Familiar Story

In recent days, India, Pakistan relations have gone from bad to worse. The relations that were already reeling from the beheadings of two Indian soldiers have gone into a free fall following the militant attack in Srinagar and Pakistan National Assembly’s resolution on Mohammad Afzal Guru followed by a counter-resolution by Parliament. However, there is hardly anything that is surprising about this development. Ever since their being carved up as two separate nations in 1947, India and Pakistan ties have been witness to wild fluctuations, swinging from brief and often uneasy detente to downright hostility. This is because the two countries have always sought to manage their long-standing issues rather than seeking to address them. In fact, in their current round of dialogue process, they had chosen to skirt their political issues and taken instead an economic approach to mending their ties which, as this paper has always warned, is a project that will lead to nowhere. The pragmatic way would be to take a political approach to the dialogue between the two countries rather than an economic one. In fact, this is what the neighbours were doing through 2003-2007 during the rule of the former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf. That process was primarily focussed on the resolution of Kashmir. Musharraf plied a radically flexible line on the state. His four point proposals envisaged a Kashmir solution without any radical geographical modifications and New Delhi was beginning to warm up to the ideas when the General suddenly lost power. While, there can be disagreements on the idea of an ideal Kashmir solution, here was a phase of dialogue that really seemed to confront a political problem that has bedevilled the relations of the two countries for more than six decades. Besides, the process didn’t limit itself strictly to India and Pakistan but also involved a substantial section of Kashmiri opinion across mainstream-separatist divide. The only way for the two countries to hope for enduring normal relations is to start confronting their real demons, the long-standing political issues. Deepening of trade and economic ties will certainly leave a positive impact and generate an alternative way of looking at things but they could hardly guarantee a durable relationship.    

Lastupdate on : Sun, 17 Mar 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 17 Mar 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Mar 2013 00:00:00 IST

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