There is no immediate move to scale down diplomatic relations with Pakistan, sources said after reports that Indian diplomats were again harassed last week in Peshawar. The incident was reported when Indian officials were returning from Qissa Khwani Bazar and places nearby to Hotel Pearl Continental. Two persons, who are believed to be intelligence officials and were following on a motorbike, stopped the Indian officials.
The delegation was stopped and questioned for nearly 30 minutes. Indian consular officials in Pakistan have reported ill-treatment by the Pakistani government earlier too with many not being given gas connections, their electricity connection switched off randomly, and their access to the internet blocked. The Ministry of External Affairs has reportedly taken up the matter with their Pakistani counterpart. On Thursday, government sources said, “Harassment had reached unacceptable levels but scaling down diplomatic relationship is not the solution.”
They also maintained that Kartarpur is a cultural intiative. “It does not mean we are opening a larger dialogue. Faith cannot be a political issue,” an official said, adding that India took a significant initiative on Guru Nanak Jayanti.
On engagements with China, government sources said the “political relationship” has not just been restored but heightened. “In the recent past, there have been four meetings at highest level. Three state councillors have made visits while special representative talks and defence contacts have been resumed after suspension last year,” government sources said.
After the Doklam standoff in 2017, this year has seen significance improvement in bilateral relations. However, New Delhi has still raised concern over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The deadlock over the CPEC and the Doklam standoff prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping to explore peaceful development of ties with an informal summit at Wuhan.
Both sides have also resumed flag meetings while there is a forward movement on market access to pharmaceuticals and agricultural products, sources said. On reports of Chinese telecom giant Huawei being labelled as a security threat, government sources said, “We are aware of reports in the West about 5G technology. The West is not exactly altruistic in its motivation on what they use their technology for and what they are accusing China of. Huawei is perfectly legal, with fairly large facilities in India.”