No Love Lost
India and Pakistan have had a tumultuous history but peace in the region can only be achieved by learning from past mistakes and a genuine commitment to mutual cooperation.
TBy Munir Ishrat Rahmani he wise men of pre-independence Indian politics, leading the movement for self-rule in the 20th century could hardly visualize in correct perspective the consequences of India gaining freedom from British rule. The demand for a separate homeland by the Indian Muslims on the basis of the ‘two-nation theory’ was being raised but its implications had not been accurately assessed by the Muslim League, the Indian National Congress or any of the communities. The experience of coexisting as peaceful neighbors - India and Pakistan (if and when implemented) - would have been a novel test for the political leadership of the subcontinent. Judging by the prevailing political environment and the heritage before and during the freedom movement, the chances of a peaceful era in the South Asian subcontinent after the creation of Pakistan could only be considered remote, at best. The social and political concepts dominating the ideology of the two communities did not auger well for good neighborly relations after independence but the extent of bitterness and the magnitude of hatred against each other could not have been anticipated as the subsequent unfortunate events proved.
Ever since the day Pakistan was created relations between the two major states of the subcontinent have remained quite unfriendly ranging from lukewarm to inimical due to a number of unresolved vexing issues like Jammu & Kashmir, distribution of water of rivers flowing from the Indian side, disputed areas such as the Rann of Kutch, Siachen Glacier, etc. Pakistan showed remarkable restraint by not taking advantage of India’s weak position in 1962 when it was engaged in war against China. India, however, did not leave the opportunity of damaging Pakistan when the East Pakistan crisis offered it a chance in 1971. The legacy of animosity continued. India rejoiced at the creation of Bangladesh and disintegration of Pakistan. Most in India thought that the concept of ‘Two Nations’ was defeated and it was proved that the partition of India was ill-conceived, forgetting the fact that another Muslim majority area formed a separate Muslim state – Bangladesh - and the action of the partition of In-