EDITORIAL | Painting the Sand: Is Peace real this time for India and Pakistan?



All of us grew up knowing that India and Pakistan are bitter rivals. The conflict between the two countries started after the partition of India in 1947, as both India and Pakistan claimed the entire former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Indeed, many have always seen Pakistan as a launchpad for terror bases and a financier for various groups working along the corridor of the Afghanistan-Pakistan belt.

But when it comes to peace between the two countries, it seems that Pakistan’s all-weather friend China will be a bone of contention in peace dialogues with India.

We may note that Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, citing a Chinese government document, recently reported that China intends to build 624 border villages in disputed Himalayan areas.

But onward and upward.

By taking a step in the right direction, India recently extended an olive branch to Pakistan when Prime Minister Narendra Modi penned a letter of good wishes to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on the occasion of Pakistan Day or Pakistan Resolution Day on March 23.

Before this, there were positive indications concerning ties between India and Pakistan.

In February, Indian and Pakistani armies recommitted themselves to the 2003 ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

On March 22, Pakistani officials arrived in India for a meeting of the permanent Indus commission - the first such dialogue in over two years.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan should not see this truce as the March 22, 1985 cricket match played at Sharjah Cricket Stadium - it is not a one-day affair. A truce between India and Pakistan would open trade relations and benefit both nations.

In the words of Lt. Gen. (retd.) D.S Hooda, who was the Indian Army Northern Commander during the surgical strikes, “one should wait and watch on how things pan out.”

Bargaining peace with Pakistan, in the long term, should consist of developmental verticals in an ever-changing world.

By extending a hand of friendship, India has opened a small window of opportunity. It is now up to the two leaders to decide.

At the end of the day, the leaders and the people of both countries must realise that peace is always the way forward as there are no victors in war. The hostile mindset must change.


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