Sliver of Hope?

Sliver of Hope?
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Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has responded to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra’s Modi’s letter. Khan, referring to what called an “undeniably challenging relationship” has written that, “We, however, owe it to our peoples, especially the future generations, to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, to bridge differences and achieve a mutually beneficial outcome”. The shifting to and fro of letters from the PMO’s might be suggestive of a renewed dialogue between arch foes. But, given past history and even precedent, it might be too much to expect some kind of a break through. Having said this, the highlight of Khan’s letter is the reference to the peoples constituting the firmament of South Asia. Hitherto, the antagonism between India and Pakistan has been premised on competing and contending sovereigntisms , with the interests of the state, or raison d’etat , as the prime foci or pivots around which the dynamic between the two revolves around. This , in turn, means the primacy of these interests over that of the people of whole South Asia, given that India and Pakistan are the core constituents of the region. The reference to people is then significantly important. The people of South Asia have multiple issues and problems; the most important of these is the blight of poverty. While the reasons of poverty, in turn, are also multifarious, but the region’s economic potential is withheld by the conflicts that bedevil it, among other things. It stands to reason that the region reach its potential. For this to happen, India and Pakistan need to and must resolve their differences and conflicts. From a broader perspective, it would appear that South Asia is defined by a paradox: it is, somewhat , frozen in history and history seems to have surpassed it, unlike other regions of the world, especially the developed world. The region’s leaders owe it to their people to not only make pace real for them but also insert the region into the sinews of history and historical progress. This can only happen when leaders and powers that be across the divide take an expansive and even a larger than life view of the region and make the welfare of the people central to their endeavors. While this might take time, but there appears to be a sliver of hope with the exchange of letters between the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan and a positive response thereof.