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Pakistan Army violating ceasefire to signal opposition to Ufa talks: Lisa Curtis

By Kamna Arora | Last Updated: Saturday, July 18, 2015 - 08:59

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in Ufa on July 10, there were hopes of warmer ties between the two South Asian neighbours. However, the ties between the two sides iced again as Pakistan repeatedly violated ceasefire and fired mortar shells across the International Border and Line of Control. 

This underlines that nothing has changed in Pakistan, even after the horrific Peshawar massacre. Pakistan’s sloppiness in the trial of 2008 Mumbai attacks case and refusal to give voice samples of prime accused Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi prove that the Islamic country's dual terrorism policies remain intact.

India and Pakistan have lodged protests against each other after cross-border firing in Jammu and Kashmir led to casualties, pouring cold water on the bonhomie shared between the Prime Ministers of both the countries in Russia.

In an exclusive interview with Kamna Arora of Zee Digital, Lisa Curtis, an expert on South Asia, discusses India-Pakistan ties post Ufa meet.

Lisa Curtis is a Senior Research Fellow at Asian Studies Center, Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, The Heritage Foundation.

One day Pakistan agrees to cooperate on eliminating terrorism in South Asia, and just after that, the same country violates ceasefire and fires mortar shells across the border. What do you think led to change in Pakistan’s stance from its stand in Russia?

The Pakistan Army is likely signaling its opposition to the outcome of Indo-Pak talks in Ufa by resorting to firing along the LoC over the past few days. By ratcheting up tensions along the LoC, the Pakistan Army is demonstrating it can unilaterally disrupt relations, even as civilian leaders of the two countries seek to improve the atmosphere for talks.

PM Modi reached out to Pakistan in Ufa, despite the release of Mumbai attacks mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi from a Pakistani jail in April. The response by the Pakistan Army to the forward movement on dialogue will strengthen the hands of those in India who argue that it is counter-productive to engage with Pakistan.

PM Modi has accepted the invitation to attend a 2016 meeting of South Asian leaders in Islamabad. Could the trip fall through, keeping in mind the flip-flops of Pakistan?

The initial statement by Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar indicates that India may still take the high road and not allow the dust-up along the LoC to derail planned talks.

Can Pakistan be relied upon in tackling terrorism?

The apparent intentional escalation of military tensions along the LoC combined with the freeing of Lakhvi leaves little doubt about the Pakistan military’s attitude toward peace talks with India. If Pakistani military leaders are displeased with the joint statement coming out of Ufa, there are other ways to rectify the situation, other than escalating military tensions along the LoC, which will be viewed as irresponsible behavior by the international community.

What does the absence of Kashmir issue in the Ufa joint statement signify?

In the Ufa statement, the two sides agreed to discuss all outstanding issues, and did not exclude Kashmir from that list. The fact that the statement emphasized cooperation on terrorism is not surprising, given the recent release of Lakhvi, a move the US and several other countries strongly condemned. 

First Published: Saturday, July 18, 2015 - 08:59

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