A Ritual Rinsed of Meaning

A Ritual Rinsed of Meaning
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India and Pakistan’s iterated and repeated use of the word “peace” has now become a ritual rinsed of meaning. Both countries in various forums call for peace between the two. But, the prosaic reality is that what exists between India and Pakistan is “ Cold Peace”. The reasons actually pertain to the conflict in and over Kashmir and the respective self identities and definitions of India and Pakistan. This “cold peace” obtains between them, largely because of the deterrence paradigms that the two countries have respectively and the fact that war would be a disaster for the whole of South Asia. So, in lieu of a “hot war” between India and Pakistan, what accrues is what has been called “ low intensity conflict”. This type of conflict holds and sustains because of the two countries refusal to enter into a dialogue with each other and the “fact” that both can absorb the costs of the conflict. However, the price of the conflict is paid by the people of Kashmir-historically and contemporarily. Returning to the theme of the cold peace” between India and Pakistan, this type of “peace” is tenuous. A major catalyst or accumulation of stress points could actually lead to a conflagration which could lead to the breakdown and deterrence paradigms and turn nuclear. This is not an alarmist scenario but is in the nature of something of probability. To pre-empt this horrible scenario from panning out, both India and Pakistan need to climb down from the perches of their rejectionism vis a vis dialogue and talks and reach out to each other in an idiom shorn of mere rhetoric and go for genuine conflict resolution. While, the core sticking point is Kashmir, the nature of conflict resolution could be a staggered one, in which lesser thorny issues could be tackled and dealt with first till ground is made for the core issue(s). The conflict in and over Kashmir has festered for long and, to repeat, the price has been and is paid by the people of Kashmir. It then behooves upon powers that be in both India and Pakistan to engage each other. It may be pointed out that it is not only the people of Kashmir who suffer but inherent in the hostility between India and Pakistan is real and present danger for the people constituting the firmament of South Asia, and by extension, the world at large.


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