Peace And Indo-Pak Complex Relation – OpEd


Peace or amity is the opposite form of hostility and conflict. In political parlance and international studies, peace is defined as a state of tranquility when there is no hostility or end of battle or aggression. To subjugate the enemy, freedom from disturbance or settle the disputes at the diplomatic level are its examples. In this context, the term, war, is applied at the semantic level to explain peace. Both terms are used as antonyms of each other as one denotes stability and order and the other disorder and instability.  The absence of one indicates the presence of the other. Peace has not to be considered a complicated procedure to be carried out carefully to maintain it, rather it is deemed as the opposite condition of the war. This ambiguous explanation of peace and ignoring its essential other conditions makes the process complex to resolve inter-state conflicts. This obscure explanation was presented by Johan Galtung and Kenneth Boulding. They also analyzed brief and comprehensive terms and essential requirements for this process. It is an interrelated process and indicates tranquil and violent moments among states. In the end, they describe all terms and including aberrant and harmonious situations.

In a broader term, peace is generally defined as an absence of war, but this is not precisely the case. Scholars, experts, analysts, and other officials designed many models and suggested different devices to implement it to achieve world peace and stability and resolve life-long rivalries. Still, this is an obscure term with multiple meanings following the situation and nature of cases and has been used for many centuries by different societies and nations. On account of this, the educational or theoretical study and practical approach of peace and settlement of conflict can be defined as ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ peace. The other definition simply describes it as the non-existence of hostility. The second definition explains other related concepts and procedures including justice and impartiality to achieve peace in its true sense.

War and Peace:

Is peace the non-existence of violence or something else? Peace is sometimes considered to be the opposite form of war but if a country is not engaged in battle with the other state, still can it be called a peaceful situation? Are human beings facing corporal retribution? Are the problems of exploitation, despotism, racism, and inequity comes under the definition of peace? The famous analyst, Johan Galtung also pointed out it while presenting the theory of positive and negative peace. One solution to remove ambiguity regarding the right concept of both terms is to mention kinds of war and peace. In this context, Wars can be classified as hot war, cold war and oeace can be define as hot peace, and cold peace. Hot war or severe kind of war is related to the use of missiles, torpedo, tanks, troops, weapons, ammunition, bombs, airstrikes or face to face fighting, etc. This war is waged to terminate or subjugate the enemy or occupy the territory. The war concludes in victory or defeat. The cold war pertains to the mutual animosity and blame game without using weapons. In this war, the belligerent states are engaged in the use of harsh words, production and purchase of weapons, bombs, etc. They increase their military budget and exercises and overlook other necessities of the masses. Patriotism is at zenith during this cold war but both sides avoid direct invasion, use of artillery, or atomic bomb as it can result in mass destruction and annihilation for both parties. According to Galtung, negative peace is a social condition which demands the prevention of human rights violation and abuses at the personal or national level. Keeping in view negative peace, hushing up such human rights abuses, domestic and social violence can aggravate the situation on a large scale that’s why it must be avoided. Positive peace on the other side is the peace where there is no war but also no negative peace.

Best Strategy to convert negative peace into positive peace between India and Pakistan

Most of the countries are subject to negative peace as they mistrust each other. India and Pakistan are also suffering from the same issue. Both counties are traditional rivals since their independence in 1947. The history of both countries is replete with incidents of aggression, animosity, battles, mutual conflicts, cross-firing at LOC, etc. The governments of both states use this rivalry as their political strategy and also indulge themselves in the cold war. Lack of trust, confidence, and cooperation has augmented tensions. This hostility has posed a great threat of war in South Asia. The processes of dialogue, peace treaty, arbitration were carried out but to no avail. All this resulted in more clashes and disputed. Though they are joined by borders but are unable to join hands for mutual progress and maintenance of peace. The communication gap at social and diplomatic levels has also increased. Since the creation of both countries, they are at a logger’s head and do not trust each other. They come to blows even for a minor issue and spread propaganda against each other. Incidents like cross-firing at LOC is a matter of routine. Military and border forces are active as almost all diplomatic, military, international efforts and treaties prove futile. During talks, both sides are unable to build confidence and the signed deals remain unfruitful. Tashkent Declaration can be viewed as its example, concluded on January 19, 1966, to end the 1965 war. It was mentioned in the treaty that both sides will not meddle in each other’s affairs but again no implementation. In 2004, both countries gathered for Agra Summit but did not sign it due to clashes over the Kashmir issue. In 2002, the Parliament attack and in 2008, Mumbai attacks, again both sides started to blame games instead of finding a mutual solution. The existence of mistrust is the major reason for all disputes and abortive dialogues and efforts. The unresolved Kashmir dispute is the main hindrance, though by acting upon UN Resolution, it can be easily solved. The final solution changing negative in to positive peace for both countries is to initiate CBMs and to implement the existing CBMs, because only communication and interaction between the people of both the states and the government of these states can be helpful in mitigating the tensions between the two. As there is negative peace between India and Pakistan most of the times, CBMs can convert negative peace in to positive.

Confidence building measures

Confidence building measures are different measures which states adopt to build some sort of confidence and trust between them. There are two types, military, and non-military CBMs. The first one is already implemented between India and Pakistan on many points. Non-military CBMs are a type where trust-building initiatives can be taken in the field of trade, commerce, culture, and where there can be people to people contacts. CBMs are the steps, taken to develop confidence and trust between nations. There are 3 phases of military CBMs. First is, Conflict Avoidance: This is the first stage. At this level, diplomatic ties, mutual understanding, and trust are required. Though the governments endeavored to settle the disputes yet they are adamant on some points. Thus, it is difficult to solve the dispute completely. Second Phase: Confidence Building: This stage is not as easy as the first one. As in the first step, only diplomatic willingness is enough as a sensible leadership evade direct military conflict or battle. The first stage acts as a base for this step. It entails more diplomatic capital and a higher level of trust as only a minor difference can stop this process. The countries can strive for more diplomatic resources. A long enmity or unsettled major disputes can hinder the progress of this phase. The Indo-Pak clashes seek brave leaders who can take daring decisions at the diplomatic level to resolve all disputes. Many CBMs have been taken but they are unable to achieve the desired outcomes due to ineffective measures. It is difficult to implement this phase in South Asia as there is no active leadership and proper dialogue process. There should be effective table talks to check and resolve the controversial issues. Third Phase is the Consolidation of Peace: at this level, the heads of the states take all necessary steps to implement CBMs effectively and strengthen peace in the region. They hold peace talks and evade war and direct conflict. This phase entails sensible planning and involvement of major organizations and factors.

One the other, non-military CBMs mostly involve low politics. Where the people of both states take certain types of initiatives to change the mind and perceptions of each other. This type of interaction can have a spillover effect on High politics as well. The history of Previous non-military CBMs between India and Pakistan is not significant because of various reasons. In 1999 Atal Bahari Vajpayee Visited Lahore and both the leaders initiated many CBMs, but the Kargil episode by General Pervaiz Musharaf becomes a hurdle in the implementation of the Lahore declaration. In 2001 there was Agra summit, where India invited Pakistan in Agra for the talks, where Gen Musharaf went open heartedly by saying that ‘I have come here to make history and to make Sub-continent a peaceful region and surely peace will tackle poverty which is prevailing in both the nations’. However, the attack on the Indian Parliament again deteriorated the relations and become a reason for the failure of the Agra Summit as well. In 2004, there was a Composite Dialogue Process between them, where both the states come to the Table talks, but again this peace initiative was halted due to another major incidence. In 2007 there was an attack on Samjhota express,42 passengers lost their lives in that incident. In 2008, There were Mumbai attack and a terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba accepts the responsibility of this incident.

 From these above historical examples, one can easily analyze the reasons of the failure of previous CBMs. Whenever there is any major incident happens, both the states blame each other even before investigating the whole event. Indeed, CBMs cannot resolve the long-lasted disputes, but they can only provide a pathway for communication and interaction, which can further lead towards the table talks on the bigger issues. In History it can be seen that Both the states stop implementing the CBMS whenever any major incident happens between them, this practice needs to be stopped as foremost incidents should not halt the process of CBMs. There are many aspects where the people of both states can work together which not only will build trust but also will have a positive effect on the economies of both states. CBM is the only solution that can eradicate the trust between India and Pakistan. We cannot expect much from the CBMs, of course, they have a quiet slow process in building peace but as it is said that slowly and gradually always wins the race that’s why CBMs can also do their work slowly and gradually if they implemented properly. It is essential to eliminate grudges from both sides and dispel the notion of traditional rivals so that the minds of the masses of both nations can be shaped and it can render all CBMs possible.

*Areeja Syed has done her MS in International Relations from COMSATS University, Islamabad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *