Modi's muscle strains Indo-Pak talks
By Arman Sidhu
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is less than 100 days into his administration but has already exposed to the world his displeasure with the Pakistani government's war by proxy, which the previous Congress-led government had not condemned outright.
Modi, speaking to a crowd filled with stationed troops in Leh, the strategic district in the historically disputed Jammu and Kashmir region, this week noted his discontent with Pakistan's practice of training and shipping militants to incite violence in the area. While Pakistan has fervently and consistently denied the allegations, the onslaught of violence in Kashmir has frustrated the Indian
government, especially due to the ancillary relations between Western powers and Pakistan.
Yet, the rhetoric, while easily justifiable and well-supported with evidence, is a stark contrast to the inception of Modi's reign, which included a historically significant invitation to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for Modi's inauguration. As the former Chief Minister of Guaranty, Modi's track record of violence against Muslims in his state left speculation as to how Pakistan would respond to the nationalistic and aggressive persona that encapsulates Modi and much of his ideology. With some anticipating possible strengthening ties through economic trade, the evidence from previous Bharatiya Janata Party-led governments have shown that both countries more often than not collapse in their pursuits to repair the damage that has accumulated over the years between the two nations.
With recent increases in worldwide coverage of newer militant Islamic movements, India's fear of a growing resistance from Kashmiri terrorist organizations shouldn't come as a surprise. Talks between Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries that were scheduled to be held in late August and hosted by New Delhi were called off for the very same reason, as a top Pakistani diplomat's decision to meet with an infamous Kashmiri separatist leader was deemed irresponsible and irrefutable.
Known as the Hurriyat Conference, the separatist group in question is a coalition of over 20 different groups in Kashmir, whose chief aim is to liberate and claim international recognition of the right to decide for Kashmir's future. Uniting leaders in the religious, social, and political domains of Kashmir, its list of members and allied groups includes former terrorist groups with prior linkage to less peaceful organizations such as Azad Kashmir and training supplied by the Pakistani military, tracing back to Modi's.
While this is hardly the first bout of peace talk cancellations between the two countries, the boldness of this specific instance displays India's intolerance for Pakistan's familiar antics to openly support, and maintain relationships with Kashmir's most senior separatists. The long-standing Pakistani response of justifying the talks as a forum for peace in the region has waned in acceptance from Modi's Government. The activity in the past month of Indo-Pak relations has soured any form of near-future resolution between both countries. Currently embroiled in domestic conflicts, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is now facing widespread dissidence from his fellow constituents, arguably putting any desire to resolve differences with India on the back-burner.
Arman Sidhu is a student at Arizona State University and a former Reagan Fellow at the Goldwater Institute.