ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Indian Civil Society and Pakistan

Human rights and peace activists in India must do some heart-searching to ask if by failing to make any significant moves during the last four years towards evolving a workable phased compromise formula to resolve the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir, Indian civil society, no less than the government of India, has contributed towards strengthening the hands of Pakistani jihadi groups who have viewed the extreme flexibility shown by president Pervez Musharraf as a sell-out. I know some eminent Indians, active in promoting peace between India and Pakistan over a long period, who had earlier offered formulas on power sharing like that obtaining in Trieste but have not spoken out at the time when it was most needed. It appears that in their judgment, India was now in a position to win “the game of composite-dialogue” without conceding any ground in any dimension.

This is a very short-sighted view of Indian national interests, taken not by the chauvinist Hindutva class but by liberals, who, while sharing the elite’s keen desire for India emerging as a great power, value peaceful and friendly relations with its neighbours based on fairness. I had earlier urged Indian civil society and the political class to start a process of consensus building over J and K reminding Atal Behari Vajpayee of his special responsibility as the one who started the peace process and who promised new paths to resolve the problem.

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