Gen Bajwa Held Talks With Indian Officials At Middle East Meetings, Claims Indian Journalist

Indian journalist Vaibhav Singh claims Gen Bajwa used to helm back-channel talks with India's National Security Advisor on thrashing out a path to peace between the hostile neighbours

Gen Bajwa Held Talks With Indian Officials At Middle East Meetings, Claims Indian Journalist

Former chief of army staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa helmed back channel peace talks with India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, with the former holding meetings with senior Indian officials in the Middle East.

Indian journalist Vaibhav Singh claimed this during a web show hosted by journalist Azaz Syed on his web channel.

Singh, who has been a journalist for over a decade, covering security issues, especially Kashmir, said that talks in back channels between Pakistan and India had started as far back as  2015 when Lieutenant General Nasir Khan Janjua was appointed as Pakistan's seventh National Security Advisor (NSA). One of Janjua's first visits outside of Pakistan after becoming the NSA was to open back-channel talks with India, and he is believed to have secretly met Doval in Bangkok.

During the meeting, the two discussed terrorism, the Kashmir conflict, and other issues of bilateral interest.

Singh suggested that after Lt Gen Janjua vacated his position in July 2018, Gen Bajwa informally picked up the mantle from the Pakistan side and was directly involved in back-channel talks with India.

Asked if Doval and Gen Bajwa held meetings like Janjua did, Singh said he was not aware of any such meetings between the two. However, he did say that Gen Bajwa met with other Indian officials in the Middle East.

The fruit of these labours was that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to visit Pakistan.

How Modi's policies helped quell terrorism

With terrorism identified by Syed as a factor, among many others, which unites the two countries amid differences, Singh was asked about how India has tackled that.

Singh said that one major move undertaken by the Indian government was to create bank accounts for every eligible Indian citizen to ensure that any subsidies or grants being given to the disadvantaged or impoverished are directly transferred to these individuals. This not only eliminated a lot of corruption and a sense of deprivation amongst the public but also addressed their issues and thus helped lower terrorism considerably.

The other area where steps were taken was Kashmir. Singh said that by ending the special status for Kashmir helped open the door for development in the region.

When asked why Kashmiris did not support the move, Singh said that he was in Kashmir on August 5, 2019, when it was announced. He added that residents of Kashmir were confused about what the move would mean not to live per Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and 35-A, given the protection they received regarding land ownership and jobs.

However, Singh said that over the years, the fears of the Kashmiri people have dissipated that people from across India would come in and buy up their land, while the removal of the law has meant large-scale development in the valley and an influx of tourism.

Further, he said that the government has facilitated local industries to reach new markets, boosting local economic activity. 

On the Indian Supreme Court's decision to uphold the government's move to end Article 370, Singh said that the court heard everyone and transparently decided that the government had the authority to end the legal provision.

When asked by Azaz if this would indicate that the Indian government also retained the authority to reimpose the law, Singh concurred, adding that the Parliament has the power to create laws and repeal them.