Nawaz Sharif ouster: India keeps watch as Pakistan finds its feet in new developments

New Delhi is said to be keeping a close eye on Pakistan after Nawaz Sharif’s ouster as the Prime Minister following the historical diktat in the Panama Papers case. While reports indicate that Sharif’s brother, Shehbaz may be considered as the next PM, New Delhi is naturally wary of any possibility of there being a military rule and heightened encroachments by the Pakistani army.

The government has stayed silent, refraining from even categorising this as an “internal matter”, which is a stock response by the foreign ministry, but the unseating of the Pakistani leader is not a surprise to South Block, states.

If Pakistan were to fall prey to political stability, India will naturally take on a more defensive stance and treat the matter differently.

Pakistan watchers point to a long history of Pakistan’s security-intelligence complex using terror to ratchet up tensions and then emphasise the Indian threat — and their own indispensability. They have played this game for a long time. This time, though, India’s responses may be far tougher. In addition, Pakistan-US ties are coming under strain  with Washington now building a case against Islamabad’s collusion with terror groups, writes Indrani Bagchi.

While Sharif was seen as a figure of hope for the Narendra Mdownload (1)odi government with the Indian prime minister even randomly dropping by to visit Sharif, that door has closed post the Uri and Pathankot attacks. The Pakistani army’s repeated ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir has not helped matters.

Bagchi writes that who takes Sharif’s place is less relevant to India. Pakistan’s economy is more or less in the same place as it was in 2013 when Sharif was elected. He tried to do more on infrastructure, and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was started on his watch. Nevertheless, economic management was sorely inadequate.

The same goes for Pakistan’s terror problem. While Sharif may have wanted to be more with open with terror, he did scarce little to curb the terror attacks against India.

While India has chosen to deal with the Centre in power and person in power, that is unlikely to change even in the current scenario. Neither is the Pakistani army likely to become the main point of contact with the Indian government – another leader is likely to be elected while the real rulers work in the background.