There is still hope that the present prime minister of Pakistan may act to restart some sort of relationship with India
The India-Pakistan relations have only worsened during the rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and nothing has altered thus far.
When extremists linked to Pakistan attacked an Army facility in Pathankot, the goodwill between the two nations was put to an abrupt end. From that point on, the relationship only touched new lows, reaching its lowest point in August 2019, when the Centre revoked the special status of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State.
However, the present government at the Centre has surprisingly been able to secure and continue a truce with the neighbouring country along the Line of Control (LoC).
Pakistan ready for fresh engagement with India
As far as the ruling party in Pakistan is concerned, foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has urged for a fresh engagement with India in a recent address at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad.
He even questioned if Pakistan’s previous strategies toward India had been successful in achieving its goals and also the wisdom of those strategies. Despite India and Pakistan having a long history of conflict, Bilawal insisted that disengagement is unproductive.
Bilawal stated that if his nation had previously engaged India economically, it would have been better able to influence New Delhi’s policy and prevent both nations from adopting extreme views about the problems confronting them.
Mere statements won’t result in meaningful relations
However, there were many political analysts in Pakistan who saw the speech of Bilawal Bhutto as a retreat from Pakistan’s harsh attitude toward India, which subsequently stirred a controversy there.
Nonetheless, the statement did suggest a desire to move past the status quo in terms of ties with India. But it is unclear if this mere statement would truly result in a meaningful relationship with India.
Earlier, there was some optimism for a bilateral discussion following the recent overthrow of the Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaaf-led government, but thus far, this has proven to be a mirage.
Hope of engagement alive but will the policymakers act?
There is still anticipation that the current Pakistani PM Shehbaz Sharif, brother of Nawaz Sharif, would take moves to rebuild some type of engagement with India because the Sharif family is usually regarded as being favourable to keeping the neighbouring engaged in talks.
The three-time former PM Nawaz Sharif was one of the regional leaders invited to India for the occasion in 2014 when PM Modi was sworn in. In exchange, Modi also paid an unscheduled visit to Lahore later in 2015 to attend Sharif’s granddaughter’s wedding, for which the PM is still being retorted by the opposition leaders in their speeches or TV debates.
Even though the neighbours attempted to pick up the pieces with the unexpected reaffirmation of the truce along the LoC in February 2021, the two Asian countries have been unable to build on the cease-fire and restart the conversation ever since.