The Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that certain pairs of physical properties, like position and momentum, cannot both be known to arbitrary precision. Probably peace and friendship are two such properties in the context of India Pakistan relationship that are ideal candidates for the uncertainly principle. If you have one, you cannot have the other. If one were to study the past 40 years of Indo-Pakistan relations one can see every friendship overture has been accompanied by incidents of open aggression or terrorist attacks that distort peace. The most peaceful times have been those of intense diplomatic hostility. Wonder why Indian Government and media refuse to acknowledge something that is staring them in the face and keep talking of friendship and diplomacy. The Times of India Group's Aman Ki Asha being the latest in the series of Quixotic ventures or is it just an instance of media knowingly sacrificing national interest for commercial gains? I feel India should take a leaf out of China's book and learn how to handle Pakistan.Though I sympathize with the Tibetans, from a strategic perspective I admire the way China has handled Dalai Lama, Taiwan and the Uyghur.
Before I precede any further I guess I need to justify why I feel it is pointless talking to Pakistan. First and foremost is the very ideology of Pakistan’s formation. Pakistan was formed based on the belief that Muslims cannot live harmoniously under the Indian State. So as long as there is significant number of Muslims in India, the Pakistan’s existential ideology would imply that a huge number of Muslims are being subject to a raw deal in India. If Pakistan were to acknowledge that Muslims live comfortably in India, that would trigger an existential crisis for them. So that itself puts India and Pakistan as adversarial states at a basic level. Then let us move on to the immediate and proximate issue of Kashmir. I wonder what the people talking about talks on Kashmir are thinking. Are they magicians looking to pull out a solution from thin air where there is none? I seriously wonder what is there to talk. India believes Kashmir is an integral part of itself. Pakistan does not. That’s about it. What else is there to talk? And last but not the least, what is this Pakistan we are wanting to talk to? Musharraf? Zardari? Nawaz Sharif? 15 years back, Musharraf was a nobody; Nawaz Sharif was in charge; Zardari in jail. 10 years back, Musharaf was in charge; Nawaz Sharif in exile; Zardari a nobody. Today Musharraf is in exile; Nawaz Sharif a nobody; Zardari in charge. Nice musical chair they seem to have been playing! What is the meaning in holding talks with someone who is all likelihood is going to end up in jail or in exile within the next 5 years. Why would we expect his successor to honor his commitments? I hope I do not have to give any more reasons to show talks with Pakistan are pointless. And if we are talking of the common man in Pakistan, I would ask you to get real. From when has the common man started mattering in international relations?
To someone who has been following my argument in the last paragraph, it might seem I might seem like one of those warmongers advocating war against Pakistan. But nothing can be further from truth than that. I am in fact a peace pilgrim who does not even consider war as an option. I felt the whole saber rattling after the Mumbai attacks looked so childish and immature. I wonder what India was trying to achieve. Luckily we had a level headed Manmohan Singh at the helm and better sense prevailed. Definitely war with nuclear armed Pakistan is no solution even if the Mumbai attacks are followed by similar attacks in Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. For war would only mean throwing a million more lives after the hundreds already lost in the terrorist attacks. So the best way would be to prevent such attacks in future through more investment in internal surveillance and focus instead on diplomatic warfare.
I detail below how in my view India’s diplomatic strategy should look like. First of all our borders should be impervious. No trains, buses, flights or any mode of transport to be allowed to or from Pakistan. No trade whatsoever with Pakistan. The Indian embassy in Pakistan and the Pakistani embassy in India should be closed. No Pakistanis to be allowed into India and vice versa. Citizenship of any Indian visiting Pakistan should be cancelled and the person should not be allowed to re-enter India. Indian teams should refuse to play any sports with Pakistan even at neutral venues. India should lobby against inclusion of Pakistan on all international forums. Indian diplomats should not engage in any kinds of courtesy exchange with Pakistani diplomats on any international forums. These kinds of measures will build up the heat on Pakistan and solidify international pressure on Pakistan. If we ourselves are lax in handling Pakistan, the international community will keep aiding Pakistan so that they can prop up their failing state and keep causing trouble to India. We should also try to block any kind of international aid to Pakistan and publicly voice support for any separatist movements in the country.
Hopefully one day Pakistan would crack under pressure and we would have separate countries of Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan that have embarked on a fresh start like Bangladesh and no longer carry the legacy of the partition to deal with. Then we can talk about friendship and peace in the same light.
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