Indo-Pak Peace Will Bring Prosperity To South Asia

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Indo-Pak Peace Will Bring Prosperity To South Asia

Ravi Nitesh calls on leaders of India and Pakistan to diffuse tensions and work towards resolving the longstanding bilateral issues so regional peace can be achieved.

India recently held elections and voted BJP to power once again. Narendra Modi along with his council of ministers took oath for office. Many are speculating over how the government would perform. Although time will tell if the PM will be able to live up to the expectations of his voters, but what we know is that his re-election has provided Modi a great opportunity to take action for the better.

For its election campaign, the BJP strengthened its IT cell to reach out to every citizen through social media. It also helped that his image as a leader was improved among the Indian people due to some of his recent steps as PM. PM’s visit to other countries showed India’s strong external relations with the international community.

Moreover, Modi’s governance record has also been praiseworthy. Distribution of free gas connections, free health cards, making all villages electrified and building highest ever miles of roads and bridges in the country are some of his achievements.

From ‘surgical strikes’ against Pakistan to his handling of the post-Pulwama crisis, the PM managed to create an impression among the public about him being ‘strong’. UN’s obligations of bringing Masood Azher under global list of terrorists was also seen as India’s diplomatic win by common citizens.

But as elections are now over and government formed, the PM and his team need to start walking the talk.  When Modi and former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif held a meeting to diffuse tensions between the countries, the meeting got appreciation from all over the world. From common people to media and to governments and world leaders – everyone wanted India and Pakistan to meet at the dialogue table instead of exchanging harsh words publicly.

PM Imran Khan’s calls for restoration of peace between India and Pakistan and his government’s decision to open the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims have also been praised in India. Since both Imran Khan and Modi are seen as ‘strong’ in their respective countries, they should work towards resolving the longstanding Indo-Pak conflicts.

The surprise appointment of former Indian diplomat S. Jaishankar as India’s Minister of External Affairs may prove to be good for India-Pakistan relations because he appears to have the ability see positive effects of peace.

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As already conveyed by both PM Modi and PM Imran Khan, both countries have almost similar challenges and getting rid of these issues need to be their priorities.

PM Imran Khan has a good fan following in India not only due to his multiple visits and achievements as a cricketer, but also because of his clearheaded statements seeking peace between the two countries.

From severe issues like Siachen, Kashmir and Sir Creek to issues like strengthening people to people exchange programs, educational collaborations, regularizing cross LoC trades and start of new routes like Kargil-Skardu, start of tourist visas, start of telecom partnerships, new spiritual routes such as of Sharda Peeth and increase in pilgrimages visas – the two countries should hold talks to find a way out. Humanitarian issues like betterment of conditions of prisoners and fishermen in each other’s prison to their speedy trials, revival of Indo-Pak judicial committee, more intensive talks on reduction of ceasefire violations, travel arrangements of divided families and wives of surrendered militants etc should be explored.

Recent face-off also witnessed the financial weight upon pocket of government on both sides. As it seems an environment now exists on both sides due to political stability, and history from Vajpayee years may be seen as effective example where even after 1999 Kargil, both sides came together and agreed for ceasefire in 2003 that brought down the CFVs drastically from few thousands in 2002 and 2003 to almost nil in 2004.

If this time again, both sides decide to take few steps together to resolve enmity and hatred, this would definitely usher in a new era in South Asia that is a common desire of people on both sides and will be remembered in history.

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