On peace with India for The News on Sunday
After the recent LoC fiasco, there has to be long-term commitment and readiness to install shock absorbing measures as the trust grows gradually and not without dangerous chances of reversal
The recent escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan comes after an uninterrupted peace process for two years during which both the countries made a substantial progress in burying the hatchet and moving on. For many cynics, hawks, and naysayers on both sides, events of 2012 were alarming. Beyond the regular continuation of high-level parleys, three concrete achievements were made in the bilateral relations.
First, the hardline position on terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir dispute by India and Pakistan was pushed and amended to achieve an atmosphere conducive to dialogue. India showed flexibility on its rigid position on the ghastly Mumbai attacks of 2008; and Pakistan showed maturity in admitting Pakistani citizens had crossed into India and were part of the larger plan to cause mayhem in Mumbai. More importantly, the festering dispute of Jammu and Kashmir was relegated to one of the more difficult issues to be dealt in the future.
Secondly, Pakistan did the unthinkable by announcing it would grant the Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India for the purposes of trade. Satisfactory progress on this front also took place during 2012 and the trade liberalisation is already underway generating more and more stakes into the peace process.
Third, the visa accord signed between India and Pakistan changed the cold war culture created by both the states since 1965. In particular, visa liberalisation for businessman, setting up of banks in both the countries and allowing investments was a historic landmark.