After the dastardly Pulwama attack, India was outraged and rightly changed the rules of engagement with Pakistan. The aftermath of the attack was that India for the first time in almost half-a-century carried a strike deep inside Pakistan territory, to neutralize terrorist establishments in Balakot. Pakistan then escalated the conflict by sending F 16 jets into India and unsuccessfully dropped bombs on military targets. In the dogfight that ensued, we lost a MiG 21 and our valiant pilot was captured by Pakistan. This is something that we all know. But apart from this, Indian diplomacy went into overdrive and back channel talks were held with several like-minded nations who openly supported India and left Pakistan in the dock. US President Donald Trump was one such leader who claimed to have been involved. It was Trump who first said that there would good news on the Indo-Pak front, even before Islamabad said that it would release Wing Commander Abhinandan. Was it just a co-incidence or did the Trump administration play a role? Media reports claimed that the Saudis and Emiratis too intervened to bring about military de-escalation.
Was there behind the scene diplomacy to deescalate the tensions between both the countries?
Yes. For instance,
- USA leadership talked about good news even before Pakistan deciding to release IAF pilot.
- The primary objective of the international community was to defuse tensions between the two nuclear powers.
- Probably middle east islamic countries also put pressure on Pakistan.
However, all these are speculations and there is no concrete proof.
How backchannel diplomacy works?
In backchannel diplomacy, there are different stakeholders. For instance,
- USA warned Pakistan for use of F-16 in any domestic operations.
- China supported India in UNSC resolution against Pakistan.
If a third party intervenes, what happens to India’s stand in resolving conflict?
India has categorically mentioned in shimla accord wherein both countries agreed to solve issues bilaterally. But, in times of crisis the ball game changes. This draws international community since interests are involved. It is similar to involving India in bringing peace in Afghanistan.
Is there a standard operating procedure in diplomatic negotiations?
- Calling the envoys
- Reaching out to various countries
- Briefing done by the concerned ministries
- Engaging in public discourse
Is it time for IND-PAK diplomacy?
Yes. We could develop formulations like talks on terror.
- All the support from OIC, P5 members shows incremental support
- Backchannel diplomacy will continue
- Time has come to continue showing our stamina that we have shown earlier