Many persons, long used to the India-Pakistan conflict and mutual accusations, were surprised when India allowed a Pakistan probe team to visit the Pathankot airbase, in a bid to show evidence to Pakistan’s joint investigation team regarding the Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists, who entered Pathankot airbase and were killed by the Indian army after a fierce gun battle on January 2. This visit of the Pakistani team only highlights the fact that there is increasing realization amongs the leaders of the governments in India and Pakistan that both the countries have to stand together to fight the terrorists.
The extraordinary confidence and courage of conviction shown by Mr. Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, to allow the Pakistani investigation team to visit the airbase at Pathankot deserves a high level of praise.
Of course, as expected, some of the political parties in India protested against Mr. Modi’s decision to allow the Pakistani investigation team and Mr. Modi was criticized as not being strong enough in dealing with Pakistan. However, a large section of well-meaning citizens in India have welcomed this move, which should give more confidence to Mr.Modi to move on the peace path to forge more cooperation and understanding between India and Pakistan.
Pakistan has been facing serious terrorist attacks in recent times and the latest one is the attack on Christians and other religious minorities, killing around 81 people in June, 2013. Pakistan is now left with no alternative other than fighting against terrorists with all the force at its command to ensure peaceful conditions in the country. It is reported that Pakistan’s army chief has cleared a military offensive against the terrorists across Punjab in Pakistan, which is the country’s most populated province.
To fight terrorism, which is causing serious problems for India and Pakistan, it is absolutely necessary that both the countries should cooperate and ensure that the terrorists would not have a free run.
It is possible that there are some people in India, as well as Pakistan, who are of the view that Indo-Pakistan peace is impossible in the foreseeable future. As a matter of fact, when Mr. Modi decided to allow the Pakistan investigation team to visit Pathankot, a section of media in India asked “Can Pakistan be believed?” Similar voices have been heard in Pakistan also.
Even as the visit of the Pakistani investigation team to Pathankot raised hopes that cooperation between both the countries would be possible in combating terrorism for mutual benefit, accusations have been raised in Pakistan that an Indian spy has been caught in Pakistan, which has been denied by the Indian government.
In the past, it has been seen that whenever a meaningful peace initiative would be launched between India and Pakistan, then some allegations and suspicions were raised about the actions and motive of either country, which would derail the peace moves. The same pattern is seen now.
It is very important that India’s Prime Minister and his counterpart in Pakistan should not allow themselves to be distracted by such suspicions and they should keep the target of peace as the ultimate goal firmly with determination.
It is gratifying that at the moment, both Mr. Narendra Modi and Mr. Nawaz Shariff have shown some sort of resolve that peace move has to be forged, without allowing pinpricks to come in the way. This is a good sign and a large section of citizens of India and Pakistan, who have the wisdom to understand the futility of conflict and the importance and inevitability of peace, would feel happy about this.