From NSG to LoC, a year of downward slide

From NSG to LoC, a year of downward slide

The year 2016 dawned with the hope of a thaw in India’s troubled ties with Pakistan. The neighbours had just agreed to restart the dialogue which New Delhi had suspended in January 2013 after the Pakistani army and militants had killed two Indian Army soldiers and beheaded one of them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had just made “a surprise visit” to Lahore to greet his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday and to attend the wedding ceremony of his granddaughter.

Yet the hope was belied and 2016 proved to be the ‘annus horribilis’ for India-Pakistan relations. The year began with the January 2-5 deadly attack on the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot in Punjab by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists from Pakistan. Then came the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by the security forces in Kashmir.

Pakistan sought to cash in on the protest against the killing to raise its pitch on Kashmir and launched a high-octane international campaign against India.

The September 18 attack – again by terrorists from the neighbouring country – on a brigade headquarters of the Indian Army at Uri in north Kashmir prompted New Delhi to pull out of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit, which was to be held in Islamabad on November 9.

The summit was called off as six other Saarc-member nations also sided with India. Modi later hosted the leaders of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) on the sidelines of the Brics summit in Goa, ostensibly to promote the bloc for regional cooperation sans Pakistan. India used both Brics and Bimstec summits to lambaste Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism.

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