Since 1947, India and Pakistan have witnessed half a century long period of mistrust, hostility and confrontation. They have fought three wars during this period. At the time of independence they inherited many problems like Kashmir issue, Rann of Kutch dispute, Canal water dispute, division of assets, refugee problem and the problem of accession of states. Out of theses, Kashmir has been on the top of the list of irritants.
Brief History Of Dialogues:
The two countries have a history of unfruitful peace processes. In the 50s, as a follow-up to the UN Security resolution, the UN special representative Sir Owen Dixon tried to negotiate a settlement on his “partial plebiscite and partition plan”. Then in early sixties Bhutto and Sarwan talks were held without any significant headway.
After the 1965 war and in the post 1971, internal problems kept Pakistan focused domestically. In 1972, Simla Agreement was concluded. Under Simla Agreement the two countries agreed to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them.
In the 1990s, Kashmir resistance added a new dimension to the struggle there and brought renewed international focus on this issue especially in the context of human rights issue. From 1990 to 1994, seven rounds of foreign secretary level talks were held without any major breakthrough. In March 1997, talks were again resumed at foreign secretary level. In all four rounds were held in which foreign secretaries reached an agreement on 23 July 1997, lying down an eight-item agenda. This was the first time in their 50 year history that the two countries had agreed formally on pursuing an integrated and composite dialogue on all issues including outstanding issue of Jammu & Kashmir.
The period between 1997 and 1999 saw a significant development in the India-Pakistan peace process in the form of several summit level meetings between the two countries on the sideline of the UN annual sessions and other regional and international conferences. These high-level talks led to Lahore Summit in February 1999 in which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and PM Vajpayee signed Lahore Resolution as a genuine breakthrough in the history of the two countries. The two countries agreed “to intensify their efforts to resolve all issues including J&K. this indeed was a high watermark in India-Pakistan bilateral relations. But the peace process was soon interrupted when the two countries faced the Kargil issue.
A ceasefire at LoC in November 2003 with several mutual confidence building measures, including Pakistan’s assurance of not letting its territory to be used by any terrorist activity of cross-border infiltration as well as a constant pressure from influential outside powers led to the resumption of the stalled India-Pakistan dialogue in January 2004 on the basis of what is called ‘Islamabad Joint Statement of January 6, 2004”.
President Musharraf made unprecedented but unreciprocated gestures of flexibility. He proposed a four-point “out-of-box” solution of the Kashmir issue which involved dividing Kashmir in ethnic regions, their demilitarization, self-rule and a joint mechanism. But none of his gestures elicited, at least publicly any matching response from India.
Peace Process In Pause After Mumbai Attacks.
Unfortunately, the peace process was stalled again, when after the November 26, 2008 terrorist attack, India suspended the “Composite Dialogue” process.
On November 26, 2008 when some militants attacked multiple targets in Mumbai, in which some 182 people were killed, including nine terrorists and 22 foreign nationals and some further 327 received injuries. Relations between India and Pakistan had already been strained following a suicide attack on Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7, 2008, in which over 40 people were killed. The attacks in Mumbai served as a nail in the coffin as all fingers pointed to Pakistan.
Resumption Of Composite Dialogue-Present Condition:
With the US efforts, at a meeting between the PMs of the two countries on the sideline of the non-aligned summit in Sharm-el-Sheikh in July 2009, an agreement was reached for the resumption of dialogue.
However, the thaw came finally when India in February 4, 2010 offered to resume talks at foreign secretary level with Pakistan. Welcoming the move, Pakistan accepted the offer and a delegation went to Delhi on February 24, 2010 with the hope of recreating an atmosphere of friendship. The delegation had gone to New Delhi with a roadmap of guidelines leading to a potential resumption of Composite Dialogue, including an invitation for External Affair Minister S.M Krishna to visit Pakistan. During the meeting India handed over three dossiers to Pakistan and demanded that thirty-three individuals, including two serving Pakistani army officers and Indian fugitive allegedly involved in terror attacks, be handed over to India. However, the talks failed to melt the ice due to lack of trust between the two countries.
The pressure from USA as well as SAARC members played a vital role in bringing both the countries to some sort of an agreement in Bhutan. The two countries agreed to resume Foreign Minister as well as Foreign Secretary level talks as soon as possible. Taking the spirit of Bhutan forward, Nirupama Rao visited Islamabad in June 24, 2010 and met her counterpart Salman Bashir to set an agenda for Foreign Ministers in July 2010.
Resultantly, Indian Foreign Minister S.M Krishna visited Islamabad in July, but talks could not bore fruit for paving the way for further composite dialogue due to Indian usual intransigence over the issue of terrorism.
Benefits Of Peace For India And Pakistan:
There are many broad benefits from peace accruing to both countries and this serves as a motivation towards normalisation. With initiating peace process India and Pakistan could earn enough foreign exchange. On trade, our market size will expand to $ 1.2 billion equal to China. Opening vistas of trading opportunities within the region, the foreign direct investment which presently stagnates at 3 billion dollars could increase manifold. China attracts 40 billion dollars. Access to alternate energy, natural gas from Iran and Central Asia will be available to this region, bringing down the energy cost by at least fifty per cent. Tourism can flourish as the region has vast treasures of tourist attractions. Reductions in defence expenditure could take place. This will lead to availability of fund for social sector and poverty reduction and lastly sports will be enhanced. Through mutual sports India and Pakistan can regain glory at least in cricket and hockey.
Now both the countries must come to grip with the fact that progress through incessant discussion may, at first be slow but at least it will erase the high-levels of mutual suspicion. The benefit could be long-lasting as far as the well-being of the people, who share common history and culture, is concerned. The core issues as far as Pakistan is concerned are Kashmir and Water. For India the core issue is terrorism. Kashmir has been hanging for the last 63 years, despite the three wars fought between the two countries. Water issue is dragging from years now and terrorism is recent one. All these issues can be hammered out only in the Composite Dialogue which India is avoiding so far.
It is Pakistan that is paying heavy price due to terrorism. India should realize that Islamabad is doing all within its approach. Pakistan Army has been successful in dismantling Taliban’s dens and has weakened the terrorist significantly. India must understand that terror war is also being fought by the US and Nato troops in Afghanistan and terrorists have power to strike anywhere in the world.
Indian leader should realize that tough talks cannot help improve situation. Sincere parleys can break the impasse. Friendly relations between the two countries can help improve economic conditions and trade will flourish along with people-to-people contact. All intricate issues can be resolved if trust is built between the two countries. There is dire need to improve business relations between the two countries. Pakistan and India pick up the cue from the fostering China-US relations despite Taiwan issue.
Present time is ideal for resolution of all disputes and ushering an era of peace, harmony and prosperity. People of our country want it. the influential business communities are looking forward to it in both countries. Media also seems to favour it. Pakistan and India have lost half a century in mutual squabbles. Both have tried pressure tactics. Both have fought wars, tested nuclear weapons and have remained engaged in hot confrontation throughout. Both have applied coercive diplomacy but it has not worked. Nothing side has blinked. It is time to give dialogue and negotiation chance once again. Negotiating from a position of strength is an old-age maxim but no doubt in the case of Pakistan and India that has also been used and founded to be unsuccessful. Sincerity in living peacefully side by side and solving all issues through negotiation seems to be the only answer people of our countries want peace and are fed up of confrontation. The no-war pact offer and the non-aggression pact issue can be reopened.
1. World trade in 2009 amounted to 12 trillion dollars.
2. the size of Pakistan domestic market is only 180 billion dollar.
3. Pakistan has
4. imports bring into the country the transfer of technology.
5. the balance of economic power is moving
6. China has overrun Germany to become the largest exporting
7. China has also surpassed
8. China and India are projected to be the fastest growing economies of the world over the next several decades.
9. India Pakistan trade is
10. India has
11. and for the Pakistani companies and market.
12. 2646 common items of
13. Pakistan can import these items cheaply from India at the same item 1181 items worth 3.9 billion
Three main reasons that have impeded the growth of trading relation.
- Political relations btw the two countries have remained discordant.
- Contentions over long period of time.
- A trust deficit does not allow stability which is prerequisite for any exchange of goods and services to take place.
- Both countries have pursued import polices substitution polices that protected local industries behind protective barriers.
- The commitment to the regional economic integration in south asia has remained quite weak.
Steps To Be Taken
- Pakistan should grant MFN treatment to India while India should reduce its tariffs on the agriculture commodities, textiles etc.
- Both countries should reactivate regional trade agreement like SAFTA.
- Railway, air and road connections between the two countries should be increased.
- Domestic tax, tariff, and subsidy policies should be substituted with neutral policies.
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