ISLAMABAD-A seminar was conducted by the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS), Lahore on the theme of “Managing Pakistan’s Relations with India”. The seminar was arranged against the backdrop of the existing stalemate in the bilateral relations between Pakistan and India. It featured an address by the former Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. Mr. Kasuri is regarded as an expert on India, as he has vast experience dealing with India, especially from 2002-2007. His address was followed by an extensive question and answer session. President CASS, Air Marshal Asim Suleiman (Retd) made the concluding remarks while summing up the recommendations.
The seminar underscored that Pakistan desired good neighbourly relations with India on the basis of sovereign equality, mutual respect and the peaceful settlement of outstanding issues, especially the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. However, India’s refusal to have a meaningful discussion on Kashmir and its hegemonic policies have been a recurrent source of conflict and tensions between the two countries.
Mr. Kasuri emphasised that a climate of tension and hostility was neither in the interest of Pakistan nor of India. He further underscored the necessity of dialogue as the only way forward.
Referring to a statement of Mr. Narendra Modi that he had “resolved the Kashmir issue”, Mr. Kasuri affirmed that the “Kashmir issue is alive and will remain so, as long as the Kashmiris refuse to accept the Indian occupation”.
The former Foreign Minister also talked about the current Indo-Pacific strategy of the US, adding that its main purpose was to confront the rising power of China with India added in as a counterweight. India has been brought into a number of defense agreements and arrangements with the US. All this has serious ramifications for Pakistan.
In his concluding remarks, President CASS, Air Marshal Asim Suleiman (Retd) reiterated Pakistan’s desire for good neighbourly relations with India on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect. He also underscored the inalienable right of the struggling people of Jammu and Kashmir for their right to self-determination which cannot be over-written by illegal Indian actions.
He added that the history of Pakistan-India relations is one of lost opportunities. He felt that relations with India can still improve through meaningful and uninterrupted dialogue, building trust and showing flexibility. The seminar ended with a vote of thanks by the President, CASS, Lahore.