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P. Uthamraj asked: Has India's relations with Pakistan worsened since Nawaz Sharif took over as prime minister?

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  • P.K. Upadhyay replies: The Indo-Pakistani relations usually do not dramatically improve or worsen with the change of regimes in Pakistan. There are some fundamentals that drive Pakistani attitude towards India and those have remained unchanged. The Indo-Pakistani relations during Nawaz Sharif's current term have also neither improved in tune with his pre-election pronouncements, nor have brought the two countries to the brink of an open war despite some periodic tensions on the LoC.

    The seemingly positive statements Nawaz Sharif had been making on Indo-Pakistani relations were the remarks, may be off the cuff, of a politician trying to enlist maximum support for himself from every constituency in the country. Pakistani traders are a constituency who would like a limited improvement in relations with India as it would benefit them, and Nawaz Sharif was hoping to have them onboard by his positive statements on trade with India. However, once in power, like every other Pakistani leader, Nawaz Sharif too is susceptible to various influences and pressures which he cannot ignore and must let them have their way in influencing country's India policy. Even the Pakistani traders do not stand for a comprehensive economic cooperation with India. One can see this phenomenon behind Pakistan going back on its own declaration of intention to grant India the Most Favoured Nation status!