Modi’s change of heart?
Since the decision of Kartarpur Corridor, politicians in both nations are scrambling to claim credit. Surprisingly. even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has compared the development to the fall of the Berlin Wall to stress on the magnitude of the decision, hoping that it will bridge the gap. However, it is surprising to hear Modi talk about peace. India, of late, has adopted a line about its relationship with Pakistan that seems to originate in Washington DC. Many new governments come to power in Islamabad and want to improve relations with India but then soon face realities and difficulties. It was certain that the Modi government was not interested, as meetings were called off on more than one occasion. Hence, this sudden change of heart, opens door for skepticism.
The BJP government has been weaving an anti-Muslim movement in India. The ban on beef, removal of Taj Mahal from tourist pamphlets and removing all Muslim heroes from textbook. Regarding Modi’s policy for Pakistan, he has started a proxy war of terrorism inside Pakistan financially supporting the separatist movement in Balochistan and trying to destroy its economy. Moreover, Modi has stopped water supply of Pakistan, necessary for its agriculture and has further threatened and vowed to convert Pakistan into a desert, which is a very dangerous step. Now as he extends a hand of friendship, the government of Pakistan should remember that no government of India shall ever have the political will or dare to solve the core issue of Kashmir with Pakistan. However, it appears that Modi sees some advantage in improving ties with Pakistan, but we need to be careful.
Next week, Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to open the Kartarpur Sahib border crossing. The opening must be seen as one of the first Pakistani steps the prime minister promised to normalize relations with India despite Delhi’s harder-than-desired attitude. Elements within Indian establishment and the ruling party would be tempted to paint it as a Pakistani effort to forge new alliances within the Indian Punjab to rekindle the Sikh struggle for an independent Khalistan. The area’s proximity to the Indian-held Kashmir could be used to discredit Pakistan’s earnest move too.
But India must reciprocate the Pakistani initiative with an open mind so that fostering peace could be given a boost and living conditions could be improved for religious minorities in South Asia. The best way for India to respond to PM Khan’s proposition would be the presence of Prime Minister Modi in the event. His attendance, though highly unlikely, will not only give a much-needed boost to the frosty relations between Islamabad and Delhi but will also solidify his sudden change of heart.