Pak-India relations vital for peace

pkPosted by Faheem Belharvi

Both India and Pakistan must have to be on the track of dialogues to ensure to overcome the challenges into their future ties through sincere and sustainable efforts.

It is only through direct talks that both the countries could manage to come out of their problematic relationship and take benefits from each other’s potentials in wider interests of the entire region.
In the backdrop of revolutionary changes and marvelous inventions that has brought the world countries closer together, it is necessary for both the countries to come close through negotiated settlement to their longstanding disputes. They should accept to the fact now that today the countries live in a community of interdependent nations with mutual cooperation, even the concept of sovereignty and independence of states has undergone drastic changes.
Islamabad and New Delhi must realize that it is equally beneficial for them to come to terms and recognize peaceful negotiations are in favour of both the nations, which could pave way for durable peace and stability in the entire region. Therefore they should stay involved with direct talks to ensure the peace process hold some promise and culminates into ultimate solution to the major issues between the two countries, by respecting each other’s claims of inherent freedom of self-determination. Besides, the same would additionally ameliorate the downtrodden communities across most neglected parts of the two countries.

It is very unfortunate that the progress on key issues between India and Pakistan was always affected by mysterious variables like border incidents, domestic political instability and elections. These variables always foiled efforts for peace and kept the dream of progress in abeyance.

The last month’s crisis along the Line of Control strained relations between India and Pakistan. The clashes along the de facto border, known as Line of Control, left several soldiers dead with each side accusing the other for the flare up. Pakistan said Indian troops crossed the Line of Control and stormed the Sawan Patra military post. India claimed that Indian army did not cross LoC and instead accused Pakistan of violating ceasefire. Although the Indian media began its campaign to bring the people to streets against Pakistan, luckily it was for short time and at the end everything was well. The two countries showed some maturity particularly at ministerial level to pacify the flare-up. At first India resorted to its antiquated thinking to deal with the matter by suspending visa-on-arrival facility for senior citizens and a cross-border bus service between India and Pakistan but it did not last long.

In fact it was not for the first time that such event occurred across the de facto border. Pakistan has reportedly in its complaint before the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) accused India of beheading 12 soldiers and killing 29 civilians since 1998. It is worth mentioning here that India suspended peace talks with Pakistan after gunmen killed 166 people in Mumbai in November, 2008 attacks. India and the United States blamed Pakistani based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba for the attack. However peace talks between the two sides again resumed in February, 2011.

Actually, India and Pakistan have a history of armed conflicts and such incidents are an inevitable outcome between the two armies facing one another in such a hostile environment and close proximity. Therefore, it makes no sense to cut off talks or deal with such matters aggressively by adapting to primitive sentiments and antiquated thinking. What is in fact needed is to have a proper mechanism for investigating such incidents. The trade, travel or economic issues should not come in the way of such happenings. They must be excluded from such incidents so that they are not likely to separate the two nations from coming closer to one another.
Unfortunately, the peace talks between the two countries always remained deadlocked due to the two major issues including the land and the water issues. The issue of Kashmir is at the heart of all hostilities that caused two out of three wars between the two countries. Besides the two sides have face off against each other in mountains above Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram Range, known as the world’s highest battlefield since 1984.

Though the use of water between the two countries is governed by the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, under which India was granted the use of water from three eastern rivers and Pakistan that from three Western rivers. However, the two sides disagree over the use of water flowing down rivers that rise in Indian Kashmir and run into the Indus river basin in Pakistan. Unfortunately, India was always accused of unfairly diverting water with upstream construction of barrages and dams.
Another boundary dispute is over the 100-km (60 mile) Sir Creek estuary flowing into the Arabian Sea. The dispute has hampered exploration for oil and gas and led to the detention of hundreds of fishermen from the two countries, mostly in areas where demarcation is unclear. The two sides have conducted a survey and exchanged maps showing their respective positions, according to the information available from Google (online search engine).

The prevailing distrust between the two countries has turned into propaganda war with each side blaming the other. The Indian media has particularly mastered over the art of making mountain out of a small mole. The reporters do not peel the layer off the surface but raise an issue to the level till it has travelled down the screen to streets with fury and rage mounted to destroy the peace and stability.
It is, therefore, necessary for both sides to show some restraints by avoiding such provocations that could damage the peace process between New Delhi and Islamabad. Therefore, there has to be a damage control mechanism to ensure to give peace a chance till it culminates into ultimate solution of all issues between the two countries. (Miangul Abdullah)

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