Relations of Pakistan and India Since 1947

By Moeed Pirzada

written word has one great advantage over the spoken word that you can always go back and my last status update again, and don't make wrong judgements; I am not blaming Pakistan or India.

I am blaming both, but I am not naive to suggest that one side can unilaterally pull pack and certainly it is not possible for Pakistan to unilaterally pull back when till 1984 they had the defacto suzerainity over the areas as proved by more than 70 international mountaineering expeditions that went up in that area after seeking permissions from Pakistan and India did'not object thus agreeing to that status maintained since 1947.

 it appears that somewhere in the late 1970's Indian military command realized certain strategic advantages in moving into this area (perhaps with the building of KKH through Gilgit towards China, they feared something) ...because the justification Indian side is citing for their moving there is not very convincing. Pre-emption itself is not a good excuse, and in this case it is hardly proven. However the reality is that they have moved there and despite huge costs in men and capital they are not willing to disembark from there without getting something in return.

Given investments in road/communication structures and given the growing size of Indian economy they don't feel the squeeze, becasue they think they can afford it and continue to be there. However it will be equally naive to think that Pakistanis are under any greater pressure to vaccate as some people have suggested. Pakistani costs in men & material are much much less than the Indian costs. The recent tragedy & sudden loss of 138 men has focused minds in Pakistan but otherwise there is no greater imperative for Pakistan to come down and leave those heights. Like Indians they too have learnt to keep a presence.

Now comes the difficult part of it. From pure military mind's calcuations or 'real politik' there is no imperative for both sides to compromise on their positions. Pakistan cannot dislodge India, but India is hardly in a situation to use its position for any military advantage (except in a text book argument) because Pakistanis are sitting below and surprises are not possible. Also given a desire to improve relations, regional and international atmosphere, it is highly unlikely for both sides to use these heights for any real moves.

The inability to find a "mutually agreed solution" is meanwhile seriously degrading environment which is a joint asset of both nations and this "pure military thinking" on both sides prevents both of us to develop "trust" which is ultimately needed to move forward on all issues from Mumbai to trade to Kashmir to water and so on...solution can only be found by non-military political visionaries that can think "out of box" like Tanvir Ahmed Khan had briefly suggested in this program.... this Siachen problem tells us the limitations of 'real politik'...but I am very hopeful that we will be able to find a solution which will be a win win for both sides.
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