Pakistan-India: Chasing a mirage of victory!
India and Pakistan, two nuclear armed nations have fought wars, some large scale and some very calculated ones, and have done everything in their capacity to destroy each other. Indulged in the arms race, despite being poor, both the countries are apparently being exploited by a third party as a result of their unending conflicts and confrontations various issues- the major one being Kashmir. Sometimes, calculated escalations are choreographed- particularly during the election times for the sake of setting in the mood for the electorate.
The significant bone of contention between the two countries is Kashmir. Well, Kashmir is a dispute between India and Pakistan and has been the cause of wars and rivalry between the two nations for a few times. More importantly, it has been a source of deep suffering for the people of Kashmir as both countries while chasing a false vision of glory have done everything to make the lives of common people, more specifically Kashmiries, miserable. The amounts of money spend on defence and wars could have been better utilized for development and welfare. On the other hand, people of Kashmir want peace and conflict resolution and that is being denied to them once and again. Now, who so ever calls Kashmir as its ‘integral part’ or ‘jugular vein’, should be seen as antagonist to peace in Kashmir.
Since the beginning of armed resistance in Kashmir, India has done everything to control things and manage the conflict with its military might, taming of the local politicians, interfering in governance, rigging elections and pumping huge money for the aforementioned reasons. On the other hand Pakistan has provided all kinds of support to the armed rebels- some believe for avenging their defeat with India in a few wars while some other point out to it as a result of religious proximity of Pakistan with Kashmir.
However, it is worth mentioning here that India has only made half hearted efforts to reach out to the people of Kashmir and its Kashmir policy seems bereft of a sincere effort to arrive at a political solution of Kashmir issue. It must be understood that political problems can’t have military solutions, and attempts to continue military approach may only keep the violence cyclic here.
The recent Fidayeen attack in Pulwama Kashmir has again brought both the countries to a war like confrontation. The media is already there, war rhetoric has become a norm, and promises of action and retaliation are also being made by certain sections of Indian polity. The question is what options India and Pakistan have with regard to Kashmir? I believe there are four options: A full scale war; any action short of war; status quo; and political solution of Kashmir through dialogue.
While the first three options have been tested earlier and have failed to achieve anything for India, Pakistan or Kashmir, the fourth option seems the most viable one. It must be kept in mind that both India and Pakistan are nuclear armed nations and war would mean complete destruction which none can afford. It would also mean that the emerging powers in South Asia would be destabilized for next one hundred years or more. A controlled or small scale war can also prove destabilizing for both the countries as far as the international political dynamics are concerned.
The fourth and last option, in my opinion, is a pragmatic one that could lead to a political solution of Kashmir issue. It is through meaningful, consistent and time bound dialogue, that the two nations can resolve all the impending issues and usher a new era of prosperity in all of Asia. Now I am not an expert on conflict resolutions to deliberate on the modalities of such an option, but my simple question to people, at the helm of affairs in both the countries, is that if United States can talk to Taliban and try to find a political solution to the Afghan problem after 17 years of war, why can’t India and Pakistan take the same route, after four wars and around 70 years of rivalry?
Moreover, The Prime Minister of Pakistan, yet again offered talks with India regarding all impending issues in the wake of the Pulwama attack. Imran Khan, wile recating to the war euphoria created by the media in India, suggested restrain and said that peace was to be achieved only by way of dialogue. But, the statement of the Pakistan Prime Minister, it seems, didn’t evoke any similar response from the Indian side.
The writer has M.Phil in Psychology