Don’t shy away
Though a relatively calm phase is being observed on the borders between India and Pakistan but the long term peace objective is missing with both the countries shying away from talking that too, critical issues like Kashmir.
Though various countries have been urging the two nations to start talking but that has not been happening over the years causing much anguish and pain to those who have been held hostage to the animosity between the two nations.
The latest utterances have come from the United States which urged India and Pakistan to work with each other to resolve their bilateral issues, observing that it had always encouraged the two neighbours to build a more stable relationship going forward.
Relations between India and Pakistan nose-dived after New Delhi abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 on August 5, 2019 and bifurcated it into two Union territories. Though the two neighbours earlier in the year signed a ceasefire agreement but still some violations are taking place raising doubts about the longevity of such an exercise.
Interestingly, it was in early January this year that top intelligence officers from India and Pakistan held secret talks in Dubai in an effort to calm military tension.
Kashmir has long been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan, both of which claim all of the region but rule only in part. Following the January meeting, India and Pakistan announced they would stop cross-border firing and shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Kashmir which has left dozens of civilians dead and many others maimed. That ceasefire is holding as of now creating a sense of relief among the border dwellers on both sides of the divide.
There is as yet, however, no grand plan to resolve the age old Kashmir dispute. Rather both sides are trying to reduce tensions to pave the way for a broad engagement but that too is not happening despite some efforts being made by various nations from time to time.
It has been a long time gap that the two nations have avoided a direct contact with each other and start a step by step peace and engagement process to help in resolving the issues that often lead them on a path of confrontation.
The hostility among the nations has made them to pay dearly, be it trade and commerce or even other engagements, both have paid a heavy price by not engaging and exploiting the resources and markets available within.
Beside, the defence expenditure of the two nations has been making things worse for their economies as various people centeric reforms are held hostage to the simmering atmosphere of hate and war cries that have become a routine feature among the two neighbours since the past three decades now.