War is not the solution

Published: October 22, 2014
The weight of ordnance being exchanged is considerable, with the Indians reportedly firing more than 1,000 mortar shells into Pakistan on a single day in this month. PHOTO: AFP

The weight of ordnance being exchanged is considerable, with the Indians reportedly firing more than 1,000 mortar shells into Pakistan on a single day in this month. PHOTO: AFP

The situation on the Line of Control (LoC) is fast approaching a point at which it ceases to be large-scale sabre-rattling and edges into outright conflict — an outcome that must not be allowed to happen and one which both sides need to defuse as a matter of the utmost urgency. The Indian defence minister has said that the strength of Indian conventional forces was greater than that of Pakistan and that Pakistan will “feel the pain of adventurism” if things continued as they are. The weight of ordnance being exchanged is considerable, with the Indians reportedly firing more than 1,000 mortar shells into Pakistan on a single day in this month. At least 20 civilians have been killed and scores wounded in this latest exchange.

Each side accuses the other of committing breaches of the 2003 ceasefire, and in the absence of any independent verification, it is impossible to know which is telling a tale that is closer to an objective truth than the other — truth is unfailingly the first casualty of war. The Modi government abruptly cancelled secretary-level talks on the grounds that Pakistan’s High Commissioner to New Delhi had held talks with Kashmiri separatists prior to the high-level moot. And there lies the nub of the conflict — the failure to resolve the Kashmir issue that has been an albatross around the necks of both states since Partition.

No government on either side has ever really got close to cracking the Kashmir nut. Talks have started, stumbled, stopped, restarted, paused and gone into the freezer countless times over the decades. Kashmir — like Palestine and the West Bank — has become one of the great insolubles of geopolitics. Warfare is not going to solve it, and the adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, is correct when he says that dialogue has to be the solution — but with what on the agenda? There is no road map, no shared vision of an endpoint, only eternal tension — and in the middle, the Kashmiris themselves. Where there is a will, there is a way, goes the saying. That will must be urgently sought and nurtured.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2014.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Siddiqui
    Oct 22, 2014 - 11:36PM

    War is not an option but has perpetual confrontation with India brought any benefit? Can we please address the million problems sinking this country?


  • Dilip
    Oct 23, 2014 - 1:24AM

    Dream on dear Editors … (like all the other dreamers of the world….) … DREAM ON…. :-)


  • GP65
    Oct 23, 2014 - 2:18AM

    Modi has already said that conventional war is not an option.if Pakistan stops pursuing a sub conventional war by pushing jihadis, there will be peace. If Pakistan continues in its efforts at sub conventional warfare, the ceasefire line will remain hot. India will not back down due to your threats of internationalisation and implicit threat of war which could become nuclear.

    Pakistan is the revisionist state and all wars with India have been started by Pakistan.


  • Ravi
    Oct 23, 2014 - 2:32AM

    “War is not the solution,” is no more a profound statement. Pakistan has repeated this slogan just about as many times as it has sabotaged Peace in the region. Supporting the right of self-determination for the Kashmiri people for 65 years without success, may be it’s time for Pakistan to now support Baluchistan’s struggle for self-determination. It will be lot easier to do.


  • AVMPolpot
    Oct 23, 2014 - 3:42AM

    War is not a solution
    Neither is appeasing a terrorist state.n


  • Sun Tzu
    Oct 23, 2014 - 4:03AM

    There is a misconception in Pakistan that Kashmir issue is “an albatross around the next of India and Pakistan” While this is particularly true for Pakistan as it has made Kashmir the raison-de-etre for it’s military and forms the core of it’s foreign policy and global outlook; in India’s case it is just another state among 36 states and union terrories – a small sized and poor too! So it is Pakistan that has everything to lose and not India by making anything and everything hostage to Kashmir. i.e. India can use the Kashmir issue to keep Pakistan “busy” and “tied down” and keep the “albatross around it;s neck” — but India need not do so. By compartmentalising the Kashmir issue and linking it with Terorrism from Pakistan as it has successfully done, India is free to concentrate on a far far bigger canvas and global objeectives and aspirations.


  • SKChadha
    Oct 23, 2014 - 6:15AM

    It is crying loud on a self inflicted wound.


  • hellboy
    Oct 23, 2014 - 6:17AM

    This time Pakistan will rot in inferno if it does any adventurism as done during Kargil,that is what India trying to make you understand.


  • sunil
    Oct 23, 2014 - 7:23AM

    what talks about Kashmir …kashmir is undivisible part of india ….pakistani must understand it.


  • sunil
    Oct 23, 2014 - 7:24AM

    what talks about Kashmir …kashmir is undivisible part of india ….pakistani must understand it.Recommend

  • SKChadha
    Oct 23, 2014 - 10:44AM

    If war is no solution then why Kargil and 26/11 happened? Any answer.


  • vinsin
    Oct 23, 2014 - 11:22AM

    “Warfare is not going to solve it”

    So why Jihad and terrorism from last 1400yrs? 1947-48, 1965, kargil, proxy wars, 26/11, meddling in Afghanistan.


  • Hari Om
    Oct 23, 2014 - 12:52PM

    Re: “Each side accuses the other of committing breaches …………… truth is unfailingly the first casualty of war”

    When three of Pakistan’s neighbours namely India, Iran and Afghanistan accuse Pakistan of fomenting terrorism and have in the recent past resorted to cross border firing to retaliate against Pakistani provocations while the fourth and final neighbour China has accused Pakistan of fomenting terrorism though not opening fire, the truth is very clear. Pakistan is clearly the offending party and any suggestion otherwise is biased nonsense that kowtows to the Military Dominated Punjabi Establishment’s propaganda.


  • MNA
    Oct 23, 2014 - 4:25PM

    There should free and fair election conducted by United Nation to ask Kashmiri people what they really want. that’s the simple solution.


  • Hari Om
    Oct 23, 2014 - 6:54PM

    @ MNA
    Pakistan should demonstrate how simple a solution your proposal is by arranging the conducting of an election supervised by India in Balochistan to ascertain the wishes of Baloch regards living under the domination of Punjab province. That demonstration of simplicity of solution should be further buttressed by Pakistan arranging conducting an additional election in FATA and KP supervised by Afghanistan to ascertain wishes of the Pathan’s.


    Oct 24, 2014 - 7:18PM

    For the first time a sensible article has come up in this news paper, otherwise, I have become habitual of reading nuclear threats to India in almost all Pakistani newspapers.
    I fully endorse the views expressed in this article.
    In the interests of 150 Crore people, Both the countries respect the sensitivities of each other and start a dialogue with serious and honest intentions to solve the problems.
    Wars bring destruction and create more problems than solving any.


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