20131999Continued from: India – Pakistan Relations (Since 1947)
Post Kargil War Developments
In July 2001, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee met for a two-day summit in the Indian city of Agra. That summit collapsed after two days, with both sides unable to reach agreement on the core issue of Kashmir.
Attack on Parliament, Samjhauta Express
On December 13 same year, an armed attack on the Indian parliament in New Delhi leaves 14 people dead. The attacks lead to amassing of India’s and Pakistan’s militaries along the LoC. The standoff only ended in October 2002, after international mediation.
Vajpayee and Musharraf held direct talks at the 12th SAARC summit in Islamabad in January 2004, and the two countries’ foreign secretaries met later in the year. This year marked the beginning of the Composite Dialogue Process, in which bilateral meetings are held between officials at various levels of government (including foreign ministers, foreign secretaries, military officers, border security officials, anti-narcotics officials and nuclear experts). In November, on the eve of a visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the new Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, announced that India will be reducing its deployment of troops there.
5,000 troops from Jammu and Kashmir redeployed in 2006, citing an “improvement” in the situation there, but the two countries couldn’t reach an agreement on withdrawing forces from the Siachen glacier.
On February 18 of 2007, the train service between India and Pakistan (the Samjhauta Express) was bombed by terrorists near Panipat, north of New Delhi. Sixty-eight people, mostly Pakistani civilians were killed, and dozens injured. Investigators subsequently found evidence of suitcases with explosives and flammable material, including three undetonated bombs. More than half a dozen Hindu extremists, belonging to an organisation ‘Abhinav Bharath’, are facing trial in the Samjhauta case.
The fifth round of talks regarding the review of nuclear and ballistic missile-related CBMs is held as part of the Composite Dialogue Process. The second round of the Joint Anti-Terrorism Mechanism (JATM) is also held.
Despite all these, India joined a framework agreement between Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan on a $7.6bn gas pipeline project.
In July, India blamed Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate for a bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, which kills 58 and injures another 141. But, in September, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Singh formally announced the opening of several trade routes between the two countries and the cross-LoC trade commenced in October, though it is limited to a positive list of 21 items and can take place on only two days a week.
Mumbai Terrorist attack pushed the slowly improving relations to a low. On November 26, 2008, armed gunmen opened fire on civilians at several sites in Mumbai, India. The attacks on the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, the Oberoi Trident Hotel, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, Nariman House Jewish community centre, Metro Cinema, St Xavier’s College and in a lane near the Times of India office, prompt an almost three-day siege of the Taj, where gunmen remain holed up until all but one of them are killed in an Indian security forces operation. More than 160 people are killed in the attacks.
Ajmal Kasab, the only attacker captured alive, said the attackers were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba. In the wake of the attacks, India broke off talks with Pakistan.
The Pakistani government later admitted that the Mumbai attacks may have been partly planned on Pakistani soil, but denied the allegations that the plotters were sanctioned or aided by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Indian Prime Minister Singh met on the sidelines of a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, issuing a joint statement charting future talks. Singh ruled out, however, the resumption of the Composite Dialogue Process at the present time.
In August, India gave Pakistan a new dossier of evidence regarding the Mumbai attacks, asking it to prosecute Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an Islamic charity with ties to Lashkar-e-Taiba.
In May, Ajmal Kasab was found guilty of murder, conspiracy and of waging war against India in the Mumbai attacks case. He was sentenced to death.
In November 2013 India executed Pakistani national Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of a fighter squad that killed 166 people in a rampage through the financial capital Mumbai in 2008, hanging him just days before the fourth anniversary of the attack.
On 10 February 2011, India agreed to resume talks with Pakistan which were suspended after 26/11 Mumbai Attacks. India had put on hold all the diplomatic relations saying it will only continue if Pakistan will act against the accused of Mumbai attacks.
On 13 April 2012 following a thaw in relations whereby India gained MFN status in the country, India announced the removal of restrictions on FDI investment from Pakistan to India.
In 2013 January, India and Pakistan accused each other of violating the cease-fire in Kashmir, with Islamabad accusing Indian troops of a cross-border raid that killed a soldier and India charging that Pakistani shelling destroyed a home on its side.
In May 2014, Pakistan released 151 Indian fishermen from its jails in a goodwill gesture ahead of the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as prime minister. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for swearing in ceremony and held talks with him in New Delhi. Both sides express willingness to begin a new era of bilateral relations.
Uri & Pathankot Attacks
But the terrorist attacks in Pathankot in January 2016 and Uri in September 2016 blamed on the jihadists triggered an enormous emotional response of the Indian citizenry and changed everything.
On 2 January 2016, a heavily armed group of at least six persons scaled the walls and attacked the Pathankot Air Force Station, part of the Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force.
Four attackers and two security forces personnel were killed in the initial battle and the gun battle and the subsequent combing operation lasted about 17 hours on 2 January, resulting in many casualties. On 3 January, fresh gunshots were heard, and another security officer was killed by an IED explosion. The operation continued on 4 January, and a fifth attacker was confirmed killed. Not until a final terrorist was reported killed on 5 January was the anti-terrorist operation declared over, though further searches continued for some time.
The attackers were aiming to destroy the aircraft and helicopters in the base, according to a call interception report which failed as they couldn’t reach the area where they were parked.
Reports claimed that the people who carried out the attack in Pathankot were in regular touch with their handlers. A report confirmed that the two phone numbers to which calls were made by the attackers were from Pakistan.
Four heavily armed terrorists on 18 September 2016, attacked an Indian Army brigade headquarters in Uri, near the Line of Control in a pre-dawn ambush killing 17 soldiers. It was reported as “the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir in two decades”. The militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed is suspected of being involved in the planning and execution of the attack.
A gun battle ensued lasting six hours, during which all the four militants were killed. An additional 19-30 soldiers were reported to have been injured in the attack.
Dialogue with Pakistan was spurned, and an intense diplomatic campaign to try to isolate Pakistan, in the region and beyond, was rolled out. And India upped the ante by injecting fresh irritants in the relations like Balochistan and the Indus Waters Treaty and taking the fight to Pakistan.
Kulbhushan Jadhav & ICJ
India has received a stay order preventing Pakistan from executing the death sentence awarded to the former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav from the International Court of Justice at The Hague. India’s team of lawyers led by senior advocate Harish Salve accused Pakistan of gross violations of international laws including the Geneva convention that deals with Consular relations. Pakistan had denied consular access to India despite 15 attempts. It also refused to give any details of Jadhav’s arrest and trial until the death sentence was passed.
Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested in March 2016 by Pakistani security forces in the restive Balochistan province after he reportedly entered from Iran. Pakistan has alleged that Jadhav was a serving officer in the Indian Navy and deputed to the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), foreign (external) intelligence agency of India.
Union External Affairs Ministry had acknowledged that Jadhav served with the Navy but has no link with the government since his premature retirement from Indian Navy. He is said to be in Pakistan for business related issues.
Earlier Indians Sheikh Shamim(1999) and Sarabjit Singh(2013) was sentenced to death by Pakistan on charges of spying. Both these verdicts were by civilian courts.
India has rarely approached the ICJ especially when it comes to Pakistan. India is always hesitant to “internationalise” its bilateral relations. But given the nature of Jadhav’s case in which Pakistan refused to follow any established principle India was forced to take the extreme measure of taking the case to the ICJ.