Probably for the first time, Pakistan has acknowledged that India has stakes in Afghanistan and its cooperation is necessary for the peace process in the war-torn country. The stand is just opposite to the age-long stand the neigbour had towards India. The statement coming from none other than the Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the National Assembly reflects that country’s helplessness in fighting terrorism alone and seek India’s cooperation as a major step to stabilise the region. He said Pakistan alone could not bring peace in Afghanistan as it was a “shared responsibility” of regional countries. This is what India too has been talking at various forums for a long time. Such a trun of events comes after Pakistan finds itself cornered by world powers and hit by financial hurdles. Even the Prime Minister of Pakistan too had said that peace could not be established in Afghanistan through military power. Today, the US, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Taliban also want a solution through dialogue. Some meetings have taken place [among key stakeholders] for establishment of peace in Afghanistan. India also has stakes in Afghanistan and its cooperation will also be needed, Qureshi was emphatic. The US has indicated that it plans to give a role to India in Afghanistan, whereas Pakistan’s stance over the years was quite clear that India had no role to play in Afghanistan. Pakistan perceives India’s development contributions in Afghanistan as part of New Delhi’s strategic encirclement policy that Islamabad feels would leave it vulnerable in any potential conflict. He said US President Donald Trump in a letter to Prime Minister Khan had asked Pakistan to help and facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan which Qureshi said Pakistan was already doing. Qureshi also did not miss the opportunity and expressed the hope that New Delhi would reciprocate Pakistan’s goodwill gesture of taking the initiative to open the Kartarpur corridor for Indian Sikh pilgrims. The change in mindset is going to bring in some new results but caution is the word which comes before anyone could assume that the
relations between the two neighbours are going to normalise.
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