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Pakistani PM May Get National Security Advisor to Settle India Issues − Reports

Sputnik News

12:36 20.05.2019

It is expected that a former military official will be appointed to the position regardless of the outcome of the Indian general election. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan believes, however, that there may be better chances of peace talks with India if the current prime minister retains power.

The Pakistani government is "actively considering" the appointment of a national security adviser to revive backchannel diplomacy with India, The Express Tribune reports citing senior government sources.

Islamabad t is reportedly still considering candidates for the sensitive post but it will likely be occupied by a retired military official.

Pakistani sources were quoted as having a positive outlook for the resumption of talks with India; diplomats believe that whoever wins India's general election will come back to the negotiating table.

India is currently holding a general election with the overall result to be announced on 23 May. Exit polls predict a victory for Modi over the rival Rahul Gandhi and his Congress Party. It is understood, however, that a national security adviser will be appointed regardless of who wins.

The position has been vacant since the resignation of former army general Nasser Janjua last June, who was instrumental in building trust with Afghanistan and breaking the ice in re-engagement talks with India.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan previously stated that New Delhi had rejected his peace overtures several times, but he explained this reluctance by electoral reasons.

Narendra Modi campaigned on a pledge to strip India-controlled-Kashmir from its autonomous status, removing its residents' decades-long special rights and privileges, which ban outsiders from buying immovable property or getting a state job.

"There will be two Narendra Modis; one before the election, one after," Imran Khan said last month. He argued that an agreement on the disputed Kashmir would be more likely if Narendra Modi stayed in power, because the opposition would be too scared to engage in negotiations due to potential backlash from Indian nationalists.

Prospects for the peace process have been damaged by a recent escalation of tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals after India launched an airstrike on a supposed terror camp inside Pakistan, which belonged to a jihadist group responsible for the February deadly suicide attack on security personnel in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The airstrike was followed by an aerial dogfight above Kashmir, which ended with the downing of an Indian airplane; an Indian pilot was captured and subsequently released.


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