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Editorial
Peace process is due
India, Pakistan must shed the rigidity and move towards dialogue before the opportunity is lost
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Several reasons necessitate the need for India to take the initiative and re-open channels of negotiations with Pakistan on all by-standing disputes and also for Pakistan to respond to such an initiative without the usual duplicity of multiple power-centres wrecking a process that can be meaningful and aimed at longer lasting peace in South Asia. The global political scenario, the threat of wars and the aspirations of the people living in the sub-continent demand that the establishments in New Delhi and Islamabad seize the opportunity and inch forward towards peace, mutual trust, co-operation and progress. It is imperative to not just avert the dangers of war with its possible nuclear fallout but also to maximize the gains for India, Pakistan and rest of the sub-continent from the fast changing global equations. Equally significantly, the overwhelming yearning for peace among the people on both sides of the borders cannot be ignored by the two governments. In the last few months, several cross border citizens campaigns for peace and friendship have generated enough steam. That these campaigns have been received with tremendous support is appreciable especially in view of the fact that belligerence of the government and the hawkish political and official posturing has not only been able to keep these peace campaigners undeterred but also that they are operating against several odds including visa restrictions that hamper the possibility of cross-border travel and within their own countries facing the wrath of intolerant right wing mobs and venomous campaigns. Many of them are ordinary citizens tried to reconnect with people across the borders by intelligently using platforms available outside the region or social media. Notable among these is the impactful Peace Now and Forever Campaign launched on July 1 in various cities of the country. As thousands of signatures added up to a forceful echo for peace, Nobel Laureates Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousufzai were among the people from across the world endorsing it. The yearning for peace is not limited to ordinary citizens and intellectuals. Traders and businessmen have been batting for waging peace essentially for their own profits but friendly relations will obviously positively impact the region's economy as well. Politicians have also recognized to need for dialogue and while strong voices within Congress like Mani Shankar Aiyar and Manish Tewari, parties like CPI(M) and regional groups like Rashtriya Janta Dal, Samajwadi Party and political formations in Jammu and Kashmir across the board, barring the BJP, have for long been advocating dialogue both with Jammu and Kashmir and with Pakistan. Even some senior leaders within the BJP like Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha have been echoing a similar sentiment. Interestingly, few days ago, former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general Ehsanul Haq and former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief A.S. Dulat, at a public debate in London, said that the diplomatic talks and communications between the two countries are essential and helpful for the national interest of both the countries.

While such voices cannot be ignored, resumption of a dialogue process is beneficial for both the countries in many ways. Excessive obsession with tit for tat policy has already diverted much of funds in both the countries from vital sectors like health, education and development to defence expenditure, thus turning the balance of economy topsy turvy. The hostilities on the borders have virtually turned border villagers into vulnerable trophies hunted in the name of valour and retaliation. These are also taking a heavy toll of soldiers on a regular basis. Such loss of precious human lives cannot be trivialised by responsible governments and should prompt them to change tack, strategy and the very language. The present spate of hostilities indicates the possibility of outbreak of a war, the consequences of which will be disastrous in view of the nuclear capabilities of both states. The shifting of global tectonic plates also necessitates the need for India and Pakistan to engage with each other. Significantly, the US interest in Afghanistan making it imperative to rely to whatever extent on Pakistan and Chinese strategic and economic interests with Pakistan should prompt India to play its role more strategically rather than foolishly indulging in muscle flexing. Pakistan's incumbent prime minister on Sunday showed some half hearted willingness to enter into a process of negotiations with India. This should be seen as a window of opportunity and prompt India to respond with much greater magnanimity and allow this ice to melt.


News Updated at : Tuesday, October 10, 2017
 
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