INDIA AND PAKISTAN RELATIONS: Essay Topics

English_Master June 4, 2016 No Comments

INDIA AND PAKISTAN RELATIONS

The divide and rule policy of the British resulted in the partition of the country into India and Pakistan in 1947. Relations between the two countries have remained strained ever since. The ceasefire Agreement that was reached through the mediation of the United Nations established the ceasefire line. In 1965 and later in 1971, Pakistan attacked India but on both the occasions, it was defeated. The territorial gains made in these wars were aborted for empty promises of establishing peace and tranquility in the region, at the Tashkand Summit and by the Shimla Agreement. The Shimla Agreement bound the two countries not to resort to force for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute and termed the ceasefire line as the Line of control (LOG) distrust between the two countries persisted because Pakistan continued to amass weapons of mass destruction and nuclear warheads in its arsenal. Simultaneously, it sent armed militants to Punjab and Kashmir for abetting violence and has also remained a subject of dispute between the two countries. Talks over a “no-war-act” were put across to Pakistan by Pt. Nehru in 1948 and pursued by successive Prime Ministers which till date have yielded no result. The two countries gained the reputation of being nuclear power, which has further aggravated the situation in the sub-continent. The bus diplomacy, undertaken by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, proved a failure because military skirmishes in the Siachen region and in some parts along the LOG increased. A big blow was received by India when Pakistan sent armed infiltrators across the LOG in Kargil, while the country was basking in the glory of the supposedly successful peace talks. Our Prime Ministers from Pt. Nehru to Mr. Vajpayee lacked foresight  and remained gullible they trusted the double stand of Pakistan, which declared its good intentions towards resolving the issue and simultaneously waged clandestine wars. Kargil has exposed the short sightedness and a lack of strategic vision of India towards its Defence.

There was much hype and hoopla as also great expectations to resolve the decades old Indo-Pak impasse when, on the initiative of India’s Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Gen. Pervez Musharraf landed in India in July 2000. Against the backdrop of the eternal dream in marble, the Taj Mahal in Agra, millions in India, Pakistan and many parts of the World sat glued to their TV sets for two days running to see a sensational  drama rising to high expectations and then all on a sudden, the plot taking a twist and ending in a tragic anticlimax, as the leaders of the subcontinent, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Prime Minister of India and the President of Pakistan Gen. Pervez Musharraf, failed to set a date with destiny. Everyone knows that the imbroglio of Kashmir which has bedeviled the relations between India and Pakistan right from Independence which has brought about an unbridgeable divide between the two countries and which has triggered at least tour wars and a more lethal proxy war, cannot be solved with a slight of hand but the leaders assembled in Agra, the media persons and political analysts covering the great event, minute by minute, and the billions who looked forward to a break-through at last hoped that like the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore declaration, an Agra declaration would be forthcoming laying down cardinal guidelines of mutual cooperation on all outstanding issues including Kashmir that neither a job it declaration nor a joint statement could be issued after several hours of meeting between the President of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of India and the ceaseless meetings between the Indian ministers and secretaries and their counterparts in Pakistan all through July 15 and 16, 2001 showed the abysmal differences in perception on various Indo-Pak contentious issues including Kashmir between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Kashmir! Kashmir! Kashmir! An obsession that Pakistan and Pakistani leaders be they the civilian leaders or the four military dictators including the fourth military dictator-turned president Pervez Musharraf can hardly get over even after 54 years during which the world has changed a lot for the better. There is an expanding constituency of enlightened opinion across the subcontiental divide that would like India and Pakistan to enter the vast untraded territory of opening up the great frontiers of economic , cooperation, trade and commerce, promoting greater social and cultural interaction and getting to grips with a host of other problems that have a bearing on the Present and future of the people of both the countries. Individually and collectively, the people of both the countries cherish a sincere desire to come together on all fronts since they have a common heritage, History and geography which the gory nightmare of partition has not been able to erase and which religious bigotry has not been able to submerge. Some public opinion at different levels in both the countries shares the optimism that together Pakistan and India, if they give up obsession over Kashmir have  would to win and can march on a high road to prosperity and progress.

It is this wider concern to address a vast spectrum of the totality of issues or Possibilities that made Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee announce a serf of Confidence Building Measures (CBM) ahead of the Agra Summit  measures that could bring, the people of Pakistan and India and the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Jammu and Kashmir together. India was keen to break the moth-eaten mindset of the total preoccupation with Kashmir and open fresh avenues of friendship that could build up trust between people and leaders which was why we had in Agra senior ministers like, Mr. Yashwant Sinha (Finance) and Mr. Murasoli Maran (Commerce & Industry) apart from the Prime Minister, the Home Minister Mr. L. K. Advani and the External Affairs and Defence Minister Mr. Jaswant Singh, India knew that Pakistani leadership’s overplaying of the Kashmir issue has made both the countries drift from each other to such an extent that a spark is enough to ignite a nuclear holocaust by intent or accident, a great optimist Mr. Vajpayee refused to mull over a dosed door but was prepared to see the hundreds of doors that are open and that can bring the people together.

With all the hype and the swirling rumours from New Delhi and Agra on July 14 and 15,2001 that the talks were moving on a positive course, things were just the contrary that both India and Pakistan were in fact, moving on parallel lines. While India was for a composite dialogue, well geared to get to grips with all the outstanding problems, the nuclear issues, the demilitarization of Siachen, no war declaration, exchange of prisoners of war, economic cooperation, relaxation of travel restrictions, curbing trans border terrorism, a vast range of other confidence building measures and of course, Kashmir, Pakistan had only one and only one topic on its agenda—Kashmir. Accordingly, both the president the small delegation and the media persons from Pakistan had come to India well prepared to discuss Kashmir and nothing else. In fact, the various pre-summit meetings the President took with different shades of opinion in Pakistan and the different speeches he made and interviews he gave to newspapers indicated that Pakistani leadership was seized of this monomania.

On the eve of his crucial summit, in an interview with Gulf News. President Musharraf rejected both the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore declaration between India and Pakistan saying the two accords does not address the main issue of Kashmir. He also said that any move to convert the present line of control (LOG) between India and Pakistan into an international border would not be acceptable to Islamabad and Pakistan’s fourth military ruler was in no mood to make an idea of concessions on the rigid stand of the basic form of dialogue that he would have with India. At the Editors conference in Agra on July 16,2001 he ridiculed Vajpayee’s CBMS and harped on his familiar theme of Kashmir, treating it as the most important among the CBMS. He totally ignored India’s plea made during his meetings with Mr. L.K. Advani in New Delhi on July 14, 2001 and the eight-hour long meetings with the Prime Minister of India in Agra on two successive days for stopping the movement of terrorists from Pakistan side. Mr. Musharraf was never tired of saying that he had come to India with an ‘open mind’, in effect, it was ‘open’ only to Kashmir but dosed to all other bilateral issues including the genesis of the Kashmir problem and the continuing bloodbath it has triggered. The invasion of Kashmir by Pakistani troops in 1947 and the proxy war that began in 1989 that has killed more people than all the four Indo-Pak wars put together to presume that India would hand over Kashmir on a platter to Pakistan just because the majority of the people of Kashmir are Muslims or that India would be browbeaten into submission by the unbridled militant activity, fully supported by Pakistan, is a bitter reality Pakistan must learn to recognize. Ahead of the Agra Summit, bath the Prime Minister and the foreign minister had made it clear that Kashmir was an integral part of India it was also the unanimous view of the all party meeting held by the Prime Minister that they should get out of the “narrow approached” of the past and tackle the totality of the bilateral relations trade and commerce easier communications and travel between the people of the two countries, the problem of cross border terrorism and the nuclear question.

That India had a liberal approach to break the thaw must be widely recognized and the magnanimity and the great statesmanship of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee must be recognized, a fact acknowledged by no less a person than Pervez Musharraf, die architect of the Kargil war Mr. Vajpayee knows that when he was shaking hands with the Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif in Lahore early in 1999, the military was preparing for the conflict in Kargil. Despite Kargil, the betrayal of the Lahore declaration and the killings of the innocents and the security personnel in the valley by mercenaries exported by Pakistan are acknowledged as the hub o{ international terrorism even by USA. Mr. Vajpayee invited and talked to a leader of Pakistan who is still responsible for the bloodbath in the valley and who like other leaders of Pakistan, was unwilling to look beyond Kashmir at the total landscape of bilateral relations.

Like the Prime Minister of India, the President of India Mr. K. R. Narayanan, spoke from the core of his heart at the banquet he hosted in honour o the visiting president Gen. Musharraf on July 14,2001 said the president ‘Tomorrow, when you and the Prime Minister of India sit together in Agra for your dialogue, I hope, the face of the poorest person in this subcontinent will be before you and you will ponder together how this impoverished common man will be benefited by your deliberations and decisions. If this is held before you, I believe that all other issues between us will play into secondary importance and will become amenable to amicable and satisfactory solutions.”

The president also said that the two countries can also immensely benefit it they pooled together their significant achievements in the fields of science to economic development. In fact, the President mirrored the hopes and aspirations of the entire people of the subcontinent trapped in the quagmire of mistrust, hatred and a no win situation where both the governments are compelled to earmork a sizeable chunk of their budget for weaponry that could have gone for the development of the people for that to live in peace and mutual trust is essential. It was this ethos of the larger good of the people of the subcontinent that prompted India to present a comprehensive agenda at the Summit of Agra.

From the high pinnacle of hope of the previous two days, the talks at the summit took a downhill path on the last day when the blaze of excitement whimpered to a pervading gloom as the fundamental differences over Kashmir and trans-border terrorism led to a total breakdown of the talks. While India was prepared to go to some length to recognize Kashmir as the central issue, Pakistan was in no mood to acknowledge is support to cross border terrorism, which it described as a “freedom struggle”. And even on the last day of the summit, it was “business as usual” away in the Kashmir valley with 50 deaths reported in 24 hours, all triggered by militancy in a suicide attack, militants of the Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Ta iba stormed the Army Camp in Kupwara district killing five soldiers.

Images of the eventful past passed your mind’s eye one by one Gen. Ayub Khan and Lai Bahadur Shastri in Task end in 1965, India Gandhi and Zuifikar Ali Bhutto in Shimla in 1972 Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Mr. Nawaz Sharif in Lahore in 1999. The Task end spirit, the Shimla Agreement, the Lahore declaration and now the failed summit at Agra. Where do we go from here? The Prime minister, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee has accepted the invitation of the Pakistani President to visit mat country before the end of the year. And in between, the two leaders might meet again at the UN in September and at the SAARC meeting. In what ways the fallout from Agra will influence the future of the bilateral relations remains to be seen. While the President of Pakistan has made it clear that there is no military solution to the Kashmir issue in the course of his speech at the banquet hosted by the Indian President on July 14, 2001. He is in no frame of mind to rein in the forces that infiltrate the border and wreak havoc day after day in Jammu and Kashmir and Mr. Vajpayee knows that rhetoric has to be treated as mere rhetoric and he warned in Agra on July 16,2001 that “no one should think that India does not have the resolve, strength or stamina to continue resisting terrorism and violence” Still, recently during two day visit in April 2003 to Kashmir: Vajpayee extended a hand of friendship towards Pakistan and to prove that he I sincere in improving the relationship with Pakistan. India announces t§| re-appointment of her High Commissioner in Islamabad. At the same time Vajpayee declared that the talks to be held with Pakistan would be decisive.

An Indian journalist, who has just been to Pakistan says: “Bureaucrats are convinced Musharraf will bring more focus to the Kashmir issue expend more energies on it man politicians Critics, though say the army won’t allow any settlement on Kashmir, for it is their bread and butter. Yet again, a Pakistani analyst says: “army has come to dominate the polity they’ve to justify this domination and its existence. How else can they do this but by having strained relations with India? Only resolving the Kashmir issue can do then.

On the credit side, we might say that talks between India and Pakistan at the highest level have begun, the Agra fiasco notwithstanding. It is possible there might be more talks at ministerial and official levels in both Islamabad and New Delhi in the months ahead there may be mini-summits. For the alternative to talks are frightening. Neither of them can afford a war. A solution to specifics is possible only when there is trust and that is what is woefully lacking. And there is a yawning hiatus between rhetoric and reality. We saw how the lofty declarations made in Lahore were torn up in the aftermath of the Kargil war. The policy of give and take is never more relevant than now. Trust begets trust and it is now Pakistan’s turn to demonstrate it in abundant measure after me Agra summit, now mat India has gone at great lengths to create the cordial atmosphere in the subcontinent by its acts of forgiveness and forgetting, Let no Pakistan get away with the false illusion that it can wrest Kashmir at the point of gun. “Nothing endurable can be achieved through violence”, said Napoleon Bonapart. And this axiom found an echo in the Musharraf’s words when he himself admitted that there is no military solution to Kashmir. Kashmir is only a symptom of the larger malaise of mistrust between the two nations. Dissolve this mistrust and a solution to the problem will follow in accordance with the wishes of all concerned.

The Biggest setback to India in Kashmir is USA’s over dependence on Pakistan for its current military operations is Afghanistan. Neither the USA nor Britain can afford to antagonize Gen. Pervez Musharraf at this: stage that is carrying on his proxy war in Kashmir despite posturing to fight terrorism in Afghanistan along with the USA.