Kolkata: Former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief Amarjit Singh Dulat feels that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may at some stage later this year hold out the olive branch towards Pakistan and even “bail out” the neighbouring state which has been experiencing a political and economic crisis for the last few months.
Dulat also warned of a “formidable” Iran-Russia-China axis coming into being while stating that India’s newfound ally USA “is far away, our neighbours are nearer.” In an interview to PTI video, the former RAW director said, “Every time is the best time to talk to Pakistan. We need to keep our neighbours engaged.” He added that it was imperative to keep talks open with “a little more public engagement.” “In this year, my hunch is Modi ji will bail out Pakistan. No inside information, but it is my hunch,” Dulat, who in his days as Research and Analysis Wing chief is believed to have run many deep penetration intelligence operations into the neighbouring country, said.
Dwindling forex reserves, nationwide power outages, political instability and a plummeting Pakistani rupee have already propelled the neighbouring state to seek a bailout package from the IMF.
Many analysts believe that Pakistan’s method of dealing with similar crisis in the past where it has “leveraged its geo-political position and extracted rent from global partners” is not working and hence it may be more open to talk peace and trade with India.
Dulat, however, pointedly said engagement with Pakistan has always been “influenced by domestic politics”.
Peace talks between the two neighbours has in the past been hostage to domestic perceptions and Pakistan has even denied India’s exports the ‘most favoured nation’ treatment which it is bound to grant to all WTO signatories as a result of internal compulsions.
The former spy chief told PTI video that for China the diplomatic effort “needs to be more open diplomacy… (where the Chinese) feel satisfied that India means well by them.” He pointed out that despite meetings between Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, India has also been engaging the U.S.
“You turn your back and welcome Trump, that doesn’t go down well with the Chinese,” he said, though he added that maintaining good equations with all sides was part of India’s tradition of non-alignment.
He also warned that a “strong axis is developing- Iran-Russia-China - it is a formidable force.” Underlining the need for better relations with neighbours, Dulat said “our relations with America has improved, which is very positive, But America is far away, our neighbours are nearer.” Many other global analysts have also warned of the developing relationship between the three nations as they face up to a common adversary - USA and the Western Europe.
However, the potential fall-out of that relationship upon South Asian affairs has as yet not been clearly analysed.