Skip to main content

If Modi can meet Nawaz Sharif, Adani wants to sell 4000 MW power to Pak, why are our soldiers killing each other?

The 2005 Indo-Pak peace march
By Sandeep Pandey*
In 1947 India was divided by the foreign rulers by playing a game of divide and rule to which the religious fundamentalists fell prey. India and Pakistan since then have a checkered history and uneasy relationship sometimes climaxing in wars and violent conflagrations. While the governments prefer to maintain adversarial relationship, which now sustains certain vested interests on both sides, the common people and business interests on two sides want peace.
They do not want conflicts in which people die. The soldiers dying on both sides, after all, come from mostly modest middle class rural backgrounds. While the leaders can meet when they choose to, the common people do not have control over their destiny.
The manner in which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stopped over in Pakistan in December 2015 while on the way from Afghanistan and participated in a family event of Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif, the former heads of intelligence agencies Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan, Asad Durrani and Research and Analysis Wing of India, Amarjit Singh Dulat co-authored a book ‘The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace,’ National Security Advisors of two countries retired Lt. Gen. Nasser Khan Janjua and Ajit Doval continue to meet in third countries, Adani is interested in selling 4000 MW of power to Pakistan and powerful business interests have ensured a peaceful border in Gujarat, why is it that on the northern border soldiers keep killing each other?
We never hear of any Indian soldiers dying on China border probably because India and China have an unwritten-unspoken agreement not to kill each other’s soldiers. If this is so, why can’t a similar understanding be reached with Pakistan. After all, leaders of governments and intelligence agencies and security advisors are talking to each other.
We believe if the governments cannot solve the disputes between the two countries then the people should take the initiative. If the common people of two countries are allowed to meet then over a period of time peace and harmony will prevail. The two governments should facilitate the meeting of common people from two sides by granting them passports and visas easily. Since people from two sides of border share a common culture they can play an important role where the governments have failed.
Along the Indian border with Pakistan there are openings between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad in Kashmir, at Wagah-Attari in Punjab and at Munabao-Khokrapar in Rajasthan-Sindh. Gujarat doesn’t have an opening into Pakistan even though a number of fisherfolk from both sides land up in each other’s jails. The people in Bhuj, Kutch have had intimate relationships with people from the other side and given an opportunity trade can flourish between the two areas again.
If the border between Gujarat and Sindh is opened either at Khavda or Nada Bet the people from two sides will get an opportunity to meet easily and there will be promotion of trade, tourism and ultimately peace and friendship will be strengthened. The fisherfolk whose relatives land in jail on other side can easily travel across to find out their well-being and make an effort to get them released. It is in the interest of common people that borders are opened up.
If people of two countries are allowed to meet freely an atmosphere of peace and harmony will be created in which it will be easier to resolve the outstanding disputes too. When our defence expenses will go down resources will be freed up for developmental activities which will benefit the poor on both sides.
When the two Koreas can end their enmity after almost as long a period as India-Pakistan animosity has existed, why can the two South Asian neighbours not achieve the same feat?
The two governments should also take an initiative to replace the military ceremony on Wagah-Attari every evening with a peace ceremony where people are allowed to meet and celebrate peace, harmony, friendship and their shared culture. Such a model of peace ceremony can then be replicated on all border openings. A model for peace ceremony has been developed by a class on Social Movements at Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar during 2016-17.
The governments of India and Pakistan should create a situation in which ultimately all restrictions on travel across the border are removed and people are allowed to meet freely. This will be a great service to humanity.
A India Pakistan Friendship and Peace March is being organized during 19 to 30 June, 2018 from Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad to Nada Bet on Pakistan border, 290 km from Ahmedabad. Organisations endorsing this March include Vishwagram, Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, Aaghaz-e-Dosti, Minority Coordination Committee, Gujarat, Gujarat Lok Samiti, Bandhkam Mazdoor Sangathan, Pakistan Institute for Labour Education and Research, Karachi, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal, All India Secular Forum, Manthan Samayiki, Kolkata, Jharkhand Nagrik Prayas, sacw.net, Confederation of Voluntary Agencies, Hyderabad, Hamari Awaz, Insaf Foundation, Gujarat Mazdoor Panchayat, Khudai Khidmatgar and Socialist Party (India).
When European countries, which were so bitter enemies of each other that they converted their wars into World Wars less than a hundred years back, can create a Union in which all restrictions on travel have been removed why can’t the same thing be achieved in South Asia? If over hundred countries in five regions of the world can sign on agreements to make themselves Nuclear Weapon Free Zones why can’t India and Pakistan do the same?
In the long term there is no alternative to the currently going on low intensity war between two countries than to establish peace and friendship, especially since a full-fledged war in not possible because of the presence of nuclear weapons on both sides.
---
*Well-known Magsaysay award winning scholar-activist

Comments

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Rejoinder: Worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima is fading, slowly and steadily

By Dr KS Parthasarathy* 
EAS Sarma, former Secretary, Government of India (GoI) in a letter addressed to the Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), GoI, stated that, there has been "worldwide anxiety about the consequences of catastrophic nuclear accidents, either due to manual lapses or natural calamities" (Counterview, December 2, 2018). "In the recent years, globally, the pace of growth of nuclear power has escalated in leaps and bounds, causing a great deal of public concern and apprehension."

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).