SRINAGAR, DEC 03: New Delhi’s rejection of the invitation to attend the proposed SAARC Summit in Islamabad and reiteration of the stand that talks cannot be held along with terrorist actions is Modi government’s return to its “no talks” stance which has been in place for the past more than four years. Statement of Union Home minister Rajnath Singh that Jammu and Kashmir was not an issue is another reason to believe that Modi-Government’s flip-flop continues.
This has come just a few days after a ground-breaking ceremony of opening of Kartpur Corridor near the Gurudwara Darbar Sahib. The joint effort in preparing the Kartarpur Corridor had once again underlined the necessity for improving relations and cooperation between the two countries. It also highlighted the importance of developing people to people relations as a vital component of restoring normalcy and good neighborly relations. Even, Narendra Modi compared the Kartarpur corridor to the fall of the Berlin Wall and hoped it would act as a bridge between the two peoples.
There is a need to open more cross-LoC travel and trade routes between divided parts of Jammu and Kashmir state. A similar arrangement on the pattern of Kartarpur corridor must be made for the pilgrims to Sharada Peeth, an important temple across the Line of Control.
The governments of the two countries must open trade routes on Jammu-Sialkot Chhamb-Jourian to Mirpur, Gurez-Astoor-Gilgit, Jhangar (Nowshera)-Mirpur and Kotli, Turtuk-Khapulu, Kargil- Skardu and Titwal-Chilhan (Across Neelam Valley). Dialogue, reconciliation and economic development is the need of the hour as violence has not achieved only death and destruction in the past seven decades.
However, the falling back on a hardline stance by the Modi government underscores its contradictory and self-defeating stand in its relations with Pakistan. That there is no consistency in India’s approach to Pakistan became evident once more recently, when in September this year, India accepted the new Pakistan government’s offer for a meeting of the two foreign ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session. That decision was rescinded within two days giving reasons which were difficult for anyone to understand.
With its blinkered approach to relations with Pakistan which are dictated by its narrow partisan agenda, the Modi government is constricting its scope for strategic autonomy. What is required is resumption of the comprehensive dialogue while maintaining a firm stance on tackling terrorism.
Dialogue is the only option to resolve issues as wars, violence and ceasefire violations on borders have only resulted in death and destruction in the last seven decades. The violent approach will neither benefit India, nor Pakistan and such approach always has a devastating effect on the people of J&K.
The ruling class in both the countries should realize that violence has neither achieved anything in the last seven decades nor will yield anything in future. Peace loving constituencies in both the countries should assert and persuade their governments to shun this path of violence and enter into a meaningful dialogue.
Violence has only brought miseries to people of the state. Opening of all historic routes across LoC can bring prosperity and economic affluence in J&K besides sending across the message of peace, coexistence and amity between India and Pakistan. There is a need for frequent cultural exchanges between youth, institutions, groups and communities on the two sides of LoC as it could bring people and societies closer.
The bold political initiatives, sincere confidence building measures is the only answer to prevailing uncertain situation in the State. For what purpose are both the countries purchasing weapons and ammunition for billions of dollars? Millions of people live in a pitiable condition in both the countries because of the never ending hostilities between India and Pakistan. The money, the resources and the energy which is being consumed on wars and violence could have been utilized for poor.