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[Answered]“To put India-Pakistan relations on a positive trajectory more confidence-building measures and steps like Kartarpur corridor are needed.” Critically evaluate the statement.

Demand of the question

Introduction. Contextual Introduction.

Body. Significance of corridor and need of CBMs. Discuss various issues and challenges.

Conclusion. Way forward.

Kartarpur gurudwara is the revered shrine across the border where Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism spent the last 18 years of his life.The corridor connect the holy shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in Gurdaspur district of Punjab in India with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan. Such a corridor not only reduce needed to tensions among India and Pakistan but is critical at this time with other confidence building measures for peace and good relations in India and Pakistan.

Significance of the corridor and need of other similar confidence building measures:

  1. The forward movement on the Kartarpur corridor can be considered a big development since despite the India-Pakistan deadlock in talks, both New Delhi and Islamabad have been able to form a consensus on the issue.
  2. Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) are those steps or agreements on which the states agree with mutual benefit in mind, and states have faith that such agreement shall be obeyed by all the concerned. There is need of diverse arrangements such as hotlines, people-to-people exchanges, and prior notifications of military exercises that can help reduce tensions and promote good neighbourly relations.
  3. These steps or agreements ultimately develop trust between the states and help in having peace and stability in the region.The need for sustained dialogue to effectively address issues of regional security and to establish effective CBMs for stable relationship in South Asia cannot be overemphasised.
  4. The two traditional regional rivals and their neighbours in South Asia and beyond are now, more than ever before, stakeholders in any efforts that would reduce tensions, build confidence and encourage regional cooperation. The political and economic stability of the countries of the region, individually and collectively, are dependent on the ability of the region todevelop sustainable, achievable and effective set and process of CBMs and institutionalised regional cooperation.
  5. Since the volatile relationship between India and Pakistan is often referred to as the most dangerous potential flash point in today’s international system. Any future conflict may likely turn into war increases if one adds the misunderstandings, the missed signals, and the involvement of non-state elements to the scenario of confrontation. Thus the urgent requirement of enforcing the existing CBMs, and devising new CBMs, ultimately leading to peace and stability of the region.

Some issues and challenges:

  1. Mere confidence building measures would not be helpful if such steps are being used for terrorist activities and support in future. E.g. use of Kartarpur corridor to increase Khalistan support.
  2. Without military support from Pakistan, its government and steps like confidence building measures would not help.
  3. Without check on terrorism from Pakistan, none of the measure could be successful as it will only lead to rise in conflicts.
  4. India and Pakistan have in the past concluded bilateral agreements or arrangements to reduce risk of conflict. They have also been part of the initiative to institutionalised regional cooperation in the form of SAARC, which has agreeably achieved only limited, if any, success in promoting regional stability. A central problem in utilising CBMs is the difficulty in faithfully implementing the existing CBMs already in place.
  5. The possibility of false perceptions or accidents could exacerbate the ongoing impasse over Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and add to tensions along the sensitive, fragile and overly militarised Line of Control (LoC) that could precipitate an unintended, unwanted, nuclear exchange.

A state of low intensity conflict exists between India and Pakistan in the disputed region of Kashmir, characterised by cross-border shelling and exchanges of gunfire as a daily occurrence. Therefore, proposing steps for increased nuclear transparency between these countries could easily seem futile to the casual observer. However, the Indian and Pakistani relationship is complex and works at many levels. The complexity of the Indian and Pakistani relationship provides glimmers of hope that progress can occur in some areas of interaction even while there are major setbacks in others.

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