Whither Dialogue

The peace process between India and Pakistan has again come to a grinding halt. This has yet again proved the fragile nature of the cooperation the two neighbours live in. The announcement of suspension of the peace efforts was this time announced by Pakistan’s envoy to New Delhi. It coincided with a new regime taking over in J&K that has improvement in bilateral relations as part of its common minimum programme.

India and Pakistan have lived in an atmosphere of animosity and suspension for their entire history. Though they share the common ancestry, history, culture and the ecology, they are divided on certain things which, if they will, could be settled quickly. Instead of making serious efforts in addressing the issues that divide them or prevent them from getting closer for mutual benefits, they have been enormously investing in their battling machinery. Their defence budgets, even if reduced by 10 percent, would trigger a major change in their socio-economic lives of the people separated by the Redcliff divide.

Off late, when the two countries became nuclear powers, they were pushed to a new system in which they can repeat the conventional wars they have engaged with each other more than once. Now they are restoring to other means of being at war. This is the real crisis, right now. Both the sides are paying dearly for this ‘war’ on economic fronts as third country manufacturers are availing their demographics to make profit on almost all fronts of activity including feeding their war machineries.

At a time when the Pakistani ruling elite is facing a serious challenge over the Panama Papers leak, the systems in Islamabad and Delhi have used the arrest of an alleged RAW officer and the Pathankote attack to retard the pace of a process that the two sides had reluctantly initiated.

The two countries can still survive with a one-aircraft-a-week connectivity and a literal verbal war over issues they are confronted with. But when it comes to J&K, the situation becomes messy. J&K is the only territory that has historically suffered on account of their animosity because this is the state where both sides open the fire. Once it happens, J&K became a mess. A disturbed Line of Control that separates J&K from PaK means an unstable state of affairs. As and when borders become active, the entire life in the hinterland gets immediately impacted.

The other reasons why concerns mount in J&K over the failure of two countries to get closer are that both the countries have historically contested each other in the undivided J&K. This is the main factor why Kashmir has been reduced to one of the most militarized inhabitations of the world. Coupled with the rise of fierce militant movement in 1990s, the situation has already led to the brutal slaying of at least one generation in the prime of their most productive phase of life.

This situation does not auger well for the new regime that was resurrected to power after painful re-negotiations. Regardless of their commitment to the peace process between India and Pakistan, a block in peace efforts will make this alliance increasingly unpopular and push it to towards a failure.


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