Is putting pre-condition for India-Pak talks ‘not a wise choice’?

Is putting pre-condition for India-Pak talks ‘not a wise choice’?

Agency News

Beijing, Sep 1 : Visiting parts of China, including the national capital Beijing and the idyllic industrial hub would generally give an Indian the impression that at various levels, Chinese establishment and common people are in favour of good relations with India.

When it comes to controversial issues, those in the establishment are taking keen interest to developments in Jammu and Kashmir and the latest stance taken by the Modi Government. China is keen that from the regional security point of view, the 'problems' between India and Pakistan should be resolved 'bilaterally'. And in this context, the line they seemed to have taken is -- “it is not a wise choice to put pre-condition to dialogue”.

The Chinese officials appreciate the fact in more ways than one that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the President Xi Jinping have established strong personal rapport and this is coming handy in dealing with strategic and diplomatic matters between the two countries. Thus, for obvious reasons much is being expected from the forthcoming Xi Jinping-Modi informal summit.

The first such unique bilateral summit at Wuhan in April 2018 had gone down well and like the Indian side – the Chinese side also believes that the parleys between two leaders in 2018 could 'bring back' Indian diplomatic relations with China ‘back to normal’. The reference is obviously to the Doklam conflict of 2017 and it may be relevant to point out that former External Affairs Minister of India – Sushma Swaraj (now deceased) – had said that both sides could resolve the dispute by ‘matured diplomacy’.

Similarly, on the Chinese side; the refrain is now the ‘hope’ about ‘forward’ movement in trade talks as the big trade imbalance can be addressed. Therefore, it is not without good reason it has been suggested from the Chinese side that both sides during the second informal summit at Varanasi in October, both sides would work for deeper cooperation in manufacturing, investment, and in communication.

“We are expecting more from India including trade on agricultural products,” one informed source said. Terror Menace : However, when it comes to issues like Jammu and Kashmir vis-a-vis Pakistan; China and India still have big difference and most of it could be due to the reasons of ‘understanding’ of the subjects. While from time to time, it has been made clear that India and Indian people have high expectations from China when it comes to issues like terror; policy makers and others in China have thought of equating both India and Pakistan on the same page.

“Like in India, Pakistan too has suffered from terrorism....,” was the refrain from one security analyst in Beijing. This school of thought thus implies that India-Pakistan dialogues should happen without any pre-condition. This essentially is against Indian government’s firm stance that terror and talks cannot go together.

In fact, umpteen times, India has made it clear to Pakistan that talks can happen only if the establishment in that country can take a firm stand to dismantle terror hideouts and also that Islamabad should give up a mere lip-service policy towards fighting terror. Even on Afghanistan situation, a section of Chinese apparently is more than convinced that Pakistan also suffered the adverse fallout of terrorism and the situation in Afghanistan.

“We cannot simplify and say they got the benefits of the situation in Afghanistan...,” is one refrain. Another section – which appears to be more sympathetic to Pakistan - would say ‘Islamabad also shouldered heavy burden’ of terrorism.

On this issue, can Pakistan be trusted with the responsibility that it will fight terrorism and dismantle all terror hideouts; there is a section of Chinese analysts who believe – “at present” top Pakistani political and military leadership wants to fight the terror menace sincerely. (UNI)