The Kashmir issue has proven that Pakistan and India refuse to learn from history

India is not willing to accept its faults in Jammu and Kashmir and alleges that the Islamic Republic is solely responsible for the trouble in the valley

Pakistan, on the other hand, says that the cry for freedom in Kashmir should not be equated with terrorism; the Islamic republic itself is a victim of terrorism and is as keen to root out this menace as India is

The meeting of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Islamabad became a battleground for both nations, thereby denigrating the multilateral grouping that was, ironically, created to hone harmony and mutual cooperation among the South Asian nations

We hardly know what transpired in the two day conclaves in Islamabad

The media in both the nations is full of stories regarding the spat between Rajnath Singh, India’s home minister, and his Pakistani counterpart, ignoring the larger discussion that took place amongst the eight countries on the issue affecting the subcontinent

As soon as he landed in Islamabad, the Indian home minister’s body language, along with the stiffness with which he presented himself shows just how juvenile Indian leaders can be while representing their country

There was smile on his face, there was no desire to connect with the host; the tense visage appeared as if it was a war-like situation

The entire visit ­to Islamabad– from entry to exit – he appeared to be calibrating moves as though he was enacting a drama and making sure that no step deviates from the written script lest the core audience of his theatrics get angry

Singh’s demeanour can be explained by the fact that he belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – a party that is very critical of talks with Pakistan and is known as an anti-Muslim grouping

Therefore it’s obvious that they, and therefore he, are more invested in the interests of the Hindu majority

For him to talk peace with Pakistan would have been a betrayal of his core voters

Singh was representing his hard core constituents – not India, when he led the team in the SAARC meet

The Pakistani leadership also played to the gallery in their interactions with the visiting Indian leader

It seemed as though the Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar, too, acted in accordance to a predetermined script, keeping in mind Pakistan’s vulnerabilities vis-à-vis Kashmir

When you approach a neighbour with such a narrow political prism and a pre-set frame of mind, the result will never be positive

There was no harm for both parties to accept that Kashmir is a matter of concern for both countries and needs to be resolved

Why do they both not acknowledge how redundant it is to constantly bounce the blame off one another instead of coming to terms with their own errors? Especially when there is more at stake than just one’s ego and pride

The tragedy is that, in this game of parochial politics and one-upmanship, the victims are the people themselves – of both, India and Pakistan

Almost three generations have gone by and the two neighbours adamantly refuse to learn from history

It’s not just Kashmir – the whole subcontinent is suffering as a result of this India-Pakistan animosity

South Asia has become a prisoner of conflict between India and Pakistan

To a large extent even Afghanistan is a victim of this tussle

For seven decades, the two half-brothers have held the evolution of the region as a viable economic and political entity hostage

India shares the larger blame for being a negative force in the region

New Delhi refuses to grow emotionally; it is the same now as it was back in 1947

In fact, the situation is more volatile now than ever before; the distrust shared between the two nations has magnified beyond all limits

This animosity has only bred terrorism, radicalism and fundamentalism in the subcontinent

Today, Pakistan is badly within the grip of all these evils

The monster that it nurtured as a state policy is out of control and become a threat to the larger society

India has also become a far more radicalised society now than it was seven decades ago

Hindu majoritarianism is India’s biggest threat today and, if allowed to proceed unchecked, the very idea of India is in great danger

The narrow nationalism is breeding a generation which shirks reasoning, hates rational argument, detests multiculturalism and feel shy of secularism

At a time when regional barriers are breaking down in other parts of the world, South Asia is witnessing the emergence of even more physical and economic barriers despite the region sharing the same history and culture

This is anachronistic and completely out of sync with the evolving world

English daily, Hindustan Times, states that, “South Asia regrettably remains the least integrated region in the world; an area that has 16

5% of the world’s population accounts for just 2% of the world trade

Economists point out that its intra-regional trade is less than 6% of its total trade and accounts for 2% of the region’s GDP

” At a time when Asia is becoming the economic and political hub of global attention, the regional wrangling in South Asia limits the potential of such a vibrant territory

India is quite ambitious in its need to play leader in South Asia and emerge as an important political and economic player on a global platform

Unfortunately, its parochial vision in dealing with its western neighbour (vis-à-vis South Asia) limits its clout

It questions its potential to emerge as a serious geopolitical player

India needs to demonstrate greater farsightedness in its dealing with Pakistan if it wants to be the leader of South Asia

Pakistan’s constraints are its low economic and political growth, and geopolitical wisdom informs that New Delhi needs a paradigm shift in its policy towards its western neighbour vis-à-vis other South Asian neighbours

Kashmir is a challenge to the Indian democracy and its multiculturalism and religious tolerance

Without talking to Pakistan you cannot resolve the Kashmir issue

 Therefore, engaging with stakeholders is the best policy forward

Pakistan also needs to show greater wisdom and flexibility in dealing with New Delhi

Many of its economic woes will go if it fosters lasting camaraderie with its eastern neighbour

Date:16-Aug-2016 Reference:View Original Link