Pakistan-India equation

Daily: The Statesman
Date: 24.06.04

In the South-Asia, the horns of two countries, Pakistan and India, are locked into each other
over Kashmir — one’s Jugular Vein and other’s Attoot Ang. Besides, Pakistan feels
disgusted at any possibility of formation of a Confederation with India, not to say of fear of
falling back to India’s fold for a Greater India, ever in future.

From either side of the fence, the Kashmir dilemma has sucked away much of the economic
sufficiency. Recently, the South-Asia —a habitat of about one fifth of the world’s population
— has been witnessing a silver lining in the cloud when leaders from both the sides have
showed inclination for improving the relationship, somehow. Whether Kashmir is taken as a
core issue or any issue is coated by Kashmir, both the countries have to speak on Kashmir
to find a just and acceptable solution while appeasing the Kashmiris too.

It seems that both the countries have finally realized that a progress on Kashmir does not
hinge on military confrontation, conventional or nuclear, but on political consensus. In this
regard, confidence-building measures (CBMs) are being undertaken to accept the shared
reality. The option of awarding a status of the most favorite nation (MFN) to each other is a
prominent signboard on the same road.  

Broadly speaking, as events unfold, India would be the main beneficiary of the
phenomenon. India of today is standing at relatively sound economic and fairly stable
political pedestals. Both of these aspects are opening new doors of chances for India to
perform bigger roles at international level in coming future.

On economic front, in 2006, India, along with China and Brazil, may be invited to join the
Group of Eight (G8) to make it the Group of Eleven (G11). For that matter, India shares two
major edges with China over Brazil. The first is a growing economy while the second is a big
market. However, at the qualitative manufacturing plane, all the three countries stand
almost equal.

On political frontage, India, besides Brazil, Germany, and Japan is a strong contender for
the three forthcoming new veto-wielding permanent seats in the UN Security Council. For
the same, India enjoys a stronger diplomatic lobby than Brazil. Moreover, an invitation for
her to join the G8 may pave the way for entering into the club of the Great Five to make it
the Great Eight.

It means that the post-2006 era is poised to redefine the economic and political scenario of
the world in general and the South-Asia in particular. In the wake of improving relationship
with China, India has already raised its stature. Moreover, the recent elections in India and
the mode of political change according to the will of the masses, have given another
required thrust to lift up India’s overall image. Hence, when the Kashmir issue is settled
amicably with Pakistan, India will find no hindrance in catching up an international figure.
The same can be envisioned in shape of her international economic and political role, as
mentioned earlier.

In other words, only Kashmir issue has been left as a major impediment on India’s path to
acquire a greater international role. There are still two years to go before the year 2006 for
India to settle the issue and raise its posture.

For Pakistan, the immediate gain will be greater. She will be able to focus more on her
social sector that has been left comparatively unattended. Health and education sectors will
attain top priorities. Moreover, both men and materials of defence sector will fall in the ambit
of quality. The word restraint may envelop the both. The focus will become uniform on all
the borders without any preference.

Hitherto, one of the major excuses for Pakistan to possess nuclear prowess and develop a
credible missile delivery system is existence of a threat due to disagreement on Kashmir.
However, when this factor is excluded, Pakistan will become more vulnerable to all sorts of
international pressures and economic sanctions, in one pretext or another. For that matter,
Pakistan of today is committing two major mistakes. Firstly, she is not maneuvering to
become a full-fledge member of the Nuclear Club. Secondly, she is relying unduly on the
Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).

It seems that Pakistan of today is happy with the acceptance of its nuclear status by the
members of the Nuclear Club as well as on attaining a non-NATO ally status by the US.
There is one factor common in both the statuses: one’s sweet will. In other words, the
moment the international scenario is changed, one’s sweet will also be changed. At that
time, Pakistan will be nowhere but in the doldrums. Further, awarding of both the statuses is
more likely to be a ‘policy of engagement’ to keep Pakistan silent rather than to help her
out. Hence, it is a fallacy to be contended with the both.

Today, when Pakistan is a frontline state in the war against terrorism and Kashmir issue is
still to be resolved, it is a high time for Pakistan to join Nuclear Club formally as a full-fledge
member, rather than to be accepted by any members of that club. The same will bestow on
Pakistan an international stature and provide a great maneuvering space in future, even if
India becomes the new permanent member of the UNSC. To that reference, the OIC has so
far not got any sway in the international power balance vis-à-vis G8 or the expected G11.

The imperative of the Pakistan-India equation in the South-Asia calls for Pakistan to secure
at least one international stature at the earliest, in light of the foreseeable international
trends. In this regard, a formal membership of the Nuclear Club is mandatory to watch her
regional and international interests. On the way, any sorts of compromises and fallacies will
be devastating in future.

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