Kyrgyz did not Reconcile India and Pakistan. Can Putin Do It?

14.06.2019

At the SCO summit in Bishkek, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused Pakistan of supporting terrorism and did not exchange courtesies with Imran Khan. Resentment after the February flare-up in Kashmir is still fresh

In the past two days, Bishkek has become the center of world politics. There, the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) brought together the leaders of Russia, Belarus, China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mongolia and the four Central Asian republics - Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Together, these countries represent half of humanity and about a third of the global economy.

The main intrigue of the summit was how the heads of government of India and Pakistan would look into each other’s eyes. Four months ago, two nuclear countries were on the brink of war. The escalation began with the events of February 14, when a suicide bomber from the Islamist group Jaish-e-Muhammad blew up 45 Indian police officers in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. India responded with economic sanctions against Pakistan and closed airspace for it.

On February 26, the Indians began a large-scale flight in the Pakistani part of Kashmir province, where terrorists are sheltering. 12 Mirage-200 multi-purpose fighters dropped bombs with a total weight of one ton and destroyed a camp with 350 fighters. The Indian Air Force crossed the line of control for the first time since the last Indo-Pakistani war of 1971. Pakistan reacted strongly to a violation of its airspace - shot down two Indian fighters, but lost one F-16.

The roots of the conflict

The unresolved problem of the mostly Muslim-inhabited Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir maintains tensions between the two countries. The problem was formed after the collapse of the British Empire in 1947. Then the Pakistani authorities tried to include the region in their composition, but the ruler of Kashmir gave preference to India. The dispute resulted in three destructive wars - 1948, 1965 and 1971, as a result of which 40% of Kashmir ceded to Pakistan, the remaining 60% were entrenched for India. Since 1972, there is a demarcation line here. Kashmir for India still remains a source of separatism and terrorism.

Imran Khan's Curtsy

On the eve of the arrival of Modi in Bishkek, the Pakistanis made a gesture of goodwill - they opened their airspace for the flight “board number 1” from New Delhi. But the Indian prime minister took a detour. Tension began to appear on the first day of the summit. Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan did not meet, did not conduct a conversation, and did not even greet each other at an informal dinner.

New Delhi accuses Islamabad of patronizing Jaish-e-Muhammad, which advocates secession of Kashmir from India. Imran Khan denies supporting terrorists and calls for an investigation into the terrorist attack against Indian soldiers.

In the presence of Putin

The charges against the Pakistanis continued on the second day of the summit. But in the presence of Vladimir Putin and other SCO leaders, Modi was ashamed to name the culprit by name.

It is curious that two nuclear countries are clarifying the problem of the support of one of them in the structure of terrorism, which is aimed precisely at combating this phenomenon. In the final communiqué, the SCO leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the fight against the “three evils”: terrorism, separatism and extremism.

Given the deep history of the problem, it is hard to believe that one summit can smooth out the passions around Kashmir that have intensified over the past month. But we must pay tribute to both Narendra Modi and Imran Khan, who let them not shake hands, but did not ignore the event in Bishkek.

The next summit will be held in Chelyabinsk. Perhaps by that time the passions will subside, and Vladimir Putin will be able to reconcile long-standing rivals. Maintaining contacts with each of the two Asian countries is important for Russia. India is our traditional ally, a participant in the North-South project and a buyer of Russian weapons, in particular, the S-400. Moscow needs Islamabad to solve the threatening security of the southern borders of the CSTO Afghan problem and is also interested in the products of the Russian military-industrial complex.