End hostilities, start talking sense!
Escalations between India and Pakistan are increasing in view of the recent Pulwama incident. The temperatures in political circles are soaring, common masses of both the countries are hurling the choicest abuses at one another on social media while as TV channel studios are adding fuel to the fire with pseudo-political analysts from both the countries spitting venom against each other. The borders skirmishes are on the rise and the armies of two nations, it seems or is being projected as, have almost pulled up their socks for a war.
Both the countries have started mock drills of warfare jets and other armoury. Borders are loaded with heavy artillery on both the sides and one can hardly ignore the dangerous signs that are indicative of a a war like scenario. The fear-psychosis is growing among common people.
Though these two nations have fought several battles in the past but the war which is on cards can prove extremely hazardous, in fact deadly, for both the countries. Unlike past wars between these two countries, the new war will be altogether different as both India and Pakistan now possess nuclear arms. The very idea of nukes brings in the fear of the entire sub continent getting wiped off from the world map. Any flare-up can be disastrous for both the nations.
Given the statistics of a world at this point in time, the magnitude of destruction can’t be estimated as there is enough nuclear arsenals which can destroy a large part of the world. Both the neighbours are living on a pyre, and any ignition can explode them into pieces.
What is needed, at this point in time, is to explore all options which can help the two South-Asian giants to develop healthier ties for a peaceful co-existence.
Though it may sound very rudimentary now, but both India and Pakistan share a very unique cultural and geographical bond. It is also a fact that there are places of religious significance that attract thousands and thousands of people from one country to another to pay their obeisance’s at their respective pilgrimage sites, these and other links must be explored and restored in order to boost people-to-people contacts and a better understanding of the scenarios. Both India and Pakistan are undoubtedly nuclear powers but both have face staggering issues of poverty, inequality, agricultural woes as well equitable development.
Tourism is an important link between the nations that can make their relations cordial and healthy. Common masses visit the territories of each others countries; it bridges the gaps between the nations and reduces the amount of hatred and jealousy. Ironically, the two nuclear nations of South East Asia have restricted pilgrimage tourism, particularly on the Indian side. The pilgrims visiting Ajmer Shareef have been banned. It will only add to the animosity. The two nations should make it easy for their respective citizens to visit the territories of each other’s countries. Students should be given special scholarships for acquiring education.
Trade is the most important connection between the two nations which can improve their bilateral ties and can be instrumental in their progress. Culminating trade relations will only push them into backwardness and enmity. This is not the time for anger and rather the policy makers should show some foresightedness and see how all the impending issues could be resolved for the sake of larger humanity. The leaders and politicians of the two nations should prove themselves as true statesmen and desist from issuing statements that are threatening the harmony and flaring up the communcal atmosphere.
These two Asian countries have the potential to grow as very strong economies of the world. But the growing expenditure on defence has crippled the economies and as a result the living standard of the masses remains below par. There is a lot of scope for improvement in health sector, education, basic amenities like pure drinking water, electricity etc but the political class in both India and Pakistan have been flaring up the war rhetoric and a sense of animosity as and when it suits their political agendas and vote bank tactics.
Instead of accusations and counter-accusations, the leadership from both the countries should discuss all the issues amicably. Wars can’t resolve issues but can turn them more complicated and uglier. Escalations will surely strain the relations between the two nations and one can only hope that the leaders will display statesmanship gestures for the restoration of peace and tranquillity in their respective countries as well as in the whole of the sub continent. We want to see the end of hostile atmosphere and dialogue is the only way to resolve issues without bloodshed and violence. The writer is a Teacher, Columnist, Poet, Orator and Social activist. He can be reached at [email protected]