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Peace Constituency and India

The stalemate between Pakistan and India continues. Pulwama attack has further deepened the animosity between them. The attack seems to be the outcome of Indian repressive policies in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. “The prospects for sustained and meaningful engagement look rather slim as India prepares for general election this year.” The mutual acrimony continues in the public domain. India cannot even appreciate Pakistan’s goodwill gesture of allowing the mother and wife of Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav (the Indian Spy) to meet him in Islamabad on 25 December 2017. The ceasefire violations are also carry on at the Line of Control and the Working Boundary. The world is rightly concerned about the ongoing tension between the two nuclear powers. However, “the major powers have not been able to contribute in any significant way to promote peace in the region and influence India to shuPeace Constituency and India
ng Pakistan. The country is also working to intricate matters between Pakistan and Afghanistan under the US watch. On the other hand, India continues with its growing violations of human rights in Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir. It is too “riding roughshod over Pakistan’s legitimate objections to India’s building of dams on the Western rivers in violation of the Indus Waters Treaty.”
Pakistan has been consistently talking about normalization of relations with India, but the latter has not been responding positively. The Modi government, when it comes to Pakistan, seems to be under the total influence of the extremist RSS, whose anti-Pakistan sentiments are well-known. The Indian military establishment also appears to be disinclined to settle issues like Siachen and Sir Creek. Largely, “traditional peace constituency in India seems to be on the back foot and fast losing its relevance to putting the dialogue process back on track.” Moreover, about 90 per cent of the Indian Army’s weapons and command and control structure are Pakistan-specific. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) year book 2018, India is world’s number one major weapons importer and its import has been augmented by 24 per cent over the last 10 years that compels Pakistan to revise its security calculations according to new strategic realities in the region.
In fact, India has moved on from its policy of nuclear deterrence to nuclear war fighting capabilities, and is keen on acquiring Anti-Ballistic Missile System, which will not only weaken the existing nuclear deterrence but may also accelerate an interminable nuclear arms race in the region. Furthermore, its Cold Start Doctrine or Proactive Operation against Pakistan through limited war in time and space dimension under the nuclear overhang is well-known. Pakistan does not want an arms race in the region, neither conventional nor nuclear. It expects that the international community will not contribute towards creating further asymmetry in conventional and non-conventional weapons in the region. There is a need to understand the fact that confidence building measures are a precondition to establish normal relations between Pakistan and India. Undoubtedly, the issues, which were mutually decided to be covered in the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) in 2015 like peace and security, confidence-building measures, Jammu & Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project, trade and economics, counter-terrorism, narcotics control, humanitarian issues, people-to-people exchanges and religious tourism need to be addressed with sincerity.
“The challenges, which hinder Pakistan-India peace process, have to be simultaneously addressed by India for the sustainability of the dialogue such as: no violations of Line of Control and the working boundary.” SAARC, too, has been a victim of Indian arrogance. Since the establishment of the organization, India’s role has always remained a matter of concern. “The 19th SAARC summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November 2016, had to be cancelled as India refused to attend invoking the alibi of terrorism.” India should stop issuing belligerent statements against Pakistan. If the latter persists in its unfriendly propaganda against the former, it will reinforce mutual antagonism and mistrust. Rather, the comprehensive security of South Asia demands from India and Pakistan that they should focus together on the imperatives of resumption of meaningful dialogue to normalise their relations for the betterment of their people.
—The writer works at Islamabad Policy Research Institute, a think-tank based in Islamabad.