By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

Despite Modi’s win in UP, India’s Achilles heel is still Kashmir.

Also they are very conscious of the emerging Russian, China, Pakistan regional Nexus.

Russia’s distancing from them should be worrisome as would be Russia’s close military association with Iran, the latter coming back into a closer relationship with Pakistan. President Rouhani’s ECO visit would have worried them. It is clear that the Iranians want to forge a closer relationship with Pakistan. The Iranians are pragmatists and know that in the changed geo political environment their interests lie in better relations with Pakistan as compared to their ties with India when they were under US sanctions and out in the cold.

Pakistan, then gave them the cold shoulder because of US and Saudi influence and pressure. Desperate for hard cash they turned to India who happily helped them out by buying their oil and goods, ignored US sanctions and poured money into a desperate Iran.

But now that the tide has returned, Iran will come back towards Pakistan, also driven by its close ties to China who are urging them to come into to the CPEC.

So the chances of Iran  going back into the Indian orbit, though possible, seem improbable and unlikely.

Turkey is also getting closer to Iran today then before, thanks to the early coup warning to Erdogan by Iranian intelligence.

I think India is worried and this may provide an opportunity. If we can show some space by reining in our Kashmiri Jihadis, a very tall order in itself,  and easier said then done, then perhaps a window.  But this has to come from the Army not the civilian government.

As the current US thaw towards Pakistan is also a consequence of the changed Military approach towards the Taliban, any overtures to the Indians will need to come from Army being in the driving seat.

I don’t have an answer whether a changed Kashmir policy and the consequential window could result in some rapprochement.  It could. But these are snowflake type fleeting opportunities, as we had during Musharraf’s time and couldn’t manifest despite near perfect conditions on both sides.

But if India chooses to go the other path of belligerence to try and scuttle our current emerging strong geo political situation then expect some serious escalation from Afghanistan, dormant TTP type groups being re primed, BLA type insurgents in Baluchistan, though Iran will be far more supportive of Pakistan than before, given the emerging re engagement and thaw. Cross border firing and perhaps an incursion or two across the LOC in  Kashmir and even activity in Karachi, now infested with Indian moles embedded in some political parties.

Chinese, Russian and US influence on India is also key.

Given CPEC we may have a window.

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