Indo-Pak Relations Essay
Looking back into the recent history of the sub continent one finds that last time the region witnessed the kind of hectic diplomatic moves in the capitals of India and Pakistan in the wake of the non-going civil unrest in Jammu and Kashmir. Those were the days that followed Yahya Khan’s clampdown on the uprising in.Dacca which resulted in a massive inflow of refugees into eastern India from the erstwhile East-Pakistan. During those days, too, there· were veiled suggestions in the speeches of public personalities on both sides of the border of a possible outbreak of armed hostilities. Within months of the beginning of the diplomatic moves in 1971 which saw the visit of Dr. Henry Kissinger to Islamabad and latter his secret visit to Beijing and the then Indian Prime Minister Indra Gandhi’s embarking on a whirlwind tour to seven West European capitals, the third Indo-Pak War broke out.
That war itself was brief and decisive. But, its wounds have left a permanent scar. Pakistan, for one, cannot forget till today either the military defeat or the humiliation of having to part with the land we know today as Bangladesh. Thus, Bangladesh was added to the list of items that could create a further psychological rift between the two countries. The most impairment of those items, of course, the dispute over the valley of Kashmir whose accession to India was questioned by Pakistan from the day it acceded to India. On 16th July (new prime minister) 1996, Indian External Affairs Minister Inder Kumar Gujral told the Parliament that his country is ready to sign a non-aggression pact with Pakistan. This statement issued by Indian foreign office calling for improving Indo-Pak relations. This consultation was also attended by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Sahibzada Yaqub Khan. Almost every speaker at the meeting stressed upon the need to improve relations between these two countries.
More than six months have passed since this was stated by foreign office. There is an India desk in our Foreign Office whose role and exclusive task is to formulate Pakistan”s policy towards India. Its proposaland strategies must always be ready. It is also a well known fact all over the world that the diplomats are always soft on the countries they are working on and it is almost always their wish to improve relations. This is a demand of their profession and perhaps this trait comes automatically to them as part of their profession. It thus does not make sense as to why Pakistan is taking such a longtime to respond to India Premier response to Pakistan PM’s message. Pakistan’s Foreign Office must admit that it is slow to respond; and it may lose this opportunity. This India government, being a coalition, is unstable and cannot last for ever. During his visit to Pakistan, American Ambassador in India Dr. Frank Wisner, has further brought the subject of lndo-Pak relation in the time light. No miracles may be expected from the Wisner’s visit as probably it was a fact finding mission to access the views of various institutions and impairment persons in Pakistan. The Ambassador, however, offered to meditate between the two countries if both of them agree to it. It is a big ‘if’ because India does not agree to mediation; it only calls for bilateral talks.
The bilateral talks have basically been stalled since January 1994 over the issue of Kashmir: Pakistan wants this core issue to be discussed while’ India is willing to discuss everything except this dispute. Notwithstanding what Gujral says it is unlikely that India would discuss Kashmir with Pakistan, particularly when it is a pre-condition to the talks and also because the Indian Government is politically weak. Pakistan now has two options. Either it opts for the ‘nothing approach’ and sticks to its present position and waits for the miracles when India is willing to discuss Kashmir. The other approach is to at least talk on issues other than Kashmir; and strive for improvement of relations in these areas. This approach actually has no negative feature except that a segment of the population, regardless of what people say it is not the majority, may criticize it for talking to the enemy while the Kashmir’s suffer at the hands of the India Army; and that the Kashmir’s fighting the Indians and the Kashmirs population in general may feel betrayed. The fighters may get demoralized and the things may start to normalize from an Indian point of new; I say Indian because will only consider it normalization when the UN resolution are implemented.
India wishes to start relationship on a new footing. Otherwise how could one explain Gujral’s unilateral decision to issue maximum number of visas to Pakistanis wanting to visit India. He promised that his country would be quite liberal in issuing visas”. And this cannot just be described as a playing to the gallery, as expressed by a section-of the Urdu press. We also expressed his wish to reopen the Indian Consulate in Karachi.There are reports in the press that Pakistan may allow Indian to, open a ‘visiting consulate; whatever it means in Karachi. The government must realise that majority of the people desiring to go to India are those who need to visit their relatives and they are mostly based in Karachi or in south Pakistan; difficulties are being encountered by them in the absence of a Consulate in that area.
The’ negatives are definitely important but are not leaving the people of Pakistan with much choice. Who knows it better than the government of Pakistan that the Kashmir dispute is not on the top of world’s agenda. What to talk of presenting a resolution in the UN General Assembly on this issue Pakistan now does not even contemplate to raise this issue, in the UN Human Rights Commission. The reason is simple; countries, including the United States, are aware of the human rights violations there, but they do not wish to spoil their relations with India for economic and political reasons and that they also do not approve of Pakistan aiding the militants even if its just political help. This is the practical reality regardless of what the government tries to argue domestically: UN resolutions and rights of self-determination are not making and headway.
TRADE WITH INDIA:
Reports originating from India show that the growth in export from that country has substantially declined, from 24 percent to 9.2 during the first five months of the current fiscal year as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. In contrast, the growth rate of Pakistan’s exports has doubled to 14 percent during the first three months of the current year as, compared to the same period last year. This favourable development took place before the additional advantage occurring from recent devaluation came into play. The reports from India suggest that the decline has been due to the sharp cuts in measures of protection (provided earlier to the domestic industry) as a result of IMF sponsored economic reforms aimed at globalization of the Indian economy. Foremost among the liberation measures is the cut in tariff rate which in general was 200 percent, and has now been reduced to 25 percent, the maximum being 50 percent. This obviously has reduced the capacity of the local industry to cut prices far exports and provide internalized subsidy.
Among the items affected by the decline in export growth rate are textiles and leather and leather goods. These are the items which have registered growth in our case. In these items we compete with India in the international market. According to reports, tanneries have been closed down in Utar Paradesh and Tamil Nado the two big centers of industry, as a result of court orders on grounds of environmental pollution. The demand for closure may extend to other states of India as well on the same ground. Textile and leather goods are our main products and constitute over 65 percent of our export. Then now situation that is developing should set at naught our apprehensions about being disadvantaged in competition with India. This is the time we should consider opening up normal trade with the neighbour. Apart from getting an access to the market of 950 million people with a prospering middle class of 200 million, Pakistan will have an opportunity of getting raw material a.id capital goods from a cheaper source. In addition, government revenue will receive a immediate boost as, along with trade creation, much of the existing illegal trade our Rs 1 billion each may will flow into legal channels. There are certain Pakistani industries which are still in infancy like automobiles, two wheelers, electronics, domestic appliances, etc. These rightly fell threatened in the event of generally liberalised trade being allowed the two countries. It is encouraging that India is not insisting on perfect reciprocity. While it has already granted Pakistan the most favoured nation (MEN) statue, it has left it to Pakistan to choose its own time opt for either an across the board or an item wise approach in trade with that country. In addition to retaining the sovereign right to protect its own interests, Pakistan may negotiate with New Delhi the exclusion of such items which it needs to protect. What needs to be realised is that trade with neighbours brings in the advantage of an increased exchange of goods at a lower cost, and promotes stability in prices in both partner countries.