Indo- Pak Détente

Indo- Pak Détente

Violence has again broken along the Line of Control (LoC). The form and nature of these violent break outs along the LoC have not almost become ritualistic and even formalistic in the sense that these occur , at intermittent but regular intervals. While, both India and Pakistan, the arch antagonists, have not gone beyond these violent and fatal skirmishes and the rhetorical war of words over these, but there is no guarantee that things will remain at this level and condition of “No War, No Peace” between the two. In interstate relations, the “option” of war always remains but the actual decision to go to war is hedged and hemmed in by various factors- the presence of nuclear weapons, the climate of international relations and broader international opinion, the state of the economy and even public opinion. It is these factors, in combination, that actually precludes the actual outbreak of war between India and Pakistan. But, the wild card here, and in the context of repeated skirmishes, is a certain threshold for both India and Pakistan. This threshold is largely psychological and emotional. If, God forbid, this psycho-emotional threshold is breached, then there is a distinct possibility of war between the two arch antagonists. This scenario must be pre-empted at all costs. War between India and Pakistan will not only be disastrous but will exact such horrific costs that it will not only set back the two countries but the brunt will be borne by the people of both the countries and the region, at large. It is, therefore, imperative that intense and sincere attempts be made by both India and Pakistan to preclude and pre- empt this scenario from panning out. These attempts to stave off war and build peace must actually begin at and over the LoC. The former would mean establishing a hotline at the LoC to thwart and ward off misunderstanding. The latter could mean re-establishing and recommencing diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan, not merely at certain intergovernmental levels but at the highest levels – especially political. Von Clausewitz, the great Prussian theorist of war has famously stated that “war is diplomacy by other means”. But, this maxim may have been valid at a certain time and is irrelevant now. What holds and should be the operating dynamic between India and Pakistan is the dictum of the wit, according to who, “all war is bad politics”. Let, therefore, peace be given a chance and let the first step be resumption of dialogue- sincere and meaningful- between India and Pakistan.