The peace process, in perspective

As it slides down the slippery slope, India’s vision is becoming clouded

The Indian Express offers that India must concede something more substantial for Pakistan to be seen as gaining something.

For a peace process to succeed each side must be committed to peace. But each side also likes to come away from any process with a sense of having gained something. Coming up with a formula that allows both sides to declare victory isn’t easy. The Indo-Pak peace process faces this challenge.

India is right to insist that any withdrawal of troops must be contingent upon a decrease in terrorism in J&K. But there is a larger question that India will have to confront. What can India offer that will allow President Musharraf to walk away with the sense that Pakistan gained something from the process? [IE]

Emotional and intellectual investment in the peace process has clouded this newspaper’s judgement.

Here’s another way of looking at it. As long as Pakistan continues in the pursuit of proxy-war against India, it cannot be seen as anything but an aggressor. The only proper way to deal with Pakistani aggression is to threaten punitive retaliation (and carry it out if it comes to that). Seen from this perspective, Pakistan will certainly be gaining something (ie removal of a threat) if it agrees to stop cross-border terrorism. Peace is its own reward — this is as true for Pakistan as it is for India. And India must drive that point home.

There is absolutely no need to concede anything more to Pakistan. Doing so will only mean India accepts Pakistan’s nuclear blackmail. There is absolutely no need to concede anything to Gen Musharraf to keep him in power. He is quite capable of doing that without Indian assistance. Pakistan may not be able to win Kashmir by its infamous strategy of bleeding India ‘through a thousand cuts’; but India is showing signs that it is clearly capable of giving that and a lot more away, ‘through a thousand bits’.

Related Links: Some op-ed takes, by Tavleen Singh, Arvind Lavakere and Bharat Bhushan.

4 thoughts on “The peace process, in perspective”

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  2. Nitin:

    What’s amusing is that the IE editorial prefers to keep its ideas on what India can offer Pakistan to itself. And not without reason, I suspect–there really is no happy medium on J&K. Any proposal likely to satisfy Pakistan is going to require major surgery on the Indian body politic and that’s a prospect even the mushy IE can’t quite contemplate with equanimity.

    Still, ever hopefully (as always), I am (guardedly) optimistic about the outcome of this ‘peace process’: Even the IE’s Raja-Mohan, while still pining for the ‘peace process’, commends the PM for not giving in to the General’s attempt to “…hustle [him on J&K]…”. India is, after all, a democracy and the dismemberment of India sought by Pakistan–and, perhaps, as well by some Indian peace mongers–is not likely to pass muster with the voters.


  3. To Indian Commons
    Going through Acorn’s “Peace process in perspective” what I think and can reflect is:-

    1) Democracy though a word can be utilized efficiently & shrewdly in any diplomatic negotiation, and India-Pakistan peace process is not an exception..

    2) Peace has its own rewards…but these rewards should be perceived as such…until & unless We indulge in spiraling journey of economic growth, social betterment, development and empowerment, there will be no one, who will perceive peace as a reward. Though military is ruling Pakistan and most of its history is filled with military rule, Power of educated, hopeful commons can’t be neglected…infect general Musharraf is also ruling it by the name of betterment & development of commons..

    3) Nothing happens in Isolation. Though we can imagine our self as a becoming developed nation but in reality it can’t be achieved. Pakistan, Bangladesh and India are so much integrated geographically, culturally and emotionally that how much and however you try bonding are unbreakable..
    Relations will either be filled with cooperation, happiness n joy or will bring with it sorrow, terror, fight….(as it is now)..Hopeful, Committed for development, transparently governed and secure neighbors are better for our development..

    4) Hope is a powerful word. Here in India, we all commons hope for peace as outcome of negotiation (as an important ingredient for becoming developed), the same should be Hoped & realized by Pakistani junta (commons)…Lets compete but in another domain should be the mantra..

    with Hope n Love
    your brother, an Indian..
    CC: Pakistani Commons

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