India & Pakistan: From Rivalry to Rapprochement?


Long-time rivals India and Pakistan seem poised to experiment with another rapprochement after their leaders sent positive messages to one another welcoming this possibility.

Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan received a letter from his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi a few days ago suggesting the need for constructive engagement with one another, which follows Prime Minister Khan’s victory speech last month in which he also spoke about the importance of this happening. Occurring in between both leaders’ messages was the Minister of Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, and Museums of India’s state of Punjab Navjot Singh Sidhu attending his friend and former fellow cricketer Prime Minister Khan’s recent inauguration and hugging the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Although this generated intense controversy within Indian society, it was popularly interpreted by the Pakistanis as a sincere gesture of goodwill and an auspicious sign of a possible willingness on the Indian side to enter into a rapprochement with their country.

Interestingly, both sides are also unprecedentedly participating in multilateral anti-terrorist drills in Russia right now as part of the SCO’s “Peace Mission”, but this is a rare example of indirect cooperation at a time when tensions between the two have been running very high over the past few years. India accuses Pakistan of assisting…

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