STATE assembly elections in India generally elicit tepid international interest. But the recently concluded polls in five states, particularly Uttar Pradesh—politically the most important of them all—were watched with the keenest interest by outside observers.
The significance of the BJP’s victory, especially its star campaigner Narendra Modi’s spiralling political stocks after the stunning results, and what it means for India and its relations with other countries are now being closely analysed across the world.
Perhaps, nowhere does it gather more salience than in Pakistan, a country that habitually keeps a close tab on Indian developments. The BJP’s emphatic victory in UP and its ability to form governments elsewhere too were therefore rightly seen in Islamabad as a further consolidation of Modi’s enormous clout over the Indian polity.
But whether this would translate into a renewed effort by the Indian premier to reach out to Pakistan and renew the stalled dialogue is a question that is uppermost in minds in Pakistan and elsewhere.
In a way, the possibility of resumption of the Indo-Pak engagement began much before the recently-concluded elections, when the two sides released a number of civilian prisoners from each other’s jails and finally paved the way for restarting the Permanent Indus Commission talks, scheduled now for March 19 and 20 in Lahore. PM Modi had made it clear that “blood and water