And the day after
Reports of Pakistani and Indian ambassadors resuming their duties in each other’s countries are definitely far more welcome than headlines about bombs dropping and planes crashing. A thaw, then, is already in effect. That is not to say, of course, that things will be nice and normal from here; just that the worst is, hopefully, now behind us. It has also become quite clear eventually that initial concerns of the international community not taking too much interest in the showdown were misplaced. There weren’t too many high level visits like other flash points, especially from the US and UK, but there was a lot of behind-the-scenes pressure. And everybody from the Chinese, Saudis, Americans, and Europeans were playing their part.
Now that diplomatic relations are re-established, it is only a matter of time when the military link – weekly hotline contact between the DGMOs, which was suspended as Pulwama spiraled out of control – is also up and running again. But what then? There’s no way, surely, that things can simply revert to how they were before the escalation. And since a lot of international attention has now come to focus on Kashmir, just why the issue remains so explosive will also come under wider discussion.
This is a good moment for Pakistan to bring more forceful foreign focus on Kashmir, especially at the UN. New Delhi’s designs to isolate Pakistan have clearly backfired. Nobody wants nuclear war and everybody understands now that this wound, if left festering, can push the subcontinent to just that – assured destruction. There is also a growing realisation that the Indian occupation and brutality are the driving forces behind the Valley’s uprising. So far the PTI government has handled the fallout of the Pulwama incident very well. But the coming days will put its diplomatic skills to tougher tests. So far, it has managed to take the initiative.