Peace and harmony a prerequisite for economic stability in the region


Nov 17 - 23, 2003




Political Gurus have termed the recent Indian offer what it claims to normalize relations with Pakistan is in fact has been made on the eve of elections in different states of India obviously to win support of the people who desire peace in the region.Despite the fact that Pakistan had already given its consent to participate in the forthcoming Aviation Conference scheduled on December 2, 2003 in India on the issue of restoration of air links between the two countries, India has made it a pre-condition for resuming talks with Pakistan.

It is of course tragic that the Indian leadership instead of addressing to the sufferings of the people of Kashmir on humanitarian considerations has always used the Kashmir issue for political gains.

It is not only the people of Kashmir who have been denied of all fundamental rights, millions of the people in India as well as Pakistan are forced to live under poor economic conditions. Despite a lapse of over 5 decades, the so called champions of democracy have failed to develop a strong will to find an amicable solution of the Kashmir issue which is the real impediment in the way of developing a friendly atmosphere between India and Pakistan. It seems that to keep a status quo, situation over the issue of Kashmir is in the political interest of the Indian politicians.

It is not for the first time that India is showing interest in resuming talks with Pakistan, they offer and retreat to the previous position has become a regular feature.

The latest offer for resumption of talks has two factors which must be perturbing the minds of the Indian leadership. Firstly, elections are due in India and BJP must be planning to win the heart of the Indian Muslims though in minority still are in a position to tilt the results of the elections. Secondly, comparatively speaking, India was the loser of huge revenue due to severed air link between the two countries and it naturally wants to rectify the situation to overcome its economic losses.

The change scenario around the global, however, must be taken as an eye opener for the people of this region. Different nations are coming closer to meet the economic and political challenges. Economic zones are being formed for the benefit of the people. It is however extremely unfortunate for the people of this region because they are hostage to the circumstances. It is certainly a sheer failure of wisdom on the part of the Indian leadership that it fails to develop a peaceful environment to enable the people to come out of the trap of poverty.



The Indian offer includes a number of measures ranging from full sporting ties to increased transport and maritime links. The proposals were unveiled by foreign minister Yashwant Sinha late last month.

Reacting over the Indian move, Pakistan had also assured to response positively to new proposals to improve relations between the two countries. Pakistan's response to any proposal that is substantive and unconditional and genuinely designed to improve things will always be positive, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs observed.

Pakistan has however pointed out that India instead of using the media diplomacy should be prepared for serious talks. The air link condition prior to holding of talks indicates a negative approach on the part of Indian leadership.

The proposals include a ferry service from Bombay to Karachi and a bus service between Held Kashmir and Azad Kashmir. It also offers to operate another bus from Rajasthan to a town in Pakistan's Sindh province and establish "visa camps" to facilitate travel between the two countries. While announcing the 12 points package, the Indian foreign minister had also added that India could further increase its diplomatic presence in Islamabad if Pakistan accepted the offers. New Delhi also proposed a second round of talks on air links fractured by months of war tensions last year. India also offered free treatment to a second batch of 20 Pakistani children, full sporting links, including cricketing ties that stopped in 1999; flag meets between coast guards and an amnesty to fishermen astray in each other's waters.

The latest steps, including increased service of a Delhi-Lahore bus, did not signal the resumption of talks, broken after 2001 summit of Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and President General Pervez Musharraf.

It may be recalled that the Indian Prime Minister had announced that he may take up things with the Pakistani leadership during his visit to Pakistan to attend the SAARC conference to be held in January 2004. However, changed his mood and said he has no plans to attend the conference or to have a dialogue with Pakistani counter parts.

This unpredictable attitude creates a sense of mistrust and despite announcement that Indian cricket team would be visiting Pakistan for test and one-day matches, it will remain uncertain until the last moment.

There is a need to develop credibility and a strong will to address the issues confronted with this region. The people at the helm of affairs are sincere to change the lot of the poverty ridden people both in India and Pakistan.