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In the eye of the stormClick here to download the PDF document.
No War Pact – The Premise
Peace between India and Pakistan is not only necessary for sustaining economic growth but also vital for building pluralistic democracies and sustaining the integrity of both states. South Asia today stands suspended between the hope of a better life and fear of cataclysmic destruction. It is not only the poorest region in the world but also one whose citizens live in constant danger of a nuclear holocaust. This is also an established reality that hostility between India and Pakistan is fuelling radicalisation in South Asia. No War Pact between India and Pakistan is not crucial to the both hostile neighbours, but imperative to the global peace as well. Hostility between India and Pakistan has fuelled radicalization not only in South Asia but the world over.
The history of India-Pakistan rivalry constitutes a chronology of struggle to establish “hegemony”, “action-reaction” type of security paradigm; misperceptions; underestimation and overestimation, and mutual “fear.” These both countries carried a baggage of history at the time of independence in 1947 which was loaded with doubt, hatred, animosity and distorted perceptions. The enmity between the two rival countries has huge economic costs, socio-political damage, military costs, diplomatic costs, and human costs.
According to a 2010 World Bank report printed last year, these two countries account for 93 per cent of the total military expenditure in South Asia.
India, which is ranked at 142 in terms of per capita income, ranks first in the world in terms of arms imports. Pakistan is not far behind, being ranked 119 in terms of per capita income and 10th in the world in terms of arms imports, it notes. Pakistani defence budget stands at $6.41 billion, approximately 4% of the GDP, while Indian defence budget has been recently increased to $36.5 billion for 2011-12, approx. 2% of the GDP. These simple figures and number crunching become quite daunting, when according to a 2009 estimate, Indian’ military spending makes18.6 percent of its total spending while health care spending is 3.4 percent and education spending is 12.7 percent of its total spending.
The military expenditure of Pakistan is 23.1 percent of all its yearly expenditures compared to the health care expenditure of Pakistan which is an embarrassing 1.3 percent of all its yearly spending and the education expenditure which is 7.8 percent of all its yearly expenditures.
At Forum for International Relations Development, we led the first European programme on ‘deradicalisation’ and ‘rehabilitation’ though Stockwell Green Community Services (SGCS – FIRD’s partner organisation). We gained deep insight into the psychology of religion fuelled radicalisation and violent extremism through our interaction with effected communities, (Terrorism Act) TACT offenders and law enforcement agencies. SGCS has the honour of being the first community based organisation to develop the ‘triangular model of containment’ of radicalisation which was later borrowed and modelled across the UK.
In our view, the conflict, tension and hostility between India and Pakistan became the breeding ground for radicalisation in South Asia which threatens the whole modern world. During the course of programmes ran by SGCS/FIRD, we came across radicals and extremists and the discourse helped us identify the road to conversion to the violent extremism.
With the help of prominent British Indians and British Pakistanis and the both Diasporas, Forum for International Relations Development has launched a massive drive to build bridges of peace and understanding between the two countries. A fifty years No War Pact is going to be the culminating point of this drive. Peace between India and Pakistan is not only necessary for sustaining economic growth but also vital for building pluralistic democracies and sustaining the integrity of both states. South Asia today stands suspended between the hope of a better life and fear of cataclysmic destruction. It is not only the poorest region in the world but also one whose citizens live in constant danger of a nuclear holocaust.
Pakistani and Indian public opinion makers including journalists, academicians, sportsmen, artists, scholars, intellectuals, politicians, think-tanks, community lobbyists and statutory bodies are being consulted to frame the outcomes in a realistic perspective and to define the relevant phases. The initial meetings with the Pakistani Premiere Mr. Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and High Commissioner of Pakistan in April 2011 have been received on a positive note. The No War Pact between India & Pakistan drive and the current exploratory and consultative visit have been based on the following premise:
- We understand that the conflict between these two countries is quite an imbroglio with complex nodes and extensions. We are not looking for a quick fix as this is not possible due to on-ground historic, social, religious, cultural, economic and policy complications.
- We understand that due to sensitive and entangled relationship, we are required to engage with intelligentsia, executive, academicians, researchers, journalists, writers, politicians and public opinion makers and public of both the countries to develop realistic understanding of the impasse.
- We understand that both the countries have been suffering from the fall-out of this endemic hostility. There are enormous opportunities available for both the countries in social, cultural, economic, academic and technological areas on a win-win basis.
- We understand that the frames, models, paradigms and approaches used to resolve the conflicts between both the countries in the last 63 years have failed to deliver and need to be revisited, reviewed and dissolved and reframed for the next 50 years.
- We understand that the new paradigms are to be conceived to resolve the conflicts due to its massive scale and impact in terms of threat, impact and ancillary repercussions.
- We understand that it is still possible to work towards the solution of the problem without becoming a part of it.
- We understand that the cost of the pervasive conflict is being borne out by hundreds of millions of underprivileged, marginalised and wretched population of both the countries in terms of compromised budgetary allocations for education, health and human development.
- We understand that inspite of all hostility, misunderstandings and misgivings it is possible to engage with each other on a pure humanitarian context.
- We understand that the conflict between India and Pakistan may be resolved by both the countries without any mediation or a third party involvement.
- We understand and dream and pledge that by oiling the public apparatus and engaging with intelligentsia and relying on the support of the most effective British Pakistanis, British Indians and native Pakistanis and Indians, we might pave pay for a comprehensive dialogue eventually paving way to a summit and then possibly brokering a ’50 Years No War Pact’ between both the countries. Such a pact will not solve all the problems but it may channelize hundreds of millions of dollars budgetary allocations in both the countries towards education, health and human development.
- We understand that we may not know all or most of the relevant answers and that is why we look forward to working with you as a fellow partner and a dreamer.
- We understand and dream that what looks impossible today may become a living reality for our upcoming generations in the next five decades.
- We understand that this whole drive has to have no other evident or hidden agenda except the glorification of humanity.