Forever stuck

Rajnath Singh arrives in Islamabad. PHOTO COURTESY: ANI

Rajnath Singh arrives in Islamabad. PHOTO COURTESY: ANI

The chronic and ultimately debilitating inability of India and Pakistan to resolve any of their innumerable differences, large and small, is the single greatest impediment to development on the subcontinent. It is the drag-anchor that has killed trade opportunities in both countries, and created an exaggerated need for militarisation that is ruinously expensive and ultimately no more than window-dressing as neither side can seriously contemplate all-out war as an option no matter the severity of the disagreement. That failure feeds directly into difficulties with our other neighbour Afghanistan and adds daily to the exasperation felt by the comity of nations. Partition is not about to be reversed and countless deaths later the divide continues to bleed at its edges as well as internally.

Kashmir is the never-healing wound above all others. There is to be a meeting of the monstrously irrelevant Saarc in Islamabad, and India has already signaled that there are to be no bilateral meetings between its Home Minister Rajnath Singh and his counterpart in Pakistan. To add to the tension, Hafiz Saeed, the head of the Jamaatud Dawa has said he will call countrywide protests if Mr Singh is even allowed to attend the Saarc moot of home ministers. Recent events in Kashmir have stoked the fires on both sides, and assurances have been given by our security forces that the Saarc meeting will have its fullest attention and that the delegates will be protected.

Comforting as that may be, there is not the slightest indication that the peace process either formally or at the back-channel level is going anywhere but backwards. Every time a glimmer of hope appears on the horizon — and at the personal level both Prime Ministers Sharif and Modi have done their best to at least present a commitment to a peaceful and prosperous future for both nations — it is dashed by violent events on the ground, be it in the form of human rights violations by Indian security forces in Kashmir or in the form of a terrorist attack by Pakistan-based elements on Indian targets. At this rate of progress, matters are to remain as stuck as they are for a generation hence; to the enervating detriment of billions.

Original news :