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Featured Rising above differences!

Discussion in 'Strategic & Foreign Affairs' started by Norwegian, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. Norwegian

    Norwegian ELITE MEMBER

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    Rising above differences
    By Rustam Shah Mohmand
    Published: July 7, 2015

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    The writer has served as ambassador to Afghanistan and is a former interior secretary

    The exchange of barbs, accusations and threats in recent days between leaders of India and Pakistan was as unfortunate as it was unwarranted. The harsh statements containing threats against each other was unbecoming of statesmen representing two large nuclear-armed neighbours. One leader went to the extent of proclaiming that the nuclear weapons in his country’s possession are not just for display, they can be used when necessary!

    Such rhetoric, intended for a gullible public, can deepen suspicions with regard to the motives that both India and Pakistan accuse each other of nurturing. More importantly, such unnecessary exchanges of barbs makes the task of any gradual rapprochement leading to a broad reconciliation more difficult, if not impossible — especially at a time when both countries are ruled by leaders who are down to earth and pragmatic in their approach towards improving relations. How tragic that both countries continue to be hamstrung, and indeed held hostages, to the non-resolution of the Kashmir dispute and a couple of other issues, for nearly seven decades and that their trade and commercial relations remain frozen in time. The cost of this conflict to the impoverished teeming billions in both countries is incalculable.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the commencement of the holy month of Ramazan, called his Pakistani counterpart to offer his felicitations. That was a great gesture from Mr Modi at a time when it was needed the most and bore the hallmarks of a true leader and a great politician. Hopefully, this small initiative would lead to some form of renewed contact between the leaders of the two countries, as is expected to happen on the sidelines of a summit in Russia this week. The fact remains that India and Pakistan need to put into place institutional mechanisms that are activated whenever there is a danger of the trouble spilling over and mutual recriminations assuming dangerous proportions. Regrettably, track-two initiatives have not created any considerable impact as far as a reappraisal of policies is concerned. Neither New Delhi nor Islamabad has shown any inclination to factor in the vast array of recommendations formulated by many think tanks, after long deliberations, into their policies.

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    While the impasse in South Asia persists, the world has moved on.Trade between China and India, despite the many troubling issues confronting both countries, has gone up considerably over recent years. At the same time, East Asian economies are preparing to benefit from the huge investments made by the US and China. Russia and China are coming closer together in a new, robust partnership that some feel may mark the beginning of a new cold war.

    On the other hand, pacts and agreements connecting the countries of South Asia remain dormant because the ice just refuses to melt as far as India-Pakistan relations are concerned. Saarc and many other regional forums have been of very limited benefit to the countries of the region, primarily because of the continuing stalemate in relations between India and Pakistan. Politicians in both countries have not only failed to create an environment for better understanding, but also have not created any awareness on the quantum and extent of damage that strained relations have caused to the peoples of the two countries that comprise about one-fifth of humanity.

    The huge problems confronting both India and Pakistan are by and large overlooked as both aggressively pursue a confrontational policy in utter disregard of the compelling objective realities that need to be addressed. There is the monumental challenge of alleviation of poverty. More than 400 million Indians live below the poverty line; more than 50 million share that fate in Pakistan. More than seven million Pakistani children don’t go to schools. Millions of people in both countries are deprived of basic sanitation, electricity and access to piped water. India has 60 million chronically malnourished children — 40 per cent of the world’s total. It also has 143 million poor households. Around 61 per cent Pakistanis live on less than $2 a day and 40 per cent of the population has no access to clean drinking water.

    While South Asia is home to about half of the world’s poor, both India and Pakistan are spending an awful lot of precious resources on building up and augmenting defence capabilities. This arms race, consuming billions of dollars each year, is wholly incompatible with the dreams and aspirations of the billions of people in both countries, who are impoverished, marginalised and who live in multi-dimensional poverty. When would there be an end to this stalemate and when would the ice begin to melt? Would this situation last in perpetuity — to the dismay of the ordinary citizens of both countries?

    As they fail to grasp opportunities and initiate a constructive dialogue aimed at reducing tensions, both countries must prepare for bigger challenges. Both are on course to becoming water-stressed in a span of just a few years. Some experts believe that the threshold might have already arrived. Underground aquifers are fast depleting in both countries. According to latest findings, India and Pakistan are on the brink of a severe drought that will affect humans, livestock, ecology and industry, and would pose serious health hazards. Income inequalities, carbon emissions (India is the world’s fourth largest emitter of carbon), people migrating to urban centres, deteriorating infrastructure and lack of job opportunities are serious issues that would be confronting people and policymakers in the near future — issues that could generate tensions, causing social upheavals in the subcontinent.

    It is time leaders in both countries shed their paranoia and engaged in a frank and candid dialogue that not only factors in ground realities, but also focuses on establishing a broad understanding as far as convergence of policies on critical issues the two countries will face in the years to come are concerned. How unfortunate is it that bilateral trade in a region of 1.45 billion people is only around $2.5-$3 billion? How disappointing that there are only three flights a week between Lahore and New Delhi to serve the needs of 1.45 billion people?

    This must change. People in both countries need jobs, quality education, better health care, a clean environment, economic advancement, water, electricity, gas, job opportunities, cultural contacts, increased trade, more people-to-people contact — and less hostility, fewer tensions and an elimination of enmities.

    Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2015.

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    Rising above differences - The Express Tribune

    A very thought-provoking opinion piece indeed for both nations...

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  2. Cherokee

    Cherokee SENIOR MEMBER

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    only issue between India and Pakistan is Kashmir .

    Only solution to kashmir is accepting line of actual control as line of control .

    It happens now or after 2000 years that will be only resolution . Neither Pakistan can take a inch of Kashmir from India nor India can do that with Pakistan .

    Baaki dhol tamasha jisko jitna karna hai kar lo .
     
  3. Norwegian

    Norwegian ELITE MEMBER

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    Then what are going to do with idiots like: Marsoon Marsoon, Kashmir Nah Desoon?
     
  4. Cherokee

    Cherokee SENIOR MEMBER

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    We have our own stupid slang " doodh mangoge kheer dengey , kashmir mangogey cheer dengey " Useless chest beating that will only lead to broken ribs .
     
  5. itachiii

    itachiii BANNED

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    let the mud slinging and war of words begin... :enjoy:
     
  6. Norwegian

    Norwegian ELITE MEMBER

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    People in Pakistan won't stop voting PPP when they use such useless slangs anyway. I am not sure about BJP though.
     
  7. Emilly David

    Emilly David BANNED

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    Both countries are developing and have lot of scope for development. Why don't you settle it down ?
     
  8. Cherokee

    Cherokee SENIOR MEMBER

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    I had a lot of hopes with BJP but i am concerned about rising extremism amongst educated people in India . You can see that right here in PDF . Both Hindus and Muslims in past decade have become more "conservative" . I guess its similar to global trends .
     
  9. Norwegian

    Norwegian ELITE MEMBER

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    They believe secularism and liberalism didn't work, so lets try conservatism. Funny, it never worked in US either :)
     
  10. Cherokee

    Cherokee SENIOR MEMBER

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    Well you know how retard people are who "rediscover" their religion .

    Like there is a saying in India

    "Naya mullah zyada allah allah karey " .

    This is what is happening under modi govt to masses over here .
     
  11. FaujHistorian

    FaujHistorian ELITE MEMBER

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    I love peace and I long for it when it comes to peaceful co-existence between Bharat and Pakistan.

    But sadly,

    Knowing the trends in Bharat, such wish is getting harder and harder to achieve.

    Still wishing everyone

    Peace
     
  12. ito

    ito ELITE MEMBER

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    Why do Pakistani authors say all ill facing the sub continent such as poverty, sanitation, education etc..etc..are the result of India - Pakistan disputes and solving those will make all the problems go away magically.

    The truth is disputes or no disputes...these problems will be there. Only economic growth can solve these. Countries can prosper in spite of disputes (Ex: South Korea), but countries will not prosper if they have ill conceived economic policies.
     
  13. FaujHistorian

    FaujHistorian ELITE MEMBER

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    Religion thrives in two main situations.

    1. Under Extreme negative pressure by a foreign entity (or local oppression)
    2. Under extreme lack of governance by the local entity


    Religion is not a cause, it is a symptom, an effect.

    Very valid point. Thank you.
     
  14. Norwegian

    Norwegian ELITE MEMBER

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    Back in 1998, I was only 11 years old when I heard Pakistan conducted 5 nuclear tests following India. I thought this was the time to achieve final peace accord as doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction forced USSR and USA to abide by the peace treaties. Unluckily for us, none of that happened. And yesterday, our defense minister threatened India with nukes again. What peace?

    You are right. Israelis say the same thing about Palestinians, and Arabs in general who believe similarly that with peace between Israelis and Palestinians, all their internal problems would be fixed ''magically''. :sarcastic:
     
  15. Winchester

    Winchester SENIOR MEMBER

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    You thought of that when you were eleven :o: