Indo-Pak Rapprochement: A Gate Way for Regional Peace

05.03.2019

India is the largest and multicultural democracy in the world. Pakistan is the second largest Muslim country in the world. One Fourth population of the world resides in this region which we call South Asia. There is plethora of natural resources in this region which has the huge potential to boost up regional and global economic situation. Cultural diversity exists here due to the presence of various ethnic communities. Geostrategic location of this region is compelling global players to invest in this region. Interestingly, two nuclear armed countries, who possessed most sophisticated weapons, are located in this region too. India and Pakistan. Yes, India and Pakistan, both have acquired Nukes. Both are in the race to show their dominance and hegemony in this region. This race is putting regional peace at stake and is giving birth to fear and threats. Due to rivalry of Indo-Pak, future of 1.5 billion people is uncertain.

Let’s talk about Pakistan first. Pakistan is economically vulnerable country which is paying the price to accomplish global and regional peace. Pakistan is fighting against terrorism since 2001. Thousands of its people including military and civilians officers have been killed due to the ongoing war against terror. Its economy is dwindling due to heavy infrastructural loss in this war. Its exports are not that much good which it would have to be. The value of its currency is declining due to deteriorating economic conditions. For eradicating terrorism from this region, Pakistan is spending billions to meet its military expenditure. Major portion of Pakistan’s GDP is being spent of its defence because it is determined to eliminate extremism and terrorism.

Now, I’d like to explain a bit about Indians. India is relatively strong country as compare to Pakistan. It economy is getting boost, its media is strong, its stock market is strong as compare to Pakistan. There is diversity in India. Indian, political strategic culture is very strong. Above all, India has huge potential for global investment. Global economy will get a huge boost due to huge potential in Indian markets. Indian GDP is very strong. India is also facing the threat of terrorism. So, there seems bilateral cooperation of India and Pakistan to fight against these common threats. But, unfortunately, both India and Pakistan have become the victims of their bilateral bellicosity. Their priorities have been changed. They are far away from cooperating with each other. Which is causing regional instability.

Both countries had three full-scale military conflicts. The bone of contention between them is Kashmir issue.

Both countries have claimed that Kashmir is their integral part. But the reality is different. Let the people of Kashmir decide about their fate. A recent backlash took place in Kashmir, when a bus of India’s paramilitary force Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) came under the suicidal attack that killed 44 Indian security personnel. Pakistan based Jaish e Muhammad (JeM) organization claimed the responsibility of the attack. India blamed Pakistan without investigation and announced to take revenge of its soldiers. India is talking about to go for a war with Pakistan. To avenge the attack, India violated Pakistan’s airspace and claimed to have destroyed the training camp of JeM in Balakot area of Azad Kashmir across LoC.

 I’d like to say here that war is not a solution of any problem. We have a lot of precedents where millions of people were killed. In the arena of nuclear weapons, no country can even think of war. So, India and Pakistan have to talk to each other and mend their differences through peaceful means as dialogues are the only way to resolve the issues. Millions of people in both countries are living below the poverty line. Both countries have failed to improve their life standard as they are spending on their defence to get most advanced technology. They are involved in the arms race. As India is more populated then Pakistan, it will suffer more due to the arms race. Pakistan is already struggling to boost up its economic conditions and seeking investment from international community. There is imparity in the strategic balance of both countries which is also another reason for both countries not to go for a war. I’d like to show the strategic balance of both countries.

Operational warships of India and Pakistan

Name of warship

 

India

Pakistan

Carriers

1

0

Destroyers

8

0

Frigates

9

6

Missile boats

20

11

Attacks subs

16

9

Source: Zahid Ali Khan. “China’s Gawadar and India’s Chahbahar: an analyses of Sino-Indian geo-strategic and economical competition” journal of strategic studies, 36, No, 1(2013) 80

 

Air launce anti-ship missiles of India and Pakistan

                                                        

Country

 

Platform

Quantity

Missiles

No of carriers

India

Jagur IM

10

Sea eagle

1

India

Sea harrier

14

Sea eagle

2

India

Sea king

20

Sea eagle

2

Pakistan

Mirage VPA 3

9

Exocet AS-39

1

Pakistan

Sea king

6

Exocet AS-39

2

Pakistan

Atlantic

3

Exocet AS-39

2

Source: Zahid Ali Khan. “China’s Gawadar and India’s Chahbahar: an analyses of Sino-Indian geo-strategic and economical competition” journal of strategic studies, 36, No, 1(2013) 80

Anti-ship missiles Indian capability

Missiles

 

Ready for fire

No of platforms

SS-N-25

148

12

SS-N-25

29

4

SS-N-2D-Styx

83

21

Sea eagle

78

44

Brahmas

2

1

Source: Source: Zahid Ali Khan. “China’s Gawadar and India’s Chahbahar: an analyses of Sino-Indian geo-strategic and economical competition” journal of strategic studies, 36, No, 1(2013) 80

As both India and Pakistan are nuclear states, any miscalculation can lead to a escalation into a nuclear war. Any resort to war, by India, whould receive appropriate response from Pakistan. Given the probability of escalation to the nuclear level, any break out of war whould have serious repercussion for South Asia due to the geographical proximity. However, it is hoped that PM Modi will use reason and not opt for bloodshed in order to win Lok Sabha elections.

It’s in India’s interests to not go for war with Pakistan. Because no military involvement means no bloodshed.

Politically PM Modi may get public support of Hindu moderates which could help him in elections. There will be economic stability in the region if Indo-Pak rapprochement take place. India can also build strong relationship with international community as the United States, Russia, Turkey, UK and other EU and Arab countries are urging India to practise restrain. By developing healthy ties with Pakistan, India won’t have to go for defence expenditure for war. India’s ties with China would not suffer due to healthy ties with Pakistan. Stability and currency would be maintained. Indian stock market would not fall instead it will possibly rise. Indian trade with Pakistan, Central Asia and Afghanistan would not suffer.

There is regional advantage of Indo-Pak rapprochement. Peace in Afghanistan is deeply linked to Indo-Pak reconciliation because India and Pakistan won't use proxies in Afghanistan. Indo-Pak reconciliation would to both India and Pakistan’s economic engagements in Afghanistan. This would, in turn, lead to peace in Afghanistan and this entire region as well.

So it is not possible for both countries to go for war. They should talk to each other for rapprochement. India should cooperate with Pakistan to eliminate terrorism rather to involve in blame game. Reconciliation with Pakistan is in the interest of India too.