worked out to USD 2.17 billion, or 0.83%, of the total Indian outward shipments while imports are 0.13%, of the total inward shipments

India to review MFN status to Pakistan

  1. What? India will review the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status given to Pakistan at a meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
  2. Context: The decision comes in the wake of the Uri attack
  3. Background: The MFN status was accorded in 1996 under the WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
  4. Both India and Pakistan are signatories to the agreement, according to which they have to treat each other and rest of WTO member countries as favoured trading partners
  5. Indus treaty: PM Modi chaired a review meeting of the Indus Water Treaty, during which it was decided that India will exploit to the maximum the water of Pakistan-controlled rivers, including Jhelum, as per the water sharing pact

Is there a dispute over Indus?

  1. India & Pakistan have been managing to share the waters without major dispute
  2. However, the agreement is one of the most lop-sided with India being allowed to use only 20% of the six-river Indus water system
  3. Pakistan itself in July this year sought an international arbitration if India sought to build hydro power projects on the Jhelum and Chenab rivers
  4. Though the agreement has been seen as one of the most successful water-sharing pacts, the current tension might well lead to a flashpoint
  5. Strategic affairs and security experts say that future wars could well be fought over water

10 things you need to know about Indus Water Treaty

  1. The Indus Waters Treaty was signed on September 19, 1960 by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan’s President Ayub Khan
  2. It was brokered by the World Bank
  3. The treaty administers how river Indus and its tributaries that flow in both the countries will be utilised
  4. According to the treaty, Beas, Ravi and Sutlej are to be governed by India, while, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum are to be taken care by Pakistan.
  5. However, since Indus flows from India, the country is allowed to use 20% of its water for irrigation, power generation and transport purposes
  6. A Permanent Indus Commission was set up as a bilateral commission to implement and manage the Treaty & it solves disputes arising over water sharing
  7. The Treaty also provides arbitration mechanism to solve disputes amicably
  8. Chinese angle: Though Indus originates from Tibet, China has been kept out of the Treaty; if China decides to stop or change the flow of the river, it will affect both India and Pakistan
  9. Climate change is causing melting of ice in Tibetan plateau, which scientists believe will affect the river in future
  10. It may be noted that both India and Pakistan are still at loggerheads over various issues since Partition, but there has been no fight over water after the Treaty was ratified

PM to review Indus Waters Treaty today

  1. Context: The terror attack on an Army camp in Uri, Kashmir
  2. PM Modi is expected to chair a meeting on the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)
  3. An indication that the Govt is weighing extreme diplomatic actions against Pakistan
  4. Background: SC recently refused to grant an urgent hearing on a PIL seeking declaration of the IWT as unconstitutional
  5. Petitioner: The treaty was unconstitutional as it was not signed as per the constitutional scheme and hence should be declared void ab initio

Pakistan and terrorism in SAARC context

  1. Pakistan is isolated within SAARC, as three members of the regional group have accused it of sponsoring terrorism
  2. Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India have accused Islamabad of sponsoring terrorism that ISI continues to generate, irrespective of the condition of the bilateral ties with India
  3. Such attacks take place irrespective of the ties being temporarily good or continuously bad
  4. A response therefore has to be forcefully enunciated to Pakistan

India driven to the wall, must mount response: diplomats

  1. Context: The attack in Uri, close to the Line of Control (LoC), in which 17 Indian soldiers were killed
  2. India has a wide range of options for a measured and effective response to the attack in Uri, according to veteran diplomats and experts
  3. India can consider a mix of diplomatic and multilateral response
  4. A major challenge in crafting a suitable response to Pakistan was its ability to use its nuclear umbrella as a shield for unconventional warfare with India
  5. However, India could engage the Pakistan military in response for Uri without triggering a war

India raises Balochistan at UN; hits out at Pakistan

  1. News: Raising the issue of Balochistan for the first time before the U.N., India accused Pakistan of widespread human rights violations there as well as in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)
  2. The main reason for disturbances in Kashmir is the cross-border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan
  3. It stems from its territorial ambitions over the place that has found concrete expression in repeated armed aggressions
  4. Pak’s dismal record: Many countries have repeatedly called upon Pakistan to end cross- border infiltration; dismantle the terrorism infrastructure; and stop acting as an epicentre of terrorism
  5. India’s credentials: A peaceful, democratic, pluralistic society that is deeply committed to the welfare of its people are well established
  6. The high number of causalities sustained by Indian security forces is a reflection of the tremendous restraint they have displayed in difficult circumstances
  7. J&K is an integral part of India and will always remain so & we reject attempts by Pakistan to denigrate the democratic choice that has been regularly exercised by the people of J&K

Pakistan govt under fire for hiding details of Pathankot probe

  1. Pakistan Govt has come under fire from the opposition which accused it of hiding the details of the probe into Pakistani nationals’ involvement in the Pathankot terror attack
  2. It has prompted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to announce that the findings would be made public
  3. The opposition went to the extent of alleging that the government was patronising militants
  4. Pak Govt: The National Action Plan is being implemented and the terrorist incidents, on average, have come down due to that

India willing to talk to Pakistan on terror, not Kashmir

  1. News: Lobbing the ball for dialogue back into Pakistan’s court, India said that it is willing to discuss cross-border terror in Kashmir, but not to discuss Kashmir itself, as Pakistan had proposed
  2. Reason: Since aspects related to cross-border terrorism are central to the current situation in J&K, India has proposed that discussions be focussed on them
  3. Also, despite a great effort to reach out to Pakistan, India has faced several terror attacks which have made the relationship difficult to grow

Pakistan for mutual ban on nuclear tests

  1. Pakistan: Hopeful of a bilateral agreement with India over a mutual ban on non-testing of atomic weapons that will ease the entry of the two countries into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
  2. An offer regarding non-testing of nuclear weapons agreement has already been made but the proposal did not elicit a favourable response from India
  3. Had proposed to India a simultaneous adherence to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty following the 1998 nuclear tests by both countries

Pakistan invites India for talks on Kashmir dispute

  1. Pak: It is the international obligation of both the countries to resolve the issue, notwithstanding India’s insistence that it would talk on contemporary and relevant issues in Indo-Pak relations
  2. Context: The invitation was extended amid tension in bilateral ties due to the war of words between the two nations over the Kashmir issue
  3. Background: Union Home Minister addressed Parliament on the Kashmir issue and said that India was willing to discuss only Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) with Pakistan, and that the question of discussing Jammu and Kashmir with Islamabad just did not arise
  4. India also virtually turned down Pakistan’s proposal that it would invite India for a dialogue on J&K and made it clear that it would talk on contemporary and relevant issues in Indo-Pak relations

Earlier PCA issue regarding Kishanganga

  1. The almost complete 330MW hydro power project on the Kishanganga River, a tributary of the Jhelum, has been in the centre of India-Pakistan water dispute recently
  2. The waters for the dam on the Kishanganga River (also called Neelum in Pakistan-administered Kashmir) would be diverted through a tunnel for power production
  3. The rest of the water flow is supposed to join the Wullar Lake and will ultimately run through Jhelum to Muzaffarabad (in Pakistan-administered Kashmir) – dodging the 213km long Neelum
  4. Pakistan is also building its own Neelum-Jhelum Hydro-Electric Project (NJHEP) on the Neelum river
  5. 2013 judgment: The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) had decided that India should release a minimum flow of 9 cumecs (cubic meters per second) into the river below the project at all times

Indus Waters Treaty

  1. The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank in 1960
  2. The treaty was a result of Pakistan’s fear that India could potentially create droughts and famines in Pakistan, especially at times of war – since the source rivers of the Indus basin were in India
  3. Under the treaty, India would control the 3 ‘eastern’ rivers – the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej and Pakistan would control the 3 ‘western’ rivers – the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum
  4. Since the ratification of the treaty, India and Pakistan have tried to settle most disagreements via legal procedures within the framework of the treaty
  5. Uncertain future: There is doubt whether IWT can address India’s mounting use of the waters for hydroelectricity and Pakistan’s growing need of the same waters for agriculture
  6. India began building major hydropower projects in Kashmir in 1970s and now has 33 projects at various stages of completion on the rivers in Kashmir

Pakistan to take river dispute back to international court

  1. News: Pakistan has decided to return to an international tribunal – Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), The Hague – to settle a dispute with India
  2. The dispute is over sharing waters of the Kishenganga and Ratle river projects
  3. India’s stand: Pakistan is violating provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), 1960, in rushing to a third forum – the PCA – without attempting to avail Treaty provisions in resolving the above matters
  4. Background: Pakistan’s previous attempt at the PCA had backfired as the PCA had given a verdict defending India’s right to divert water of Kishenganga
  5. The PCA had also quashed Pakistan’s argument that India’s hydro electricity power plans on the Kishenganga reduced flow of water for Neelum Jhelum Hydro Electricity Project (NJHEP)
  6. Pakistan’s stand: Unlike the previous arbitration at the PCA, Pakistan will take up the issue of “design” of the Kishenganga and Ratle river projects in Kashmir

J&K violence a matter of grave concern: US

  1. News: The US has been in touch with both India and Pakistan on the volatile situation in Jammu and Kashmir this week, a State Department spokesperson said
  2. The death of protestors in the State was a matter of ‘grave concern’ for US
  3. US is also clear with the Government of Pakistan that they must target and root out all extremist and militant groups

US calls for dialogue on the Kashmir issue

  1. News: The US has called for dialogue between India, Pakistan and Kashmir on the conflict in the valley
  2. India hit back at Pakistan at a UN conference on human rights, after the latter raised the situation in Jammu and Kashmir
  3. Terming Pakistan’s attempt a ‘misuse’ of the forum, India reminded the world body that Pakistan has been shielding designated terrorists on its territory

What is UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP)?

  1. UNMOGIP monitors the situation in Kashmir however India does not recognise the UNMOGIP’s mandate
  2. It began operations in 1949 & has personnel from 10 countries comprising 44 military members and 72 civilian staff
  3. India maintains that the UNMOGIP has been made irrelevant by the 1972 Simla Agreement between Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
  4. The Shimla Agreement recognises the Kashmir dispute as a bilateral issue
  5. In 2014, India asked the UNMOGIP to leave the government building it had provided the mission
  6. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on the other hand, has called for an expansion of the UNMOGIP
  7. And Pakistan continues to file complaints with it about alleged Indian ceasefire violations

Swedish general appointed to head UN India Pakistan military observers

  1. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has appointed Swedish Major General Per Lodin to head the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP)
  2. He is to succeed Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi of Ghana, who is completing his two-year assignment in July
  3. Lodin is currently the head of Strategic Material Management at Forsvarets materielverk (FMV), the Swedish defence ministry’s procurement and logistics arm
  4. He had earlier served as the head of the task force centre of Kosovo Force (KFOR), the multi-national peacekeeping mission led by NATO in 2006-2007

Pak needlessly internationalising Kashmir: India

  1. India: Kashmir issue is not the main cause of tension but externally sponsored terrorism is the central issue
  2. Pak needs to end its illegal occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir and stop interfering in India’s internal matters
  3. India completely rejected the insinuations by the vested interests against India which has rightful sovereignty over the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir

The financing issue of US-Pak deal

  1. US Subsidy: Initially, the $700 million deal for eight F-16 multi-role fighters, was to be partially financed through the U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programme
  2. However, the Congress disallowed subsidising the sale
  3. Why? Concern that Pakistan had not done enough to end the dreaded Haqqani network’s terror sanctuaries on its soil as well as fears over its nuclear programme
  4. Pakistan was subsequently asked by the U.S. administration to make the full payment for the eight aircraft from its national resources
  5. However, Pakistani authorities were adamant that the offer must come without any preconditions

India to expedite visa process for Pakistani citizens

  1. Context: India has decided to make visa process faster than earlier
  2. Reason: Many complaints received from Pakistani visitors that entire process of visa is too lengthy and cumbersome
  3. Huge demand of visas from Pakistani visitors and verification takes months to clear them
  4. The pending applications will be processed quickly but it will not be relaxing the norms for Pakistani visitors

India, Pakistan fail to break deadlock on talks

  1. Context: India-Pak bilateral talks on sidelines of the Heart of Asia summit
  2. Output: Both sides failed to make headway on the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue, trading allegations
  3. India: Pakistan cannot deny the impact of terrorism on bilateral relationship
  4. Terrorist groups based in Pakistan targeting India must not be allowed to operate with impunity
  5. Pakistan: Indian intelligence agencies are responsible for the unrest in Balochistan

India for better ties with Pakistan

  1. Context: Home Minister Rajanth Singh replying to a question pertaining to a video
  2. Video: People in large numbers in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) are seen protesting against the Pakistani establishment and demanding freedom
  3. What he said? India & Pak, both are sovereign countries & India has been consistently trying to improve its ties with Pakistan
  4. However, if anyone raised questions over India’s sovereignty and self-respect, it would not be tolerated

Info from Pakistan helped NIA identify Pathankot attackers

  1. Context: Information received from anonymous individuals in Pakistan was crucial in identifying four Pakistan terrorists who stormed Pathankot airbase
  2. How? Photos of the slain Pathankot terrorists were put up on the NIA website
  3. The NIA had published the photographs of the deceased terrorists on its website last month, inviting information from public
  4. NIA received a number of anonymous messages from countries, including Pakistan
  5. It helped them get additional information about the identity of the four terrorists killed at the Pathankot

JIT visit took place in cooperative spirit: Pakistan

  1. Context: Pakistani media reports which claimed that the JIT had drawn a blank in India
  2. News: Pak foreign ministry statement that The visit of the JIT to India took place in the context of the cooperative approach being pursued by the Pakistan government as part of its commitment to effectively fight terrorism in all its forms
  3. Doublespeak: statement that the JIT was denied access to security officers who were eyewitnesses to the Pathankot airbase attack
  4. Importance: ininvestigation is now being seen as a key indicator of whether a more restrained and cooperative approach to handling terror will yield results not seen before

Pakistan’s probe team will get access to Pathankot airbase

  1. News: National Investigation Agency (NIA) would be coordinating the visit of the Pakistan team
  2. Context: Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team(JIT) was expected to visit the Pathankot airbase on March 29 and would be flown there in a helicopter belonging to BSF
  3. JIT includes: Pak Intelligence Bureau, military intelligence and the ISI
  4. Support: Govt has decided to be transparent about the Pakistan’s team visit here and have asked the NIA to share as many details as possible with the media

U.S. considers re-merger of India, Pakistan desks

De-hyphenating policy started by the U.S. under President Bush, but sealed by the Obama administration, of dealing with India and Pakistan, without referring to their bilateral relations.

  1. 7 years after the State Department was restructured to ‘de-hyphenate’ U.S. relations with India and with Pakistan, it is considering a reversal of the move.
  2. It enabled the U.S. to build closer military and strategic ties with India without factoring in the reaction from Pakistan.
  3. To continue its own strategy in Afghanistan with the help of the Pakistan military without referring back to India.
  4. A proposal to re-merge the office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) back with the Bureau of South and Central Asia (SCA) that handles India.
  5. U.S. involvement as a “third party” in talks with Pakistan, which would become the case if special representatives would travel between Delhi and Islamabad regularly.

Stay the course, U.S urges India, Pakistan

Sources indicated that U.S officials have been in touch with India and Pakistan over the weekend, but did not elaborate.

  1. U.S urged on improving bilateral relation in the wake of the latest terror strikes on two Indian targets.
  2. The Pathankot air force base and the Indian consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan.
  3. Strongly encouraged the governments of both India and Pakistan to remain steadfast in their commitment to a more secure and prosperous future for both their countries and for the region.
  4. The U.S is relieved that responses from both India and Pakistan after the terror strikes do not signal any immediate risk of relapse into hostilities in South Asia.

PM goes to Lahore, makes a Christmas date with history

With two unannounced stops, in Kabul and Lahore on Christmas day, Prime Minister Modi rewrote the recent history of geopolitics in the region.

  1. PM Sharif welcomed PM Modi and said it is important that the two countries seize the moment and build a prosperous future.
  2. Mr. Modi’s visit to Lahore drew comparisons with Atal Behari Vajpayee’s visit in 1999.
  3. The meeting is a good example of summit diplomacy and both Prime Ministers should from now on steer the diplomatic talks.
  4. India’s presence in Afghanistan has always been viewed with suspicion, and the absence of any negative comments in Pakistan was significant.

India, Pakistan have shown great maturity to re-engage: J&K CM

Lauding the resumption of India-Pakistan dialogue, Jammu and Kashmir CM has called for a long-term strategic partnership between the two neighbouring countries.

  1. It has generated hope and expectation among the people of J&K, who have for long yearned for peace and stability in the region.
  2. People of Jammu and Kashmir are direct beneficiaries of friendly and peaceful relations between the two neighbours.
  3. Our responsibility is to sustain the trust and confidence that people continue to repose in us, he said.
  4. It was important to obtain feedback to make a reality check vis-a-vis performance of the government.

7 years after 26/11, India and Pakistan resume dialogue

The talks will be called Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue; Pakistan assures early completion of the Mumbai terror attacks trial.

  1. The structured dialogue process significant as the resumption of dialogue comes at the time of the 30th anniversary of the SAARC.
  2. The India-Pakistan Composite Dialogue is rooted in the 1997 SAARC Summit at Male where PM I.K. Gujral and Mr. Sharif agreed to create a Composite Dialogue Process (CDP).
  3. The CDP survived till 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai led to its suspension.
  4. Now, 10-point Comprehensive Dialogue Process replaces Composite Dialogue Process of eight issues.

10-Point Comprehensive Dialogue Process includes –

  • Peace and Security, confidence building measures
  • J&K, Siachen, Sir Creek
  • Wullar barrage/ Tulbul project
  • Economic and commercial cooperation
  • Counter-terrorism, narcotics control
  • Humanitarian issues
  • People-to-people exchanges
  • Religious tourism

Deadlock in India-Pakistan ties partly ends: Aziz

  1. Sushma Swaraj will visit Pakistan for a conference on Afghanistan.
  2. The discussions can range from enhancing trade ties and liberalising the visa regime.
  3. The Heart of Asia conference was an opportunity to take the situation forward, in this environment of hostility.
  4. In 2016, there would be more opportunities for high-level engagements, as India will host the Heart of Asia conference , and Pakistan will host the SAARC summit.

India, Pakistan NSAs meet in Bangkok

The two Prime Ministers had a brief but close chat on November 30 in Paris where they had gone to attend the climate summit.

  1. The MEA said the discussions covered, “peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, and other issues, including tranquillity along the LoC.”
  2. Some of the details of the Bangkok dialogue were ironed out between the existing channels of communication between the NSA and Pakistan High Commissioner to India.
  3. The newfound bonhomie between Delhi and Islamabad has also raised hopes from the cricket authorities over the possibility of a series to be played between India and Pakistan.

India against infrastructure projects in PoK: MEA

  1. With the US expressing support to Pakistan’s efforts to arrange funds for the Diamer Bhasha dam in Gilgit-Baltistan, India raises a RED FLAG!
  2. The 4,500-mega watt dam project has been unable to make any headway for want of funds.
  3. India also expressed its reservation on US’ supply of F-16 Fighter Jets.

Mainstreaming a nuclear Pakistan

It is in India’s interest to ensure that Pakistan’s nukes are under international supervision

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) poses with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during their meeting in New York on September 27, 2015.

Simply put, what is Nuclear Deal ?

A nuclear deal is primarily about undertaking responsibilities and the constant demonstration of good behaviour in exchange for an ability to engage in nuclear commerce and energy production.

What should New Delhi’s response be to a potential nuclear deal between US and Pakistan ?

  • The NSG has been organising outreach meetings with Pakistan regarding nuclear exports for sometime now.
  • Pakistan has reached out to the international community to help end its status as a nuclear outcast and to be treated on par with India.
  • At the Hague Nuclear Security Summit in March 2014, PM Nawaz Sharif called for “Pakistan’s inclusion in all international export control regimes, especially the Nuclear Suppliers Group.”
  • Pakistan also holds the key to the commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) at the Conference on Disarmament.

With Strong Chinese support to Pak

  • China, whose consent is necessary for admitting new members to the NSG, has consistently supported Pakistan’s entry into the NSG.
  • The Chinese willingness today to consider membership for both India and Pakistan will influence the thinking in Washington and key Western capitals.

Critics of the U.S.-Pakistan Nuke deal

  • Firstly, Pakistan has a terrible track record of nuclear proliferation and that a nuclear deal would be seen as rewarding such irresponsible behaviour.
  • Two, it would enable Pakistan to enhance its nuclear arsenal which, is directed against India, making the latter more insecure.
  • Third, U.S.-Pakistan nuclear deal will hyphenate India and Pakistan once again in the international discourse, something New Delhi viscerally detests.

Four sets of reasons why a ‘conditional nuclear deal’, in India’s national interest.

  • First of all, Pakistan’s admission to the global nuclear order is good news for the international non-proliferation regime.
  • Second, It is better for the international community to be in the know of Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
  • More importantly, It will bring the Sino-Pak. nuclear relations under international scrutiny.
  • Third, if India’s experience of inking the nuclear deal with the U.S. and other states, signing the India-specific Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, the road to nuclear normalcy is not going to be a smooth one for Islamabad.

Pakistan should meet conditions

  • For one, Separation of its civilian and military facilities, leading to a less feverish production of fissile material by Pakistan, thereby producing fewer nuclear warheads.
  • Second, some restrictions on its weapons programme, materially and doctrinally.
  • Third, Pakistan will have to give up its opposition to FMCT negotiations as a precondition for the deal.

What about India’s National Security Interest ?

A U.S.-Pakistan civilian nuclear deal will make absolutely no difference to India’s national security interests.

We must, ask the U.S. and other stakeholders to press Islamabad to stop stalling the FMCT negotiations, and agree to a nuclear ‘No-first-use’ agreement with India, which is already part of the Indian doctrine.

India should insist that Pakistan, as part of the deal, should be asked to negotiate nuclear confidence building measures (CBMs) with India without linking them to conventional arms control.

:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.

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