Positive Signals

 The resumption of trade across the Line of Control in Jammu is a sign that India and Pakistan are on the rebound from the fallout of the recent LoC skirmishes. There are also right noises emanating from the capitals of the two countries. Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf has reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to “constructive engagement with India for the settlement of all disputes, including Jammu and Kashmir”. Similarly Indian envoy in Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal at a reception organised at a hotel in Islamabad to mark the Republic Day has said that a “peaceful, stable and democratic Pakistan” is in India’s interest. Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on the other hand has pressed for the need for building confidence and trust between the two countries through an enhanced “economic partnership”.  However, in Indo-Pak context this improved atmosphere is hardly the guarantee that the two countries will not relapse into a renewed bitterness over some another incident in near future. As the controversy over the Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan has underlined, it is not necessarily the violence that can queer the pitch of their relationship. And if India and Pakistan have to get ahead and truly achieve a certain stable level of confidence and trust in their long troubled ties, they will have to find a way to secure their engagement against these frequent breakdowns. And this will not be possible if they keep on measuring this trust and confidence against a diverse range of incidents and events, even the ones that have become routine over the course of the bloody history of the past more than six decades. What is therefore needed is not only putting in place the framework and mechanisms that take care of the potentially disruptive developments like recent beheading of a soldier at LoC but also fashioning of a positive narrative about each other which in turn will help nurture the constituencies in both countries that are favourable to a long term peace. This, no doubt, is easier said than done but then the alternative is a vicious cycle of endless distrust and hostility.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 30 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 30 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 31 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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