India-Pakistan relations a long history of armed conflict and recently they became extremely heated again. In February Indian aircraft flew into Pakistan and attacked near the town of Balakot. Next day Pakistani and Indian fighter jets engaged in a skirmish over Indian-controlled territory in the disputed border state of Jammu and Kashmir. The USA, Russia and the EU asked India and Pakistan to exercise restraint not to escalate the tension even more. As Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) (Islamabad, Pakistan) Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan notes, a full-scale war between two nations could lead to a catastrophe. Ex-diplomat told “Eurasia.Expert” about the reasons for the standoff between New Delhi and Islamabad, the world’s reaction to it and Pakistan’s cooperation with Russia and Saudi Arabia.
- Prof. Avan, 12 Indian Air Force Mirage-2000 planes dropped several bombs weighing a ton each, and completely destroyed it. The Pakistani side previously reported that Indian aircraft only crossed the line of control that separates the parties in Kashmir. In your opinion, is there a risk of a full-scale war between countries?
- Pakistan has confirmed that Indian Air force entered into Pakistan fr om Line of Control, but Pakistan Air Force followed them and pushed them back into Indian Territory. While escaping, Indian Air Force Jets dropped their pay loads in haste inside Pakistani territory, which has not damaged any human life or property.
Pakistan is a very sensible and mature country and understands the consequences of full-scale war. As both countries are nuclear state and any kind of war may cause big lose to humanity.
Pakistan deserves to defend its national interests in any manner and time, which suits Pakistan
- Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan recently visited Saudi Arabia. Please tell me what were the goals of the visit? What is Saudi Arabia attractive to Pakistan? And what is Pakistan attractive to Saudi Arabia?
- Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy brotherly relations since long times. We visit each other on time to time to strengthen our cordial deep-rooted relations. Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit or Saudi dignitaries' visit may be taken as routine matter. But each visit strengthens our collaborations and cooperation.
Both countries are complimentary to each other. The areas where Pakistan has edge, we help Saudi Arabia, and the areas where Saudi Arabia has an edge, they help Pakistan.
For Example, Pakistan has almost work force of around 3 million contributing to development of Saudi Arabia in various sectors of economy. While, Saudi Arabia is full-filling our energy needs, etc.
- Mohammed bin Salman said that his country plans to invest $ 20 billion in Pakistan. In your opinion, wh ere this money will be invested, in which projects Saudi Arabia is going to invest this money?
- Pakistan and Saudi Arabia has a very wide range of cooperation in almost all important sectors of life. During the recent visit of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, has signed 8 Memorandum of understanding, covering Oil Refinery, Petro-Chemical, Renewable Energy and Hydropower Projects etc, worth US Dollars 20 Billion.
- Russia may invest $ 14 billion in Pakistan’s energy, more than 70% of this amount will be spent on building an offshore gas pipeline to supply gas from Iran to Pakistan. These issues were discussed during the recent visit of Gazprom Deputy Chairman Vitaly Markelov to Islamabad. How do you rate it? Is it possible?
- Relations between Russia and Pakistan are growing rapidly. Both countries are victim of West, as Russia is facing sanctions from West and Pakistan is also facing many challenges from West.
Russia needs to find new markets for its energy sector, while Pakistan explores new options for meeting its energy needs. Convergence of interests brings two countries closer.
Pakistan values its friendship with Russia. US Dollars 14 Billion invest from Russia, is very important and opens many new avenues of cooperation in future. It is just beginning, and our cooperation may expand even more wider, deeper in all sectors of economy. Russian investment in Pakistan is instrumental in economic development of Pakistan.
- Recently relations between Pakistan and India deteriorated. What's happening? What was the cause?
- Pakistan-India relations were never ideal, they have a history of being from bad to good and then being bad again. Apparently, the Indian Government is angry at the Pulwama Attacks and to hide its internal deficiencies and the atrocities it commits in Kashmir, it saw an easy way out by “Pakistan-bashing”.
The real cause of tension is also the Indian mind-set: India believes in “Akhand Bharat” which translates into “Greater India”. Indians have never accepted Pakistan as an independent state from the core of their heart.
The recent incident is purely Indian internal affair, as the attacker was Indian national, Car used was Indian Car, and Explosives used were of Indian origin. It happened deep inside India, approximately 150 KMs from Line of Control (LoC). India is also wary of the increasing important position of Pakistan in the global affairs and wants to undermine Pakistani efforts for peace, stability and development in the region. India has also a habit of celebrating way before time, they want to celebrate their military and economic dominance over Pakistan by finding these petty excuses.
However, Pakistan has offered its cooperation, if India provides evidence or actionable information. But it seems, India is not sincere and just after hours without having any investigation, started blaming Pakistan, threatening Pakistan, Launching war on Pakistan. While Pakistan has offered a dialogue to resolve all issue between the two neighboring states, but India seems only coercing Pakistan, not serious in resolution of issues.
- Then deteriorated relations with Pakistan. Tehran accuses Islamabad of organizing a terrorist attack in the provinces of Sistan and Baluchistan. What do you think about it? Tehran claims that the attack was committed by the citizens of Pakistan?
- Pakistan and Iran enjoys very cordial relations and there was no reason to blame Pakistan. It is beyond our imaginations. May be Saudi Prince's visit to Pakistan has irritated Iran or India has influenced Iran for blaming Pakistan. Otherwise, Iran-Pakistan are very harmonious neighbors. We share religion, culture and deep-rooted friendship historically.
However, in case of any serious allegation, there is a mechanism to approach International Forum and investigation. Pakistan welcomes any country to come up with solid evidence, Pakistan will cooperate. Pakistan is a peace-loving nation and wanted to cooperate with any country for achieving peace in the region and globally.
- In your opinion, can external forces, for example, the United States, stand behind these terrorist acts in Pakistan and Iran? Surely, is there any connection between the two incidents that occurred in India and Iran? Is not it?
- I personally do not think so till this stage. As long as there is no solid verifiable evidence, one should not blame others.
Pakistanis a civilized nation and very well mature. We never bash any country irrationally. However, investigations are under way and we must wait till the facts are brought up.
- India has promised to take revenge on Pakistan. What do you think about it? What scenario will evolve around Pakistan-India relations? Is war possible, for example?
- In past, India used such dirty tricks on many occasions to coerce Pakistan, but Pakistan is a mature state and may not be coerced so easily. Regarding war, Pakistan is a peace loving nation and we believe in resolution of all disputes diplomatically and through dialogue. India is 6 times bigger in papulation and 8 times bigger in Area than Pakistan. Pakistan do not want war with India or any other country. However, if war is imposed, Pakistan deserves the right to defend itself in a manner which suits us most. At the same time, it is appealed to all peace-loving nations and individuals to exert pressure on India to avoid any major disaster to humanity.
- How did these attacks react in the US, Russia and China? What was the reaction of the major powers?
- India failed to blame Pakistan, as the International community is not fool. Just after hours, without having any investigation, blaming Pakistan is not accepted by any civilized nation. US has also asked India to be more rational instead of emotional. Russia and China are very responsible states and are not convinced with the Indian narrative. EU and UN has passed resolutions to condemn India on violations of Human Rights in occupied Kashmir. I think International community has accepted and appreciated Pakistani narrative.
- Pakistan and Russia today signed an agreement on offshore oil and gas development in Pakistan. The document also suggests the installation of a gas pipeline that will allow gas to be delivered by sea to Pakistan from the Middle East. How do you rate this? What will it give to Pakistan and other countries of the region?
- Russia is facing a lot of problems from the West in the form of sanctions and it needs to explore new markets and new trading partners. While, Pakistan is already energy deficient country and needs to import energy from a suitable economical source. There is widely convergence of interests of Russia and Pakistan, which leads two countries closer to each other. Pakistan values its friendship with Russia. The off-shore Gas pipeline project, and TAPI projects are Russian investments in addition to few others. Russian investment in Pakistan is vital for Pakistan's economic take-off and we value it very high. Any collaboration between Pakistan and Russia will promote "peace, stability and Prosperity" for Pakistan and Russia as well as for the whole region.