Need of Peace Between India and Pakistan

Synopsis: Peace Between India and Pakistan is essential for the transformation of South Asia.

Introduction 

The Director Generals of Military Operations of India and Pakistan agreed to strictly observe ceasefire agreements between the two countries. This matched with the Pakistani PM’s statement that Pakistan’s only issue is Kashmir, and it can only be fixed through dialogue. 

  • This statement was strongly supported by General Qamar Bajwa, Pakistan’s Army Chief.
  • There is a growing realization that both the countries cannot take parts of Kashmir that the other country controls.
  • Thus, the focus should be on resolving issues that scar the whole subcontinent instead. These issues include poverty, malnutrition and an unacceptable disregard of the young. 
How will peace with Pakistan help in transforming South Asia?

The India-Pakistan hostility hurts regionalism and South Asian growth. Peace between India and Pakistan will be beneficial for all the nations constituting the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). 

  • Firstly, many reports proved that a good economic value can be derived from South Asian economic integration. The World Bank publication titled ‘A Glass Half Full’ is one of those reports.
  • Secondly, SAARC has remained a victim of India-Pakistan enmity. Even though it has formed partial alliances among its members. 
How can India make a difference to the SAARC?

Professor Selim Raihan of the University of Dhaka highlighted India’s vast ‘size imbalance’ in South Asia.

  1. Firstly, Professor Selim Raihan shared that India’s total land area is 62%, the population is 75%, and the GDP of South Asia in 2016 was 83%. 
    • Pakistan and Bangladesh have a share of only 7.6% and 5.6%, respectively in regional GDP.
  2. Secondly, this indicates that only India can take the lead in changing a grossly under-performing region like South Asia. South Asia has a GDP (PPP) of $12 trillion with a population of a tad over 1.9 billion.
    • On the other hand, the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has a GDP (PPP) of around $9 trillion. Member states like Vietnam are growing enormously.
Way forward
  1. Firstly, India needs to think big and act big by determinedly aiming to plan a South Asian economic miracle. China did the same and even rose in 1972.
  2. Secondly, India needs to view peace with Pakistan as essential and urgent and not just a bilateral matter. It is a chance of a lifetime to drastically makeover South Asia for the better.

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