INDO - PAK Relations : A Fresh Look || BY ASHWANI KUMAR CHRUNGOO || 


In view of the latest developments regarding the subject under discussion, the Centre for Peace and Progress, for the last a couple of months, organized a series of webinars in connection with the release of the much awaited book titled 'In pursuit of peace: Improving Indo-Pak relations'. The book carries 50 articles on the topic of Indo-Pak relations contributed by well known public figures in India and Pakistan. The webinars referred above were attended by an impressive number of politicians, civil society activists and former diplomats from India and Pakistan. Latest in the series was the webinar held on 12 February 2022 on the topic, Improving Indo-Pak relations.

This important series of webinars was attended by a galaxy of prominent persons from India and Pakistan. Some of these dignitaries also spoke on the related occasions. These included Navreen Ibrahim, Pak MP, Farooq Abdullah, Yashwant Sinha, Khursheed Mohd Kasoori, O P Shah, Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Praveen Davar, Prof. Gopi Krishen Mujoo, Manjit Singh, Balbir Punj, Tathagat Roy, Qazi Ashraf, Abdul Basit, Javed Jabbar, Sudheendra Kulkarni, Muzaffar Shah, Salim Engineer, Harish Narayan, Musheer Hussain, D.K.Khajuria, Mani Shankar Aiyer, Kapil Kak, Mohd. Yusuf Tarigami, Ashok Bhan, A.M.Watali, Anis Haroon, N.D.Pancholi, Hussam Ul Haq and Dr. Sunilam. 

The 320 page book released earlier has been edited by O.P.Shah. Articles in the book have been contributed by the following, among others: Balbir Punj, Farooq Abdullah, A.S.Dulat, Abdul Basit, Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, A.M.Watali, Aga Syed Hassan Mosavi Al Safaivi, Ashok Bhan, Hamid Mir, Yashwant Sinha, Mani Shanker Aiyar, Syed Nazir Gilani, Qazi Ashraf, M.M.Ansari, Ramesh Dixit, Salim Engineer, Salman Khurshid, Satinder K Lambah, Ved Pratap Vaidik, Suneel Wattal, Talat Masood, Sudheendra Kulkarni, Mohd Hamid Ansari, Bilal Bashir Bhat and Anis Haroon. 

While speaking in the Webinar, Balbir Punj said that the relations between India and Pakistan should not be dependent upon the whims and fancies of a few among the elite of the respective countries. India bashing by Pakistan can't lead to an ideal scenario. The mind-set against each other will also not pave way for peace and good relations. Pakistan will have to come out of a thousand-cut mind-set against India. Unimaginable losses to the society in Kashmir, death and destruction or mayhem therein are not Pakistan's headache since it is convinced with the ideology of 'Jehad' in Kashmir and the terror being one of its inseparable part. 

Farooq Abdullah said that the society and the governments will have to come together to create a consensus in favour of good Indo-Pak relations. When all this madness of hatred is going on, Pakistan and India should behave sensibly. In such a scenario, it is the paramount duty of the society at large to respond to this situation and create a peaceful atmosphere between the two neighbouring countries. Surely, talks have no alternative. 

Khursheed Mohd Qasuri was of the opinion that Vajpayee-time diplomacy between the two nations brought an atmosphere of peace and brotherhood between the two nations. Such an atmosphere is the need of the hour. While it is appreciated that the intellectuals and well meaning people in both the countries want peace, however such a scenario requires social cushion to the governments as an additional instrument that can help the situation greatly. 

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed in his remarks said that there is currently no constituency in Pakistan which is supportive of war with India. In fact a number of steps were undertaken by the Pakistan government after the last military ceasefire between the two countries last year including allowing a huge humanitarian supply of wheat by India to Afghanistan through Pakistan. The new Security policy is also an encouraging area to move forward towards creating an environment for dialogue. 

This author also made a presentation on the topic and maintained that it was always easy and also a fashion to criticize the governments and administration for failures to curb terrorism. What needs to be acknowledged is that the state of Pakistan has been deeply involved in abetting and supporting the cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir for the last more than three decades.

Terrorism unfortunately had been its state policy and also an inseparable part of its foreign policy viz a viz India. Terror regime won't reconcile to peace on borders so easily. Therefore, it will continue the cycle of terror despite heavy losses of men, material and other logistics even on the soil of its generators. Pakistan has to dismantle the whole terror structure if it wants serious talks with India as was promised by it in the Summit meetings with India two decades ago. 

India and Pakistan only a hundred years ago were one national family that had a common history, civilizational flow, legacy and language. Both the countries despite being separate entities should have common foes and friends but they are upfront against each other due to the follies of the past.

India and Pakistan might economically survive and exist independent of each other but yet they need to go along as the two separated brothers of the same family. Their common history of the last ten thousand years enjoins upon them to recognise the facts of history and circumstances. In order to achieve the desired results, while India has been representing the common historical cord culturally and civilizationally, Pakistan also needs to realise its responsibilities and debunk its notion of delinking with the common past history. It will greatly help the situation keeping in view the common future goals. 

The recently announced National security policy of Pakistan seems a welcome departure from its usual India-bashing approach. A country that talked in terms of one thousand cuts and fighting war with India for one thousand years for a long period of time has taken a historical shift from its stated position. It says that it wants friendship with India for the next one hundred years and the peace process between the two neighbours could be taken ahead without the baggage of Kashmir issue.

This is a welcome departure from the senseless narrative against India towards a sensible direction that has potential to improve relations, provided terrorism is shunned and dismantled by Pakistan. India has a huge domestic agenda against terrorism and has a consistent support base to its declared doctrine of 'terror and talks won't go together'. Therefore, it would be advisable for Pakistan to think and act afresh in this particular context in order to realize the dreams of peace and friendly relations with India.

In an event Pakistan does the following four things in an earnest, it will create a great ground for future peace, brotherhood, tranquillity and progress in the region. So, Pakistan has a bigger responsibility to guide the events to follow. The four things are: 

1. Owning the thousands years old history of the two nations, India and Pakistan, as the common culture, civilization, heritage, tradition and legacy of the land.

 2. Dismantle terror infrastructure permanently from the land under its control.

 3. Keep Kashmir away from the table of debate and discussion, tactfully, and

 4. Don't allow the western powers to meddle into the affairs leading to negotiations and talks between India and Pakistan. 

This four-point agenda will also encourage the people of the two countries to develop people to people relations with a great success rate in near future, both with and without the support of the respective governments. It will also to a great extent help melt the ice and thus bid goodbye to the current trust deficit and hatred against each other. It is hoped that better sense would prevail upon all concerned in the interest of yearning harmony, peace and prosperity in India and Pakistan.

By - Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo

(The author is a senior BJP & KP leader, Incharge: Deptt of Political Feedback, BJP-J&K and can be reached at:


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