Print Friendly, PDF & Email

EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : The difficult path to India-Pakistan peace

Source: The Hindu, Indian Express

 

  • Prelims: Current events of international importance(India-Pakistan relations, SAARC etc
  • Mains GS Paper II: Bilateral, regional and global grouping involving India, Significance of Indo-Pacific for India etc

 

 

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • The promulgation of Shehbaz Sharif as Prime Minister, there have been signs of a thaw in India-Pakistan relations.
  • It was reported that the Pakistan Army chief had started backchannel talks and a “limited trade resumption package” with India.

 

INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE

Context

India-Pakistan Relations:

  • With the partition of British India, two separate nations, India and Pakistan were formed.
  • Since the very beginning, the immediate violent partition, wars, terrorist attacks and various territorial disputes overshadowed the connection.

 

Areas of contention:

 

 

Areas of Cooperation:

 

Issues faced by Pakistan currently:

  • High food prices: Floods have impacted two million acres of agricultural land in a country that was already reeling under high food prices.
  • Lack of healthcare: There are thousands of pregnant women among the displaced population who need to deliver and raise their babies under proper medical care, in hygienic conditions.
  • Regional cutoff: A major part of Balochistan, the largest province, is cut off from the rest of the country through road, rail and air links.
  • Unstable politics: Politics in this country has been unstable and divisive for quite some time
  • Lack of climate agenda: The absence of climate change as a political agenda is being conspicuously felt as is the state’s mistrust of civil society organizations.

 

Cooperation with India:

  • Essentials from India: Pakistan should ask India, a large agricultural producer in the neighbourhood, to provide it essential aid in its moment of crisis.
  • During Covid-19: India provided essential vaccine supplies to Pakistan during the COVID-19 pandemic and there is precedence for cooperation between the two nations when faced with such emergencies.
  • No compromise of principles: The trade during emergency would not create long-term dependencies on India, or require extreme concessions, or entail a compromise of principles.

 

Leader equations:

  • Kashmir equation: Due to the deep securitisation of the Kashmir dispute in Pakistan’s social imaginary.
    • It is quite challenging for Pakistan’s leadership to sustain any sort of peacemaking with India, even if strong material incentives are present.
  • Bilateral ties: Similarly, the Indian government has seen the Sharif regime in Pakistan as supportive of stability in bilateral ties.

 

 Way Forward

  • Handling China: Pakistan’s weakness and need for food aid is also apparent in the given circumstances.
    • India too would like to refocus its overstretched defence capacities on handling China.
  • India-Pakistan peace dialogues: Failure to manage domestic audience costs in Pakistan and insulate the peace process from spoilers has been a recurrent trope and has derailed several India-Pakistan peace dialogues.
    • This can be started through cooperation during an emergency.
  • Backchannel dialogue: If the Sharif-led coalition government returns to power and a similar-minded army chief is appointed, there may indeed be renewed opening for a sustained backchannel dialogue and trade.
  • Climate financing: The situation in Pakistan merits a claim in terms of climate financing from the developed world rather than aid and disaster relief.
  • Cooperation with neighbouring countries: The situation also merits better relations with its immediate neighbours with whom Pakistan shares geography, including India.
    • Collective regional-level solutions should, therefore, be sought and implemented

 

 

QUESTION FOR PRACTICE

  1. Increasing crossborder terrorist attacks in India and growing interference in the internal affairs of several memberstates by Pakistan are not conducive for the future of SAARC (South Asian Associationfor Regional Cooperation).” Explain with suitable examples.(UPSC 2016)

(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)