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Make or Break Peace Dialogue!
|by Dr. Rajinder Puri|
For how long will India continue to waste time while dealing with Pakistan? The stalemate between both nations has spanned six decades. India’s progress on all fronts is impeded because of this albatross hung around the nation’s neck. The recent movement forward in peace talks has been derailed yet again by an incident on the border.
Pakistani troops crossed the ceasefire line to kill and mutilate two Indian soldiers. Pakistan disputes this version. Regardless, the fact remains that the border incident has set back the peace process. This writer has consistently argued about the futility of proceeding with the peace dialogue through small confidence building steps. The powerful vested interests against Indo-Pakistan peace can always halt the process through an engineered event. This has happened before. It has happened again.
Questions are being raised whether India should at all continue with the peace talks. The dichotomy between Pakistan’s recent professions of peace and its army’s actions on the ground has provoked allegations of doublespeak. One does not know if such dichotomy indicates doublespeak or the army’s division. One does not know whether General Kayani’s writ runs unchallenged over the Pakistan army or whether there are elements following their own agenda. This question has become irrelevant. Despite the sympathy one may summon for the sane and friendly elements inside Pakistan it is no longer possible to ignore the damage being inflicted on this nation. Pakistan must deliver. Failing that India must adequately respond.
This writer for over a decade has been stressing that there are two options for India, one hard and the other soft. The goal to be realized remains the same in the pursuit of either option. That goal is to reclaim the cultural nationalism of the region that allows its two peoples to live in peace and harmony with free movement between them.
The hard option will consist of breaking all cultural and trade ties with Pakistan, cut our diplomatic contacts to the barest minimum, and reduce our embassy in Islamabad to virtually an empty building. The option of breaking diplomatic relations altogether may not be ruled out. Pakistan should be left free to lean more heavily on China. China may be left free to prop up a crumbling Pakistan. Meanwhile India should respect the wishes of the people of Baluchistan who have sought independence ever since the Khan of Kalat demanded it from Mohammed Ali Jinnah.since 1947. India need offer no material or financial support to Baluchistan . Publicly declared moral support will suffice. There are enough elements in the rest of the world to aid Baluch freedom fighters.
If India were to pursue the hard option what would it lose? It would merely have to secure its borders firmly against a potential Sino-Pak axis which it has had to do for years now. With such a break between India and Pakistan China would have its hands full to keep Pakistan united. More significantly, it would be driven to choose between Pakistan and India which provides a substantial export market to Beijing. How will Beijing tilt? It is nobody’s case that the hard option is desirable. It is a last resort if Pakistan cannot be brought to the peace table with sincerity of intent. I believe that such a contingency need not arise. I believe that if India were to confront Islamabad with the choice between joint defence and the hard option, Islamabad would cooperate.
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