01:59 GMT +320 August 2019
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    India & Pakistan: Rapprochement Cancelled

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    Andrew Korybko

    The incipient rapprochement that was building late last month between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan appears to have been cancelled after the Indian Foreign Minister pulled out of planned talks with her Pakistani counterpart that were scheduled to take place at the UN.

    The supposed reason for this was the latest events surrounding the disputed region of Kashmir. Local separatists, which India regards as Pakistani-backed terrorists, killed three policemen last week. New Delhi was also furious that Islamabad released a stamp collection commemorating Burhan Wani, a young Kashmiri separatist who was killed two years ago, and whose supporters saw as a freedom fighter while the state considered him to be a terrorist.

    According to some reports, the decision to cancel the talks came from Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, which might be what prompted his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan to write on Twitter that he was "Disappointed at the arrogant & negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue. However, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture." This represents a disappointing end to what had for a brief moment been a glimmer of hope for the two South Asian states to put aside their differences, engage in mutually beneficial talks, and possibly even jumpstart economic cooperation with one another to the benefit of their people.

    Heated criticism is now being directed against both leaders after their countries' failed rapprochement with one another. Pakistan's two main opposition parties accused Prime Minister Khan of being "too keen" to hold talks with India, which they claimed "showed weakness", while Prime Minister Modi is becoming increasingly embroiled in a massive multibillion-dollar corruption scandal concerning the purchase of 36 Rafale jets from France in 2015 after former President Hollande recently revealed that his government had no say in choosing its Indian commercial partner. These influential domestic factors make it unlikely that the two leaders will resume their previous outreaches to one another, which might lead to the reinforcement of the region's tense geopolitical fault lines.

    Zamir Awan, Geopolitical analyst who focuses on the region and places a special emphasis on China, which has made him a popular writer in Chinese mainstream media, and Unisa Qader, Supporter of subcontinental reunification, join our discussion.

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    Narendra Modi, Imran Khan, India, Kashmir, Pakistan
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