Will China succeed in its efforts to improve Indo-Pak relations?
On April 24, the defense ministers from the member countries of the SCO - China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan - gathered in Beijing for SCO Defense Ministers' Meeting. Defense Minister of Pakistan Khurram Dastagir-Khan and Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman participated as full members in the meeting for the first time. While each minister held bilateral talks with other ministers of SCO member states, no bilateral talk was held between Defense Ministers of Pakistan and India.
However - after their inclusion in SCO - India and Pakistan had both pledged to fully participate in the security meetings and joint military drills. In order to keep with their vows, security personals from both countries will participate in counter-terror exercises under the "Peace Mission 2018". Although even after them becoming member states of SCO, leaders from the two countries kept passing derogatory remarks, their agreement to come to the table together is a hope that SCO framework could provide a breakthrough in the current deadlock.
To understand everything that is happening around us - war, conflict, and chaos - one needs to understand two things: a) Economy b) Geography.
China's efforts to improve Indo-Pak relations has to do a lot with both.
Improved relations between India and Pakistan will serve China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Since CPEC passes through Pakistans region claimed by India and the two countries have fought actual wars for these claims, the success of billion dollars project depends immensely on the relation between the arch-enemies.
If China succeeds in bringing the two countries together through Shangai Cooperation Organization, new doors of economic opportunities will be opened for the region.
Apart from China's effort to bring two countries close, India and Pakistan are making advances towards good relations on their own through religious tourism. As a part of a bilateral protocol signed between the two countries for promoting people-to-people contact through religious tourism, India has shown readiness to accept Pakistani pilgrims willing to attend the Urs of Hazrat Amir Khusro. The Urs will take place from June 28 to July 5 in New Delhi.
To comply with the bilateral pact, Pakistan has already on Friday issued visas to over 300 Sikh pilgrims from India to observe the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh at Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore from 21-30 June 2018.
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