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India's Vision of Peace with Pakistan is a Mirage
|by Dr. Subhash Kapila|
India's vision of peace with Pakistan is a mirage, if unfolding events in Pakistan, the Middle East and the global strategic situation are taken into account. Much has been written in the past on this count and yet India persists in pursuing this mirage. Many American policy analysts also have conceded that Pakistan is an improbable partner for peace with India. They have arrived at this conclusion after a long study of Pakistan's policy attitudes and fixations and a survey of its demonstrated patterns of approaches to conflict resolution.
The most significant obstacle in an India-Pakistan peace dialogue or peace process is that the perceptions on peace differ. So also are the differences in approaches to establishing peace.
India believes that peace with Pakistan can be brought about by adopting the route of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), focusing on the civil society in Pakistan as the core of an enlarging peace constituency in Pakistan. It believes that this route may lead to the removal of distrust as more people to peoples contact grow. Eventually this could lead to more mutual confidence enabling resolution of contentious issues between the two countries , including Kashmir
Pakistan's perception of peace with India is seen through the route of first resolving the Kashmir dispute (on Pakistani terms) and that this will itself will be the biggest CBM to enable other CBM's to follow on the road to peace.
Both India and Pakistan are mistaken in their respective approaches to peace between the two countries. India fails to realize that in a country like Pakistan under long spells of military rule, including the present regime, no space is given for the existence of viable, prominent and enlarged 'civil society' or 'peace constituencies' as they negate the very justification for military rule in Pakistan. Pakistan on the other hand is mistaken that India under any political dispensation will ever part with Kashmir or concede to the Pakistani General's outlandish proposals of joint sovereignty over Kashmir or the Chenab Formula'both proposals designed to secure a backdoor Pakistani entry into Kashmir by other means.
The regional events in the Middle East are being interpreted by Pakistani intelligentsia as a bid by the United States to reorder the Muslim World. Israel is being projected as America's surrogate for executing this design. The Pakistanis are now propagating that India will be the next American surrogate entrusted to reorder Islamic Pakistan. The Pakistani intelligentsia is currently engaged in conspiracy theories of projecting the Middle East conflict in civilisational terms as a struggle between USA/West and the Muslim World.
When such mindsets exist within the policy establishment of Pakistan how can India hope that peace with Pakistan is possible and that peace is also the end-game of Pakistan's approaches to a dialogue with India. Mumbai 7/11 bombings by Islamist religious terror groups based in Pakistan and last week's expulsion of an Indian diplomat by Pakistan do not indicate that Pakistan is sincere in its pledges of peace between the two countries.
India should move away from this mirage. While maintaining the minimum modicum of diplomatic propriety in its relations with Pakistan, accompanied by a firmness in dealing with provocations,, it should focus its gaze on the larger canvas of a liberalized world.
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