Pragmatic | The MFN drama

Why some of us are wary?

This blogger’s pointing out of the two aspects of Pakistan’s non-decision to grant India the Most Favoured Nation status — the irrelevance of the status to India and its hidden dangers — has been mistakenly assumed by many as a reflexive opposition to having peaceful relations with Pakistan. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Let me explain.

One, peace between India and Pakistan is solely dependent on one thing — the question of Pakistan’s identity, and how it is defined, shaped and guarded by the Pakistan army via its two strategic assets, nuclear weapons and jehadis. Pakistan Army has chosen to use jehadis as an instrument of state policy against India, under the safety of the nuclear umbrella. Read this blogpost to understand why trade between India and Pakistan will not alter the strategic calculations of the Pakistani military-jehadi complex.

Two, the theatre surrounding the granting of the MFN status, which is simply a long-standing obligation of the Pakistani state to the WTO and merely reciprocates India’s bestowal of MFN status to Pakistan 15 years ago, poses a graver danger. It is a decision to be taken by Pakistan considering its own interests. But many in India — the Wagah candle-lighting, the Aman ki Asha and the Track-2 dialogue types — are likely to project this as a favour done by Pakistan to India, which India must strongly reciprocate. How can India reciprocate? By forgetting that Pakistan has bred and continues to breed jehadi terror against India and Indians. Now that Pakistan has granted India the MFN status, Indians must not act petty by constantly asking for action against the perpetrators of terror incidents like the 26-11.

Pakistani government has consistently maintained that its grant of MFN status to India, if and when it happens, will not affect its continued support for the ‘Kashmir cause’. That is, it will continue to send terrorists from across the Line of Control and support the rabble-rousers who pelt stones in streets of urban Kashmir. In contrast, when all Indian government officials welcome the Pakistani move to grant India the MFN status, they steer clear of even mentioning justice for the victims of 26-11 Mumbai terror strike (or other earlier terror strikes). Perhaps Indian officials are worried that it will offend the sensitivities of the Pakistani military-jehadi complex.

The difference in Indian and Pakistani approaches portends the danger this meaningless charade holds for us. Let us not be surprised if we see more of this naive policy pursual by the Indian side when Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers meet on the sidelines of the SAARC conference at Male later this week.

It needs no saying but still… you have been warned.

DISCLAIMER: This is an archived post from the Indian National Interest blogroll. Views expressed are those of the blogger's and do not represent The Takshashila Institution’s view.