Indo-Pak cooperation, a way forward to development
It’s been more than 70 years since the horrendous India-Pakistan partition but the hostility between two countries belies the saying wounds heal with time. Both the countries are now indulged in proxy wars even after fighting full-fledged wars on several occasions. The continuous antagonism between the countries even after sharing the same cultural ties is hindering the way of prosperity, they can bring by mutual cooperation.
The conflict between the two countries is not just affecting them but also the whole South Asian region. It is due to this, the last SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit which was to be held in Islamabad in 2016, was boycotted in the wake of militant attacks on India. The SAARC is crucial in terms of cooperation in sundry sectors like Education, Trade, Science and Technology etc. The regional cooperation is necessary for the countries to develop and give people a good standard of living. Failure of SAARC is leading countries to find alternatives. This has led countries to think BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) as an alternative of SAARC. BIMSTEC which does not include Pakistan, cannot be an alternative because before tackling the instability and the root cause for that, there cannot be any cooperation. The main cause of the problem is the burgeoning terrorism in the region. Since Pakistan is considered the proliferating ground of terrorism, countries such as India, which is the most affected country, do not want to deal with Pakistan.
The recent developments in the region provide an opportunity for India and Pakistan to forget their historical enmity and work on solving the years-long conflicts through talks. Pakistan’s newly elected government can set an example by cooperating with India. Both countries can work on counterterrorism missions and set the pace for new Indo-Pak relations. Meanwhile, China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ project can help both the countries to increase their trade. OBOR project aims to revive the old silk route to enhance the connectivity and cooperation between the countries. The project can help the countries to develop and can bring economic prosperity which in turn will lift millions of people out of poverty. The OBOR can be a way forward in Indo-Pak relations.
Burgeoning trade between the countries will bring people together and hence the stability in the region. This can be a road to prosperity for all future generations but this can only be done if the countries forget their past and stop lingering on the issues which can be solved.