There is no record of accomplishments for the two neighbors liberated from the British colonial yoke in 1947 of sitting down and coming up with a recipe of veritable peace and friendship. India will not give up her hold on Kashmir, nor will Pakistan or Kashmiri nation relinquish or forego their claim about holding a pledged plebiscite to elicit the local population’s opinion as to which country they would prefer to join.
The three wars, in 1948, 1965, and 1971 followed by brief skirmishes in Kargil in July 1999 have failed to bring about change of hearts on both the sides. The fact is that primarily it is Pakistan that would be the major beneficiary of the illusive settlement of the outstanding issues between India and Pakistan.
India’s military intervention in Bangladesh in 1971 led to the dismemberment of Pakistan and a humiliating defeat for the Pakistan’s armed forces. The Simla Agreement signed in 1972 between India and Pakistan, binds both the countries to settle all contentious issues via parleys to be conducted in the framework of the UN Charter.
Now building of 22 barrages by India on rivers emanating from Kashmir apart from being a violation of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, would give a complete control to India to stop or release water to Pakistan, which is a lower riparian. India agreed to sign Indus Basin Treaty because it deprived Pakistan of three rivers. Otherwise, she would have never agreed if such a treaty had impinged upon her interests.
There can never be a consensus agreement on water distribution and a workable arrangement for water share to Pakistan because India would never do anything that would even marginally benefit Pakistan. Indus Basin Treaty or no treaty, Pakistan agricultural sector would always remain at the mercy of India for release of water that she would do after taking care of her domestic needs.
Both the countries have not been able to smoothen and ease flow of cross border travel because of stringent visa rules that bar the travelers from either country to go beyond the cities specified in the passport. The intelligence operatives chase and keep a strict watch on the visitors until they depart. There have been many instances when a visitor was apprehended on mere suspicion and languished in Indian jails for years.
Good neighborly relations between Pakistan and India have remained elusive because there is no overwhelming goodwill or an earnest desire to resolve the contentious issues bedeviling their relationship for almost seven decades. At people’s level, the deep-seated animus can be witnessed when a match is being played or a situation of tension like the attack on a Bombay hotel arises.
Only the time would unravel if the future Afghan government would allow India to carry on its anti Pakistan activities and be able to incite pro-Indian Afghan and tribal militants against Pakistan for an insurgency. There are rumors that India was backing the insurgency now going on in Balochistan for separation. However, hopefully Pakistan would be able to stem the extremists’ militancy in Balochistan as it did in Swat, Dir, and Malakand and of late in South Waziristan.
Therefore, in the backdrop of this endemic and seething hostility, any goodwill visits to other country by politicians would hardly make any difference in generating genuine and sincere cordiality between India and Pakistan.