Monday, July 26, 2010

India and Pakistan can never be Good Friends

July 27, 2010
India and Pakistan can never be Good Friends
By Saeed Qureshi
Mark my words Pakistan and India can never be good friends. Their coexistence as peaceful neighbours will remain doomed as long as either Pakistan is further dismembered or India is fragmented into many states like the Soviet Union way back in 1989.
India and Pakistan will never be able to sort out their mutual disputes and hammer out their amicable resolution. There is no precedent in the past that they finally found a mutually acceptable solution or agreement: be it the demarcation of borders, the apportionment of water from rivers flowing down into Pakistan or the paramount Kashmir issue.
There is no record of accomplishments for the two neighbours 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. Indian deems Kashmir as an integral part of Indian federation while Pakistan’s standpoint is that Kashmir is a disputed territory whose final status has yet to be determined by the people of Kashmir though a referendum.
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. For that matter, India would not let Pakistan off the hook lest it can move forward on a course of stability, progress, and prosperity.
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 as and when she would want it to do preferring first her own priorities and needs. Besides, Pakistan has remained under an unrelenting diplomatic, military, economic, and psychological pressure from India since the inception of both the states in 1947.
India would come to terms on such issues that benefit India economically and turn Pakistan into a market for disposal of her products both industrial and agricultural. 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 instances when a visitor was apprehended on mere suspicion and was kept in India jails to languish for years.
So the talk of CBMS is mere ploy to obfuscate the real issues. Both countries have varying and different interpretation for CMBS. For Pakistan, primarily it is the easy movement of citizens of both the states without much of harassment and strict conditions. For India, it is to allow India to export her goods to Pakistani without any let or hindrance. While Pakistan has ever remained ready to talk on substantive issues India’s priorities and prerogatives have been focused on pushing them to back burners or keeping in a state of limbo.
Pakistan and India can never be good friends and neighbors because there is no good will or an earnest desire that comes from heart to resolve the contentious issues bedeviling their relationship for over six 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 between the two countries. The Hindu extremists have been demonstrating the anti-muslim vendetta by lynching and burning the Muslims and their houses in ethnic and communal clashes.
The hate and the animosity have a history of a thousand years between the Muslims and Hindus. Hindus think that Muslims were primarily aliens and intruders into the sacred Hindustava or Bharat Mata and they have no right to live and survive in the Indian subcontinent. Muslims, though, have been rulers in India until the British came, seldom indulged in the persecution or ethnic cleansing or prolytizing their religious minorities. The Muslim rulers like Akbar married with Hindu women and invariably treated Hindu population well and on equal level.
So in my reckoning there will be another deadly war that might prolong or be of a short duration. In that war, India might be able to truncate Pakistan further. Pakistan as well may be able to capture some chunks of Indian Territory. If the war further lengthens, the economies of both the countries would suffer enormously. The Indian and Pakistan’s industrial productivity may be severely hampered and both would slide back to the acute poverty stage and thus wash off whatever economic progress they have made all these years.
If there were not armistice or ceasefire, both would proceed to annihilate each other with more brutal military adventurism, which may lead to the use of nuclear weapons in the final countdown. So with Indian and Pakistan bracing each other on diplomatic and military fronts all along might try to settle their scores on the battlefield, which would drastically change the contours of the present geographical complexion. Thus, more territorial disputes would arise and more bitterness would develop.
While Pakistan is caught in the throes of a civil war at home front and also fighting a proxy war for the west, it cannot afford to ignite a crisis situation that can lead to a war and military confrontation with India. But once it is free from Tribal and Afghanistan entanglements, it might pick up the courage to brace against India, as a matter of do or die option. Given the Indian expanding role in Afghanistan affairs, Pakistan is genuinely worried that it night get a push both from the eastern and western fronts once the foreign occupation troops leave Afghanistan.
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. However, hopefully Pakistan would be able to stem the extremists’ militancy as it did in Swat, Dir, Malakand and of late in South Waziristan.
Therefore, in the backdrop of this endemic and seething hostility, the Indian External Affairs Minister, S M Krishna’s three-day visit with a “message of peace and friendship from the people of India” to Pakistan was yet another futile attempt to mend fences between two inveterate adversaries. As the past betokens, there can be no breakthrough as such visits have been window-dressing and cosmetic without throwing up tangible outcome for a real era of friendship and peace to begin.
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  1. Dear Sir, as I am student of International Relations, my perceptions or assumptions are somehow different from you. I am looking hope towards the current ongoing talk between India and Pakistan. However, no doubt we have lost many opportunities when we would have resolved the issues but unfortunately we could not resolve. What were the reasons, it is not under discussion at this time. But it is a time for both the government to take and follow the best approach to resolve the issues whenever it would never be resolved. Actually, the dialogue process between India and Pakistan is started in 1997 to so on.

  2. Views of a common South-Asian, born at a place in present day Pakistan but forced to immigrate to present day India in 1947 :

    There is a strange relationship between the two look alikes--India and Pakistan. Like two brothers separated out of the family feud that is still live and haunting. Identical mind-sets--love, hate, jealousy, corruption and what not. They keenly observe what is happening on the other side of the wall. Rejoicing at each other's failures and infighting. Ever trying to establish superiority over the other.

    In the recent past India has fared somewhat well as compared to Pakistan specifically in the economic field and continuing democracy. Which is being distastefully acknowledged in Pakistan too. On the defence front too Pakistan knows who will be the greater looser in case of direct war. So proxy war goes on.

    India is afraid of Pakistan as one is afraid of a naghty boy with a stone in his hand lest he breaks the window panes of the house. Pakistan is afraid of formidable Indian hagemonic attitude specifically since 1971 trouncing.

    After the clear visibility of terrorising forces rampant in Pakistan, India no more wishes that the partition be undone. But India knows that the friendship with Pakistan, if ever materialises will be more beneficial to it as it is going to be more or less on its terms. But there are certain powerful breeds of religious bigots and feudal landlords in Pakistan whose long term interests lie in Indo-Pak enmity. These are the people who have so far succeeded in making the look alikes look opposites. These are the people who highjacked the success of creation of Pakistan in the name of M.A. Jinnah. Jinnah on his part had highjacked, in the name of creation of Pakistan, the success of independence of Pakistan from the hands of the combined leadership of India led by Gandhi, who had finally succeeded in getting the whole of British India free from the British rule.

    Sixty odd years are nothing in the life of a nation. South Asia was politically most united as British India, under foreign rulers and it is most united under indigenious rulers in different units of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh...

    The forced unnatural separations and unifications do not last long. Let us see which way the region goes under the current of terrorism, economic necessities and of course the aspirations of look alikes. The common people simply wish to live and let live peacefully.