Since the advent of Narendra Modi as Indian Prime Minister in 2014 the Indian animosity against Pakistan has been bewilderingly intensified. Modi has won the second term with a thumping majority. What would be his disposition towards Pakistan is difficult to tell with certainty but the portents do not look encouraging. Under his stewardship India has not only been trying to isolate Pakistan without much success but has also been actively engaged in a proxy war against her. Well calculated moves have also been made to exploit the fast changing geo-political landscape in our region. However Pakistan has used diplomacy as an effective tool not only to unleash a process of protecting its strategic interests but also to recalibrate its relations with Iran which to a great extent has neutralized Indian covert proxy war against her through sponsored acts of terrorism using Iranian soil.

Relations between Pakistan and Iran have been under lot of strain due to cross border terrorism and Iranian perceptions about Pakistan having a tilt towards her arch rival Saudi Arabia with regard to their animosity on regional issues, notwithstanding the fact that Pakistan has remained neutral and tried to defuse tensions between them.

Indian RAW has not only been using Afghan soil in collaboration with Afghan NDS to sponsor acts of terrorism in Pakistan but also the Iranian land for the same purpose. Kalbhushan Yadav captured in Balochistan who was assisting the Baloch insurgents and sponsoring acts of terrorism in Pakistan was based in Iran. Similarly some Baloch insurgents who enjoyed Indian patronage also had sanctuaries and training camps on the Iranian territory. The Baloch militants who killed 14 Pakistani security personnel near Ormara in Balochistan in April and claimed responsibility for the gory incident also came from Iran. It was therefore in the backdrop of the snowballing tensions between the two countries after that act of terrorism that Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan undertook a two-day visit to Iran in the last week of April where he met the Iranian leaders to discuss border security, counter-terrorism, regional issues and improvement in the bilateral relations.

The visit surely produced very positive results. The two countries agreed to set up Joint Rapid Reaction Force to fight terrorism and guard the common border between the two countries and also vowed not to allow their territories to be used for terrorist activities. Relations between the two countries were under great stress following terrorist attacks on both sides of the frontier. In the context of bilateral relations, the two sides also resolved to enhance cooperation in a number of social and cultural domains besides expanding economic relations. Iranian President mentioned utilization of Chahbahar and Gawadar Ports to handle increased activity in the region and also urged Pakistan to build the IP gas pipeline section on its side as soon as possible.

The visit to Iran by the Prime Minister was a very timely diplomatic move which paid immediate dividends as it helped to recalibrate our relations with her. Pakistan and Iran have a history of unprecedented bonhomie between them before the Iranian revolution. Improving relations with Iran also is in conformity with our new narrative of amity with all the neighbours for nudging process of shared economic prosperity.

In the context of the bilateral relations between the two countries which have a bearing on the regional security situation, the biggest achievement of the visit has been the agreement between the two countries on counter-terrorism and the raising of joint Rapid Reaction Force to guard the common borders and fighting terrorism. This development will have a far-reaching impact on efforts against counter terrorism and at the same time thwarting Indian moves to use the Iranian soil against Pakistan for acts of terrorism, particularly fomenting insurgency in Balochistan.

This initiative by Pakistan and convincing the Iranian authorities for mutual collaboration against terrorism has not only been acknowledged as a successful diplomacy but also appreciated as a well-orchestrated move to affect amity between India and Iran. Andrew Korybko and Adam Garrie a geo-political analyst writing for Global Research said “ The Pakistani leader exposed India’s Hybrid War terrorist plot during his talks with the Iranian leadership which probably explains why the two neighboring nations decided to take their military cooperation with one another to the next level. This will greatly complicate India’s Hybrid War capabilities in clandestinely using Iranian territory to carry out terrorist attacks against Pakistan by proxy as it obsessively seeks to sabotage CPEC, meaning that PM Khan’s visit will have far-reaching and long-term geostrategic security consequences in the New Cold War”.

Referring to the US decision that it won’t renew its Iranian oil sanctions waivers to India and other countries who will now have to seek help from Saudi Arabia and GCC countries to replace their imports of oil, they concluded that it would also affect Iran’s relations with India. They contended that the two uncoordinated and coincidental developments will ruin relations between the Iran and India. The conclusion drawn by them was “Although Iran and India still have shared strategic interests in the Chabahar Corridor and North-South Transport Corridor, the trust that formerly defined their relations is broken and their ties will never be the same”

Pakistan has also been successful in convincing the Iranian leadership regarding her irrepressible desire to have cordial relations with Iran and to play a positive role in defusing the crisis that has developed in the backdrop of renewed tensions between US and Iran. The ambiguities regarding Pakistan’s position on Saudi-Iran relations and issues related to the scenario in the gulf region also seem to have been removed and Iran no more looks askance at her. The recent interaction between the leaders of the two countries, particularly the visit of the Iranian foreign minister to Pakistan amply testifies to the change in the Iranian outlook about her and their understanding of the position that it has taken on the issues of mutual and regional issues, especially related to security. Notwithstanding strong position taken by Iran regarding completion of Pakistani part of the IP Gas Pipeline, it now seems to have a better understanding of the constraints that prevent Pakistan to fulfill her obligations regarding the project which is also of crucial importance to the latter. Pakistan is surely pursuing a successful diplomacy on the regional issues, especially in the context of its relations with Iran.