In Favour

—Palak Sharma

According to Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Peace can’t be discussed under a showers of bullets.

The dialogue process between Pakistan and India-Pakistan: Her relations with India’, Y.V. Chavan, the Defence Minister in 1966 says, “In our part, however, we have offered a hand of friendship to Pakistan and we hope they will accept it. If they do, it will be a turning point in the history of the two countries and will bring happiness Palak sharma and prosperity to the people of the subcontinent.” 50 years later, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi was also not able to touch that peace chord when he visited his Pakistani counterpart Mr. Nawaz Sharif, on his birthday. Because what followed, unaware of this newly found friendship was an attack on the airbase of the Indian defence force in Pathankot. ‘A hand of friendship’ was offered to Pakistan both in 1966, after the signing of the Tashkent Agreement and also now when the ‘Prime Ministerial Protocol’ was changed to accommodate a com­radeship with Sharif. This old adage is certainly true for Pakistan—Old habits die hard. There hasn’t been one friendly posture on Pakistan’s part that would remunerate our efforts towards negotiating peace.

Pakistan was founded on com­munal hatred and violence preached for years by the leaders of the Muslim League. Small wonder, the birth of Pakistan witnessed one of the most terrible orgies of blood-letting the world had ever seen. The monster of communalism, nurtured and reared by the fanatical leaders of the two religions, could not be calmed over­night, least of all in Pakistan, where those very leaders were at the match of affairs. The Indian -leaders of

 

Congress were we’dded with the idea of secularism and democracy.

As India and Pakistan began their separate existence, Shri Jawahar Lai Nehru observed : “All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or action.” Where India started moving on the path of secularism, Pakistan, however, con­tinued to display the extremist characteristics. Two months follow­ing the Partition brought to light assistance of Pakistan to every anti- India activity and ultimately Kashmir acceded to India, its defence became our responsibility. Since then, there has been no looking back for Pakistan, with every small opportunity, it has tried to seize the peace and secula­rism of India. India had always shown exemplary patience and good faith towards Pakistan, handing over a big sum of ? 550 million as ‘its share of the cash balance of un­divided India’ commenting on which Nehru said, “We have come to this decision in the hope of this generous gesture, in accord with India’s high ideals and Gandhiji’s noble standards, will convince the world of our ear­nest desire for peace and goodwill.”

Now is the time to act tough. Anti-Indianism is now a part of Pakistan’s blood and DNA itself. C. Christian Fair, noted US Scholar on Pakistan, was prescient when, follow­ing the day of Gurdaspur incident, she said that, “failure to respond vigorously will surely encourage further Pakistani adventurist terrorism.” Accordingly, she argued that India should “develop a suite of policies that will impose significant and escalating costs upon Pakistan, diplomatically, politically and mili­tarily.” A blind trust in a foreign government and foreign leadership is always a risky affair. So far the history of the two nations had seen more negatives than positives in the
balance sheets. If we ignore the history, we might be condemned for repeating it.

Christmas 2015 was the day when creating history, Prime Minister Modi took a surprise trip to Lahore, conveying and wishing birthday greetings to Sharif. 11 years ago in 1999, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had made a visit by bus to Lahore and Nawaz had welcomed him warmly. The dream being shattered by Kargil War that followed.

Trust but verify is a Russian proverb. The Modi-led group took to it with the ‘fanatic faith of a neo­convert’ thinking that a few ‘prime ministerial embraces’, ‘personal gifts’ and ‘pious declarations’ were all that was needed to change the way two old enemies treated and treatied with each other. They forgot the second part of the proverb-to verify and to maintain vigil. And hence, India got ‘Pathankoted’ in five days. Intro­ducing his book. ‘Jinnah Often Came to Our House’, Kiran Doshi, a former envoy to Pakistan said, “Normalising relations with Pakistan in very diffi­cult.”

Though there are myriad ‘free and frank conversations’ going on between the tv^o countries, but extremists’ activities have no point of ceasing.

Our attempts at establishing peace in Pakistan and India through negotiations is unyielding and is acting as an opportunity for Pakistan to hatch conspiracies for decades. There has been an obstinate and unrelenting behaviour on Pakistan’s side to acknowledge the peaceful efficacy of peaceful relations with India though Prime Minister Sharif called up Modi from Sri Lanka, following the peace process of Pathan­kot terror attack and spoke for fifteen ministers, reiterating the, ‘importance of continuing the peace process’. Peace postures and gestures from Jawahar Lai Nehru to Prime Minister Modi, even in the face of Pakistan’s unabated onslaughts and through

direct or proxy wars unleased in Jammu and Kashmir clearly indicated India’s tilt towards peaceful co­existence. There have been several incidents indicating the transparency of Pakistan’s extremist ideas, pointing towards the Pakistani diplomacy. The Mumbai attacks of 26/11, had the backing of Pakistani intelligence agency 1ST Though PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee on October 22,               2003

followed by former External Affairs Minister Mr. Natwar Singh, resumed diplomatic ties with the state of Pakistan, Delhi-Lahore Bus Service, Samjhauta Express, air services, Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus link (with effect from April 7, 2005), Khorakpur- Munnaho rail link (with effect from February 2006) and Amritsar- Nankana Sahib bus service (flagged off by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Amritsar on March 27, 2006) were started to foster unbreakable ties, there is hardly any praiseworthy counterstep from their side. Liberal visa facilities and allowing senior citizens of both countries to cross Wagah border without hassels of visa formalities have been another friendly step that counts. The acid test of all these peace gestures with Pakistan would have been its stop­ping the cross-border terrorism which unfortunately did not stop even then. Without a tinge of red in shame, they refused our demand for handing over underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and Hijbul Majahideen Supremo Syed Salahuddin.

India should follow a counter force doctrine now when the water has taken a rise above the limits. Talk and terror cannot go together. Pakistan has been at the best of diplomatic relations and yet con­cealed the dagger it kept to stab us at the back. Indian army must change its strategic informations into more mobile and learner units which must be capable of swift and sudden retaliation in case of another terror attack. India must not allow herself to be fooled by the likes of ‘Hindi-Chini- Bhai-Bhai’ slogans and hence she must never lower her guards. If Pakistan is not willing to shun its locus standi of sabotaging India’s peace initiatives, then even by sign­ing a no-war pact- India shouldn’t be hushed and lulled in silence over Pakistan’s diplomacy.

 

Like the attacks at Gurdaspur and Udhampur in 2015, the terrorist attack on the Pakistan’s side at Pathankot airbase is another point on the continuum of the Pakistan Army- ISI sponsored proxy war to bleed India through a thousand cuts. It must be seen as an act of war and must not go unpunished. How long will India keep its patience at bay and forget what the terrorists from Pakistani outfits stab on ? It would go way too much for a country like India, known across the world for its tranquillity to follow Nicolas Cean- sescu when he said at a Communist Party meeting on December 17, 1989 that, “you do not quieten your enemy by talking with him like a priest, but by burning him.”

Instead, keeping up the serene image of India but still retaliating the acid attacks by Pakistan Army-ISI collaboration, Henry Clay’s speech excerpt in Congress, spoken of Josiah Quincy would after all hold high— “The gentleman cannot have for­gotten his sewn sentiment, uttered even on the floor of this house, ‘peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must’.” It is definitely not India who wants a war but ‘war begins when you will, but they do not end when you please’, as said by Nicolas Machiavelli, a Florentine statesman and political philosopher.

Against

—Rakesh Kumar Khanagwal

The attacks on Pathankot have re-opened the debate between those who believe that talks with Pakistan are futile and those who believe that talks should be a part of the diplo­matic procedure with Pakistan in the same way as it is with other coun­tries. The Secretary of State, John Kinby Rakesh Kumar of the United States Khanagwal also telephoned the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and “landed his role in carefully tackling the situation” and expressed the hope that “talks between Pakistan and India would continue dispite efforts to thwart the process.” Jammu and Kashmir is restive; with the possi­bility of the President’s rule. An Afghan settlement remains elusive. And of course the threat of terrorism
from insiders as well as outsiders is troubling us. Hence, making Pakistan a stakeholder in regional security never assumed such critical impor­tance as today.

Pakistan seems to have changed in many ways. It seems to feel the exhaustion that comes out of over­stretch. Pakistan’s reluctance to travel with Saudi Arabia on regional Security testifies to fundamental rethink about the country’s future options.

Each time the decision was taken to talk to Pakistan, may it be at Lahore in 1999, at Agra in 2001 or Islamabad in 2004 or even at Thimpu at 2010, it proved to be good for the country. And each time a decision was made to end the dialogue, India found itself compelled to move away from its rigid conditions and demands. India has, time and again, recognised the utility of dialogue for the pursuit of tactical and strategic objectives vis-a-vis Pakistan. Diplo­macy and dialogue are the most effective tools to influence Pakistani behaviour. India needs to talk to Pakistan to drive home the point that since all efforts at altering the terri­torial status quo have failed, Islama­bad needs to work with New Delhi towards crafting a new solution.

Diplomacy in the modern era is the only way to go forward. War at this time is not a far game. Taking example of what is happening in Israel-Palestine war, we would only be losing the lives of millions of people^nd thousands of our soldiers. The world has been a witness to many wars from time immemorial, may that be Iraq-Kuwait war in 1990 and nothing has come out of that except bloodshed and loss of life and property.

Pakistan is a major trade partner for India and imports a lot of Indian manufactured goods. Scrapping the ties with Pakistan would mean loss of trade and the ties between the two countries would become more tense in the future. Any situation would have the potential of giving rise to aggression from either side and India would always have to be on the guard and spruce up its defences. Pakistan is a close neighbour of India. Any kind of conflict would affect the whole Southeast Asia in turn affecting investment and trade and commerce.

War is something which is not entertained by any country; common people don’t want war. War would divert all resources of the country towards defence rather than to the developing and manufacturing sector. India is a follower of the ideology of people like Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Buddha and we cannot take recourse to violence.

India could have better relations in terms of trade with all its neigh­bouring countries considering every neighbouring country is accessible by road and this includes Pakistan also. Trade builds a symbiotic relationship within countries. It is impossible for India to remain isolated from a country with whom we share a com­mon history, with the destabilisation of government in Pakistan, it only calls for greater caution on the part of India to monitor any threats beyond the control of the Pakistani govern­ment. A confrontation like Kargil will only further worsen the relations and also drain an even bigger chunk of the annual budget towards defence and military spending. India is already a global player in inter­national relations and key economic ally for major world economies.

 

The Indus River Treaty is a perfect example of a problem that both nations came together to solve and did so peacefully. Other terri­torial disputes like Sir Creek could doubtlessly be resolved with give and take from both sides. India should do more to bolster Pakistan’s economy. Pakistan has a huge community that is either secular in their outlook or believe in multiculturalism. End of one war sows seed for the next war.

Pakistan’s action against Jaish-e- Mohammad appears prudent and it also shows Pakistan’s willingness to get involved into talks with India.

There is no time more opportune than now to start talks with Pakistan. The fact that Pakistan has never acted in good faith is no excuse against diplomatic ties with Pakistan. Pakistan remains destablised because besides the state, Pakistan Military also holds the government strongly which prevents the Pakistani state to act in good faith. The terror organi­sations like Laskhar-e-Taiba or Jaish- e-Mohammad which terrorise India and are supposedly breeding in Pakistan, the same organisations have also started terrorising the very land

Talks with Pakistan are Nothing but an Exercise in Futility

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