Preferring politics over peace
India and Pakistan are at logger heads once again. Though the present standoff has been initiated by India, the entire south Asian region has to bear the brunt of the spolied relations.
India and Pakistan are the two main players in South Asian politics, as the two constitute 86% of its population and control over 80% of the land area. When these two are at peace with each other the whole region by and large maintains a calm and when their relations witness a troubled phase, the entire region remains on tenterhooks.
Peace has been elusive to the region because of hostilities between India and Pakistan over the past three decades now. Both the nations have been fighting it out in the open and the recent spur in the war of words at the UNGA brought the fact to the fore that how much strain these two countries have been witnessing in their relations.
Though India blames Pakistan for all its ills but the ground situation reflects a different situation altogether. The two neighbours have much in common in terms of history, culture, language and religions. Both the countries were parts of a single political entity until mid August 1947. Despite these close affinities psychologically both the countries have always been living two poles apart.
Since their inception both the countries have grown ever further apart and their policies both domestic and international have evolved increasingly in divergent directions. During the seven decades of their existence, the two countries fought three full fledged conventional wars and a war like situations emerges almost every second day on the border.
The dominant issue that has led to the heightened tensions is proving to be Kashmir issue which has been on the forefront of the troubled chapter of India-Pakistan history. Kashmir has been an outstanding security pre-occupation as much to Pakistan as to India and a potential destabilizer of the entire geo- strategic balance of the whole sub- continent.
For both the countries Kashmir issue has proved to be a attention diverter towards the key issues that the governments of both the countries are faced with. In India presently the crisis that is staring the country is the failed experiments the BJP led NDA government is experiencing on almost all fronts.
The spiraling prices of fuel and other essential commodities and a crumbling economy has got a Kashmir support as the BJP is playing Kashmir card to the hilt and trying to divert the focus of the aggrieved commoner from all these issues.
Similarly in Pakistan where the state has almost failed on bringing the economy and political order back on tracks is using Kashmir to get its people side with the government despite its failure and back track on all the major promises made to the electorate.
Given the fears and the current suspicions among the leadership in both the countries it seems highly unlikely that the relations may witness some improvement in the days to come. Both the nations have shaped their relationship on mere rhetoric and any long time friendly relationship between the two countries seems unlikely.
However, what is worrying is the stance adopted by leadership in Kashmir. The leaders have failed to come out of the hostility cocoon that the two nations have spiraled into and have not been able to work out on any other alternative, because it is people of Kashmir who are being grinded in the politics which both the nations are playing.