Editorial: Stop the hostility
The relations between India and Pakistan are witnessing a new low after the incident of alleged beheading of two Indian soldiers in Krishna Ghati sector along the Line of Control in Jammu region.
From summoning Pakistan’s outgoing high commissioner in New Delhi Abdul Basit to Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat’s statement on retaliation, the incident transcended the atmospherics to a fresh level of belligerence. The relations between the two neighbouring nuclear powers have not been too boastful over the years but in the recent past the level of acrimony increased due to chain of events.
Most of the incidents in this chain either occurred in the embattled state of Jammu and Kashmir or had a deeper connection with the affairs of the state especially its disputability that remains the bone of contention between the two countries for the past seven decades. The Krishna Ghati incident may be a quid pro quo of the September 2016 ‘surgical strike’ that Indian army claimed to have conducted across the LoC in the aftermath of militant strike in Uri.
These incidents have led to diplomatic row and the heightened tension across the LoC and the international border. The most frightening situation occurs in the habitations in the border areas.
They often bear the brunt of the hostility as guns roar and mortars pound on their houses, pastures and agricultural land. From Kargil to Uri and Poonch to Teetwal, the border residents constantly live under the threat of escalation. When the diplomatic row between the two countries intensifies, it steals off the peace and tranquility of every individual living along the borders from the either side. Unfortunately, this aspect of the public suffering does not count in the power corridors of New Delhi and Islamabad.
Prime Minister Naredndra Modi had begun his innings on a pleasant note when he invited the heads of SAARC countries to his oath ceremony. Nawaz Sharief was gracious enough to respond to the invitation and it appeared that these gestures would go a long way in bringing the two hostile countries closer. The atmosphere could not last long. Ironically, over the years, Pakistan, Muslims and Kashmir have become the important ingredients of the election campaigns across India. The series of elections that BJP faced within India were a major cause for the ruling party to take measured steps vis-a-vis Pakistan.
The acrimonious atmosphere in the region has a direct impact on Kashmir. Since last year the ground situation is explosive and the write of the government and its forces is on a continuous decline.
Going by the past experiences, it is evident that Kashmir has had periods of enviable tranquility when the two countries were on a path of engagement. The period between 2002 and 2007 can be gauged on this scale. But when the hostility occurs and intensifies, the situation in Kashmir also goes out of the hands. Based on this premise, it is always sensible for the two countries to shun the bad blood and pick up threads for developing a friendly atmosphere in the region. This can save a lot of lives the important resources of the two countries, which can be utilized for the welfare of the people living in the impoverished countries.