In an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Mohsen Rouhi Sefat, pointing to India’s rejection of Pakistan’s request to negotiate on the disputed issues between the two countries, including the Kashmir issue, he clarified: India and Pakistan have the longest historical conflict. The dispute between the two countries started from the era of independence from Britain and still continues and has led to three wars between the two countries, until both countries held access to nuclear weapons. After that, deterrence was created between the two sides, and as a result, a direct war did not happen between them, and in fact, we are witnessing continuation of the war indirectly between the two, and the conflict still exists between them.
Recalling that India had interest in establishing normal relations with Pakistan during the period of balance and deterrence, he added: During that period, Pakistan always emphasized that no compromise was possible before the Kashmir issue was resolved, and the Kashmir issue should also be resolved through international fora and UN resolutions. But even though there was no direct war between the two countries, India could not negotiate or solve the problem with Pakistan.
The expert on international affairs pointed to Nawaz Sharif’s efforts, in his first term in office, which was followed by the title “Bus Diplomacy” between India and Pakistan, during which the prime minister of India traveled to Lahore by bus and said: In that period, reconciliation and talks were supposed to take place, at that point, the civilian sectors of the Pakistani government had come to the conclusion that in order to solve the economic problems and develop the country, a compromise should be reached with India, as a result of which stability would be established in the country in order to allocate the expenses that are spent on military affairs to economic issues. But the military sector of Pakistan was against such view.
Rouhi Sefat added: Pakistan’s military sector tried to increase the pressure on Delhi by using proxy forces and brought parts of the Taliban led by Islamabad into the conflict with India, to such an extent that a nuclear war between the two countries came close and finally, with the mediation of the US, both sides fell short of their positions. Nawaz Sharif was removed due to a coup and Pervez Musharraf took office.
Emphasizing that the politicians of Pakistan were of the opinion that in the competition with India, it is Delhi that will win due to the focus on economic development and expansion of balanced political relations with the world, he continued: But the Pakistani military personnel did not agree with this issue while using their union interests and thwarted the efforts of politicians in this field. By the passage of almost twenty years, it is quite clear that the Indians won the competition.
The former Iranian diplomat reminded that now India is economically one of the four economic powers of the world and has established diplomatic and political balance with all the powers of the world, even with its rival China, and enjoys an acceptable influence in the world order and added: This year, India is hosting the G20 and by using it, it can play a role in the agenda of the summit and include its interests in it.
Rouhi Sefat pointed out: Pakistan, by using the space created in Afghanistan, became a sponsor of extremist and radical groups, and after the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Afghanistan, Arab-Afghans from tribal areas started to create insecurity and instability in their countries, in Algeria, Tunisia, Arab countries and Central Asia. Pakistan continued the policy of using proxies until the victory of the Taliban, but fell behind in the competition with India. As a result, Indians now have a superior position and upper hand against Pakistan, and in response to Pakistan’s request for reconciliation, set conditions.
He called the destruction of bases of the extremist groups in Pakistan as one of India’s conditions and continued: In the latest tension between Delhi and Islamabad, India bombed Pakistan’s territory for the first time and this attack was an unprecedented measure. This issue shows that the balance between India and Pakistan has been turned in favor of Delhi.
The analyst of international affairs stated that in analyzing the prospects of India-Pakistan relations, in addition to the international competition, one should also pay attention to the internal issues of the two countries, adding: The radical and extremist party “BJP” in India, which is now in power, considering the Hinduism and anti-Islam sentiments, is trying to get more votes from the extreme Hindus and the Hindu villagers, and this measure proceeds by inciting their feelings against Muslims and Pakistan. It seems that if the “National Congress” Party was at work, a positive response would have been given to Pakistan’s request, but in the current conditions, the BJP Party is trying to win more votes in its favor by using the confrontation between Hindus and Muslims in the elections.
Rouhi Sefat stated that in the last two years, the position of the BJP Party among the people of India has weakened, adding: Although the rate of economic growth in India is still high, it is not as strong as the first period of the party’s power. This issue has created dissatisfaction in India and BJP may no longer be able to establish the dominance it had before, for this reason, it is trying not to establish peaceful and stable relations with Pakistan so that under the tense atmosphere it can win more votes in the elections.
He emphasized: Pakistan, by using proxy groups, not only did not achieve many of its long-term goals, but now the relations with India and the Kashmir issue are out of its priority, and its main issue is the terrorist and extremist groups that threaten the Islamabad government in Pakistan. The Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan and Baluch independence-seeking groups have had numerous and extensive military operations since last year. Such conditions have created serious problems in Pakistan and they are interested in dealing with their internal problems better by creating peace on the Kashmir front.