At a recent SAARC foreign ministers’ meet on the sidelines of UN General Assembly session in New York, the polarized Indo-Pak relations were once again visibly discernible. And the tensions between the two neighbours easily overshadowed anything that the said meeting could have been able to achieve. Though there are indications suggesting that the two nuclear-powers remain engaged in some kind of dialogue at some level, but given the fragility of their engagements and past track-records, one is not really sure about the outcome of such arrangements. Moreover, given the fact that when it comes to the issues between the two countries, the leadership in both tends to be more emotional than rational so as not to annoy their respective constituencies. So it goes without saying that the causes and reasons for pessimism are way too many than those for optimism and hope.
In the past as well, there have been innumerable instances and provocations from both sides so much so that the environment in the sub-continent has become hostage to so many factors and players who do not want to see peace flourishing permanently in the region. And such dangers loom even today from the people in both the countries within and outside of the governments. It will, therefore, be the magnanimity of the two states and their governments to again initiate and then save themselves from mutual allegations and mistrust. Unfortunately as of now, neither New Delhi nor Islamabad seem to possess the required intellectual capital to think beyond their immediate and narrow political considerations for the larger goal of peace and stability in South Asia and progress and welfare of its people. Clearly, the SAARC itself has been held hostage to the estranged relations between the two big countries, and is, as such, not able to deliver on the promises and potentials of such a regional grouping.
Today countries and communities world-over prefer peace to reap the economic harvests that enhance growth, development and influence of a country. In peace only could the general well-being of the people thought of in a planned manner and executed speedily to remove the blemishes of poverty, illiteracy, starvation from the face of otherwise resourceful countries. Plagued by all the ills of developmental lag, India and Pakistan need to give themselves a chance wherein instead of looking at and spending resources for territorial security they are able to concentrate on food and health security of their people. Once the two neighbours are calm and peaceful, then only can they take on the challenges of poverty and illiteracy and ensure better opportunities of growth and development of over one-sixth of the global population.
While every other region of the subcontinent will definitely win from constructive and meaningful Indo-Pak dialogue process, its benefits for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the actual victims of the confrontationist and belligerent attitude of the two countries, could only be imagined. Those who want to keep people of this Himalayan state reeling under cycles of renewed violence use different tactics to subvert the smooth dialogue process. Not only is the future of over 13 million Kashmiris held hostage to talks between India and Pakistan but the future of over 1300 million people of the two countries too is at stake. At a time when other countries seek help to develop infrastructure through the assistance of developed countries, India and Pakistan waste their resources to show down one another. The possession of nuclear capability has instilled a false ego in both countries which blurs their vision to see the mass poverty, illiteracy and other vices sapping their vitality.
In Jammu and Kashmir, continued violence has badly affected all spheres of life; the sense of security has long vanished and identified and unidentified killers are having a field-day here. The social fabric has degenerated to an extent wherein suicide has become an alternative to compromise; gap between the haves and have-nots has increased alarmingly giving false impression of growth and development which actually betrays reality. If the Kashmir imbroglio is resolved through peaceful means it will benefit one and all. For it dialogue process both between India and Pakistan as also between New Delhi and Srinagar needs to be resumed, and then undertaken honestly and purposefully.