Some hope, finally

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Indo-Pak Army Chiefs Talk Sense

Hearing the Army Chiefs of Indian and Pakistan talking about peace has come as a fine note of music to the sub-continental ears which, of late, were deafened by bombs and bullets.

While talking about violence, Indian Army Chief, Gen Bipin Rawat has said that gun was no solution to the problems of Kashmir as neither the Army nor the militants would achieve their goals through it. Peace, he said, was the only way to improve the situation in Kashmir that had been witnessing militancy for about three decades now.

On his part, Pakistan Army Chief, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, while pitching for Indo-Pak dialogue has said that the peaceful resolution of India-Pakistan disputes, including the core issue of Kashmir, can be found through comprehensive and meaningful dialogue.

While both the Army Commanders stuck to their respective stances with Gen Rawat saying that majority of people in Kashmir see themselves as Indians and Bajwa stressing that his country would continue its principled stance of supporting right of self determination for Kashmir, the very fact that the two chiefs did talk about peace and reconciliation and not war is something that looks like a ray of light at the end of a dark tunnel.

Of late, there have been too much tensions between the neighbouring countries and situation along Line of Control (LoC) and some parts of International Border (IB) has witnessed a near war claiming scores of lives on either side of the divide. The people living in these area live under constant threat and scores have migrated to safer places.

In 2003, the two countries had entered into a ceasefire agreement that was hailed by one and all. It was then that after decades of trouble, the people living in these areas on either side of the divide had again started their normal day-to-day activities, tending to their cattle and agricultural fields and sending their children to schools. However, from past several years now, the agreement just stays on the papers only and the situation on the ground has turned almost war like.

On the other hand, the situation in the Valley too is extremely turbulent and there is no semblance of normalcy. Young boys are picking up guns, counter insurgency forces are hunting for them and in between the killing rate of unarmed civilians is rising with every passing day, furthering the alienation broadening the scope of more protest, subsequently more deaths.

In this backdrop, the words of wisdom and peace have undoubtedly come as music to the ears. The two countries need to talk to resolve all issue. They have fought wars and proxy wars but these have neither changed the geography nor history. Instead, the history stands witness that whenever a dialogue process was initiated between the two country, it had always a very positive impact not only along LoC and IB but also inside Kashmir Valley.

Now that the military leadership has spoken its mind out, time is that the political leadership gathers courage and will and makes efforts to break the ice. The leadership of the two countries can take a cue from former Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Vajpayee while extending hand of friendship towards Pakistan had said : “You can change your friends but not neighbours.” Therefore, it is better to live as good neighbours and for that dialogue is the key.

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