Route to Peace

Route to Peace
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To state the obvious, India and Pakistan comprise and form the core components and constituents of South Asia – politically, economically, culturally and geo -strategically. These fundamental units might be called “core South Asia”. But, both India and Pakistan are at loggerheads with each other so much so that their rivalry, militarized to a large extent, if it escalates beyond a point, poses a threat to regional (even global) peace, security and prosperity. Besides the “natural” rivalries and competition, that emanates in and between the world of states, competing and contending sovereigntisms, ideological rivalries, what forms the core and locus of militarized antagonism between India and Pakistan is the conflict in and over Kashmir. While the overall causal loop that enmeshes the two countries in conflict is complex, but pared to the bone, it is actually Kashmir that undergirds this mortal rivalry (again to state the obvious). Given the size, scope and depth of India and Pakistan and the attendant fact that the future of South Asia is contingent on the nature of relations between the two arch antagonists, it behooves upon both to develop and crystallize, in the least, a “normal” relational grid. It is not only this larger macro reality that should concentrate the minds of powers that be, across the divide, but also the fact that peoples comprising the two units need a breather and reprieve from the abiding conflict. There then are both strategic (hard) and humanitarian (soft) reasons for India and Pakistan to enter into a somewhat “normal” dyadic relationship. But, the drift of politics and political posturing overlaid and complemented by historical animosity and conflict renders the danger of conflict escalation and deepening a clear and present danger. This potential dynamic or even drift needs to be checked. But, this can only happen, when the core sticking point between India and Pakistan is addressed. The reference axiomatically here is to Kashmir. This assertion may sound clichéd and all too obvious. But, generally speaking, it is in the obvious that often times, the nub lies. For the sake of their peoples, their well being and welfare, and the larger and broader reasons of stanching more intense conflict, which could even develop more dangerous and alarming undertones and over tones, India and Pakistan must enter into a genuine, multi stakeholder and far reaching , robust dialogue. The route to this lies in and through Kashmir.