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Essay: India – Pakistan relations by Rabia Umaima Ahmed

The citizens of the world are divided into different countries and nations. They are dependent on each other for their political, cultural, economic and strategic interests. Sometime, there are harmonious relations among the nations and sometimes, states go on war if their national interests are at stake. Before the World War II, most of the wars were fought in the name of religion, even though their motives were still economical gains. Maybe, it was due to the underlying selfish nature of the humans that was reflected in statecraft, in accordance to the theory of realism. The world map changed post WW-II.”Jewel in the crown” broke down in 1947 and the two new states emerged; India and Pakistan.

Since then, both the states lived as hostile neighbours. These sentiments have not only reflected in their policy making, but also among their citizens. The rhetoric and the hate speeches of the politicians and religious sections on both the sides as well as the element of the non state actors, intelligence agencies and the media played a vital role, in putting down the strategic, social, political and economical fabric of the region.

Now, after the two generations since the independence, we have enough indices to realize where we are standing. The developed world is progressing at a high pace and unless we pull up our socks, we will be left behind. Among the common masses, this “conspiracy theory” keeps getting acceptance that the West does not want South Asia to flourish for its vested interests and strategic and economic gains. But if we get out of our slumber, there is much going on even in this region even in the presence of such conspiracy theories. For instance, if China keeps developing, then by 2030, it would become the largest economy of the world and India is expected to be the third largest economy. What South Asia needs to make sure the economic supremacy in the world is the economic union in the region.

As stated above, both India and Pakistan had adopted a confrontational mode since the independence. Not only the state machinery, but the citizens also remained on the level of discomfort and disharmony for each other. That all resulted in wars and a vicious arm race. Now, both the countries have a record of spending major share of bucks in terms of defence in their annual budget. It seems they are more determined to test new missiles than focusing on much needed social welfare. Whenever, there is any turmoil between both the countries, or there is any tension on the line of control, the analysts start talking about the expected nuclear war. To make the dream of economic union come true for the welfare and betterment of the region and these countries, we need to develop harmony and the relationship of peace while reclaim the sovereign equality.

Let’s have a quick eye on the problems that both the nations are suffering. Both are struggling against the rise in the population and the lack of resources to feed them, illiteracy and unemployment is a mutual curse, the ethnic and social divide is there, and foremost, both are dealing the menace of extremism and terrorism in one form or other. There are certain separate movements in both the countries and there is deteriorating law and order situation. The cumulative effect of all of them is the decline in the living standards of the people on the both sides and the violation of human rights.

Do the people deserve such state of affairs or do they dream for a better and progressive future? Keeping all these conflicts under consideration, there is a school of thought that exists in both countries – the young, educated and sensible generation, which believe that India and Pakistan should act maturely now. Not only as the states, but even the citizens should learn to coexist as peaceful neighbours. Following the voice of sanity, various steps are being taken by NGOs, Media Houses, Social Activists and few politicians. They are building bridges across the borders to spread peace through dialogue. Artists are strumming the cords of love. Social activists are engaging people from all walks of life to understand the message of harmony. Writers have spilled the ink of prosperity and progress. Midst the drums of wars, there are such ‘rebellions’, who believe in peace and coexistence, and who have waved the flag of friendship.

Even though such segment of citizens is working on their own, but not all works as bottom up approach. There is an urgent need of the bottom down strategy as well. i.e., the role played by the states as a policy. Heads of the states are the main pawns in the game. Regional Organizations need to work hard to fill in the gaps. Trade and business sectors can help in making the economy strong. Exchange student programs should be promoted and the curriculum should be revised. States should take firm actions against those who are culprits of instability. All the stake holders of the State should be addressed with the pros and cons of the present situation. This can be done by think tanks and the strategists with the will to promote harmony and stop the war hysteria.

On both the sides, humans exist. When we talk of humans, we talk of life. God created us with a brain and a heart, so He could test us. Borders are those boundaries which are only drawn to keep people in their respective areas to avoid certain conflicts. But it surely does not mean that we start living in hate and state of denial of each others’ realities.

It may seem a tiresome task, as the mindsets do not change overnight. It takes ages to bring a change. History has shown that the courage needed to reconcile is far greater than the courage needed to confront. Someone has to take the lead. It surely will result in the reciprocation, as the global conscience does support the peace and harmony in this region. There is no magic wand to make it happen in a while. And we may not be able to see the fruit of it in our lifetime, but our future generations would relish it. We should not inherit the same environment of fear and mutual hatred to our next generations. Let these ills become the part of history. Let the flag of brotherhood rise, instead of the beats of the war drums.

Written by:
Rabia Umaima Ahmed
M.A. (Diplomacy and Strategic Studies / Punjab University)

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