March 2005 News

When Chill Crept Into Indo-Pak Warmth

10 March 2005
The Indian Express

Jammu: Even as the region is basking in the glow of Indo-Pak cricket bonhomie, a group of distinguished academics and former defence officers today sought to introduce some chill by ruling out any lasting peace between the two countries.In a seminar on 'India and Pakistan: Pathways Ahead' at Jammu University, here, today, speaker after speaker underlined the differences that make friendship between the two neighbours so difficult. Retired Vice-Admiral K K Nayyar, minced no words when he declared that 'there was no Hindi- Paki bhai bhai relationship in the offing'. Terming former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee's dream of friendship as more 'emotional than a rational decision,' he said it was clear that both the countries had vast economic and political differences. Retired Gen V P Malik also ruled out a smooth ride when he hinted at an armed conflict between the nations, if 'terrorist outfits are not dismantled.' Cautioning against 'over-optimism', Malik also said that the past experiences with Pakistan have not been very cordial. Former Indian High Commissioner G Parthasarathy categorically stated that Pakistan did not respect 'sovereignty and equality' , and was now 'finetuning terrorism', with Armed forces and politicians being the targets. The former ambassador also said it was hard to ignore 'the Pakistani military mindset' during any negotiations . Calling Pakistan's stand on Kashmir 'non-static,' he said Kashmir was a non-issue, and was only a part of the larger challenge Pakistan wanted to pose to India. Retired Major General Afsir Karim could not agree less when he said that Kashmir had nothing to do with Pakistan's aspirations. Karim also described the Pakistani terrorism as something whose 'aim was not to gain anything, but to punish, disturb and destabilise.' Calling Pakistan a 'migraine, which was chronic but not acute,' Dr Rajesh Rajagopalan, a professor at JNU, said the Pakistani Army was primarily the reason for the Indo-Pak conflict. The speaker, however, described the confidence building measures as positive, and said the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road will go a long way in nurturing peace. But the overall mood was of circumspection. It was quite evident when , in answer to a question, Nayyar said: 'Why be in a hurry to befriend Pakistan, let's be happy with the present status.'


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