Indo-PaK CBMs

In the aftermath of a new direction to India-Pakistan relationship following a brief meeting between the two Prime Ministers in Paris, the atmosphere of cordiality is gradually and steadily percolating down to middle and lower cadres involved in shaping various facets of cordial relations. The new trend emanates from realization on both sides that there is no alternative to good relationship if regional and international peace is the target. In all probability, the fast changing strategic scenario on global level, with specific reference to the ISIS, Afghan crisis and its impact, the rising crescendo of terrorism with obvious impact on societies and governments all have combined to impress upon the policy planners in two large countries of the sub-continent that they must shun the old mindset and make a new beginning along the road of understanding and cooperation failing which they will have to face the challenges that are strong enough o disrupt their societies.
After the two security chiefs met in Bangkok and talked about security matters in a cordial manner, the external affairs ministers of the two countries met in Pakistan and lent their support to confidence building measures. Now the foreign secretaries of the two countries are scheduled to meet in New Delhi in January to discuss how areas of cooperation and collaboration can be identified and concretized. From Indian side, the policy planning circles expressed great satisfaction when the Prime Minister of Pakistan advised his Council of Ministers to shun issuing anti-India statements as that would derail the process of building confidence between the two countries. This obviously means that a good deal of ground has been covered by the two sides apparently under Track II diplomacy, and no one on either side should be allowed to disrupt the process. The two countries can prosper and progress if they give up hostilities and collaborate in major projects of development. For example the recent signing of TAPI gas pipeline between four countries is a significant development in the sub-continent and will augur well for wider economic interaction between the two countries and others in Central Asia and the region.
As part of this process, the warmth of cordiality has been carried to the LoC where at the crossing point of Chakan-da-Bag in Poonch sector, the Brigade Commanders of two sides heading their teams met in all warmth and cordiality for two hours to sort out the irritants that lead to violation of the cease fire agreement and resumption of firing and shelling. The two army commanders have agreed on revving and reinforcing the sanctity of the Cease Fire Agreement of 2003. The most significant aspect of the talks between the commanders is that both have owned the responsibility of not violating the right to life of the civilian population living close to the LoC. It will be reminded that during the unprovoked firing and shelling along the LoC or the IB, many innocent civilian lives were lost besides huge damage to their economy and other properties. The Commanders agreed to remain in touch through hotline and other means particularly when any irritant comes up. They agreed not to violate each others air space and inform the other side in advance if any construction work is to take place close to the border. It is very encouraging that the two sides emphasized observing restraint and not get provoked and then take the extreme steps. Small incidents could be taken care of without magnifying them so as to adversely affect cordial relations between the two sides.
We have always said that India and Pakistan have to live as peaceful and good neighbours. We have also said that they should widen the scope for their trade relations and cooperate in many mega projects to pull their people out of the morass of poverty and backwardness. They have resources and manpower which can work wonders to make them strong nations with ability to influence the world politics. For the present, let us hope that the meeting between the two army commanders becomes successful on the ground and firing and shelling on LoC will be eschewed once for all. This will enable the villagers to return to their habitats and resume their daily chores of life without threat of being forced to abandon their homes. We hope that both sides will stick to the terms of agreement and thus lend strength to the CBMs.