Can ceasefire on India-Pak border be an indication for broader cooperation?


A news item published in a section of the press that the Director Generals of Military Operations on the borders of India and Pakistan agreed to maintain peace is a glad tiding not only for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, but the people of both countries. It is reported that on May 29, a phone call came from the Pakistani Army requesting a DGMO level talk on the hotline. Within a seven-minute talk both the officers agreed to maintain peace at the Line of Control and International Border. Ramzan peace is already existing. This turn of events from huge border firing to peace should be hailed by one and all. Heavy firing from Pakistan border and then its retaliation from Indian side so far claimed 36 lives in India and 28 in Pakistan during the current year. Now the success of this ceasefire depends on the restraint observed by the neighbours. Border peace is always at the mercy of the in charge military officers.

On May 28, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj ruled out starting comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan. Speaking at her annual press conference, she said India was not against talks with its neighbour but that country should put a halt on cross-border terrorism. When bodies are piling up at the Line of Control and infiltration continued unabated, there would be hardly any reason to have talks across the table. The Minister’s argument can hardly be rebutted, but some way out has to be found. It is a fact that peace has been eluding Kashmir Valley since the PDP-BJP government came to power. There is hardly any coordination between the coalition partners, but none is ready to kick out the seat of power. The BJP is for the first time enjoying power in the state and it is the only reason, the centre has been giving long rope to the state government. Had there been any other combination in the state, the BJP would have been in the forefront to press the demand to dismiss the government.

Earlier the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government was ready to hold talks with Hurriyat Conference and Pakistan if they too are ready for engagement. No negotiation can be initiated with Pakistan at this point because the country is going to polls in near future and it is gripped by political instability. We have to wait for the new government and its attitude towards India. The Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti appealed to Huriyat leaders to display maturity and show responsibility, but the extremist elements led by Syed Shah Gillani have never been keen to put an end to the chaos and violence in the Valley. The law and order situation is getting from bad to worse and no solution is in sight. Since the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July 2016, there is no peace worth the name. During the funeral of militants or civilians killed in police firing, the enraged youths are attracted to extremism and picking up guns. They are also meeting a violent end and thus it has become cycle of violence. The National Conference supremo and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah reiterated many a time and recently in Hyderabad while attending an Iftar party that the Kashmir problem can be solved only through bilateral talks between India and Pakistan. One has to wait for that good beginning.


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