No War, No Peace

No War, No Peace

“No war, No Peace” might be the apt or even accurate formulation to describe the relations between India and Pakistan- especially if the intermittent episodes of violence and counter violence along the Line of Control (Lo C) are taken into account. If the length and duration of this episodic violence is held as a measure and yardstick,- spanning and extending over years- then it would appear that the nature and intensity of violence along the LoC is viewed by both India and Pakistan as “manageable violence”. That is, it is in the nature of something that can be managed and contained without a general or massive flare up. The reasons for this “confidence”- despite the media’s attempts to play up this violence and root for war- are the deterrence paradigm and capabilities on both sides of the divide. In essence then, India and Pakistan premise their approach (es) to violence on the LoC on their nuclear weapons, capabilities and doctrines. These approaches ensure or lead to what may be termed as “No War, No Peace”. While interstate violence is checked and ruled out (as long as there are no major structural and doctrinal changes), but lives are and continue to be snuffed out on the LoC( along with displacement of peoples along both sides). This is a pity, and among other things, reflects the value that is attached to life in South Asia. In the nature of a travesty, it also speaks about the nature of human rights in the region. Human rights uphold the sanctity of life and hold it to be a cardinal value. But, in the crucible of “ No War, No Peace”, human rights are washed away on the shores of state egos and the conflict thereof. In the larger schemata, it is the combination of territorial nationalism and the clashes of sovereignty that create the larger conflict and forms of violence between India and Pakistan- of which, LoC flare-ups are a component. These forces are, historically and even contemporarily speaking, obdurate and un-amenable to resolution. But this does not and should not mean resignation to these forces in the overall structural context of Indo- Pak relations. If the broader thrust of this relationship cannot be resolved for now, in the least, some sort of a Modus Vivendi must be found to stem this violence. Temporary palliatives or balms like ceasefires are not a solution. Something definitive and long lasting must be found , devised and institutionalized. Lives matter!

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