Press Release : October 26, 2016
Media workshop on “Pakistan, India and Regional Alignments. ”
On October 26, 2016.Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad (SSII) organised a media workshop titled “Pakistan, India and Regional Alignments. ”
Speaking to the participants of the session DG SSII and Member National Assembly (MNA) Dr Shireen M Mazari highlighted the government’s lack of diplomacy on various issues, including on Kashmir and India’s possible membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). She attributed the government’s inaction on these important issues to the absence of a full time foreign minister.
On the issue of Kashmir for instance, she said India has cleverly been able to push back issues such as human rights violations and pellet guns. In the aftermath of the Uri attack and the issue of surgical strikes, the focus shifted away from human rights violations in Kashmir not only within Pakistan but also globally. Dr Mazari said that the military is often blamed for stepping into the realm of foreign policy but it is only able to take up this space because the politicak government leaves a vacuum. Similarly on the issue of NSG, the government has been unable to pursue any diplomacy, relying solely on China to support Pakistan’s case.
Referring to the the recent euphoria about Pakistan’s growing relations with Russia, Dr Mazari said it did not spell a new regional alignment for Pakistan because the USSR-India relations specially in the field of defence cooperation remain valid even today. She reminded the audience that Russia has signed defence agreements worth billions of dollars with India. Under the deal India will procure Moscow’s most advanced anti-aircraft defence system – S 400 Triumf and will also initially import and then manufacture Russian Kamov Ka-226 T light utility helicopters. She said while the two sides also announced to collaborate in making four guided-missile stealth frigates, Russia has also agreed to help India in developing a new generation of ‘Brahmos’ missiles with 600km-plus striking range. On nuclear cooperation, she said Russia has begun the construction work of the third and fourth reactors in the Russian-built Kudankulam plant in Tamil Nadu in southern India.
In response to India’s growing alliances with world powers, Dr Mazari suggested that Pakistan should expand its own alignments. She said that Iran has expressed interest in joining CPEC, news which has been welcomed by China also. However Pakistan has yet to move forward and welcome Iranian participation in the project and thereby ensuring further investment in the multi billion dollar project.
In her concluding analysis Dr. Mazari criticised the government’s lack of response on the issue of Daesh claiming responsibility for the Quetta terrorist attack. If the news is true it has the capacity to alter the terrorism calculus in Pakistan.