Pakistan military reached out to India for talks, without success

Pakistan’s military has quietly reached out to India about resuming peace talks, but the response was tepid, according to Western diplomats and a senior Pakistani official.

The outreach, initiated by the Army’s top commander, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, began months before Pakistan’s national elections.

Trade barriers

A key objective was to remove barriers to trade between the countries, which would give Pakistan more access to regional markets.

“We want to move forward and we are trying our best to have good ties with all our neighbors, including India,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said. “As General Bajwa says, regions prosper, countries don’t. India cannot prosper by weakening Pakistan.”

Diplomats say Gen. Bajwa has tried to reach out to Indian Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat to initiate talks. But the effort has been stymied by what one diplomat called a “system mismatch.”

The Army is Pakistan’s most powerful institution, but India’s military could not agree to a peace deal without the civilian government’s approval. Diplomats in New Delhi say Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is preoccupied with elections expected early next year and does not want talks before then, fearing that if talks collapse — as they have many times before — it could cost them at the polls.

“’Till the Indian elections, there cannot be an immediate betterment in bilateral relations,” Mr. Chaudhry said.NY Times

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