I would like to send a message to the leaders of both the sovereign nations that peace between India and Pakistan is a prerequisite for stability, peace and prosperity in the Sub Continent. Peace will strengthen democratic governments and also unity within both of the countries.
“Lock your doors and do not call anyone a thief”. No foreign power should ever enter our respective countries as they will always have an agenda which suits them. Our respective leaders must put the interests of their countries first and foremost and also every time and never allow either the foreign powers or terrorist to operate freely to damage and destabilise any country for their own selfish gains.
It is a hallmark of foreign powers to “divide and rule” especially in young and developing countries for their own selfish gains. They fight proxy wars to destabilize regions in the world in order to keep their presence there and also to sell arms especially to countries like India and Pakistan who can ill afford to waste money. We all know Pakistan and India are two young countries and need their resources to benefit their people. They do not need sophisticated weaponry when they cannot even provide clean water to all their citizens. It is a fact that both countries can ill afford to win territories from each other as they have enough to develop in their countries already.
It is also a fact that Pakistan and India are sovereign countries and have exchanged High Commissioners with each other as a mark of this recognition. Moreover, Pakistan and India are members of the United Nations and the Commonwealth. Therefore, they are two important countries of the world and as a result world peace cannot move forward unless there is peace first in these countries. People of India and Pakistan must leave a better legacy for their next generations so that they do not carry baggage unnecessarily which people of both these countries have been carrying for the past 62 years.
As I see it, people of India and Pakistan are facing three important questions, out of which two are easy and the third difficult. If we tackle the easy ones first, then the difficult one will become easy to solve. The easy questions are how do we build trade and tourism between the two countries? When this takes off, then the difficult question about Kashmir will automatically become easier to solve. We have seen similar situations in the EU. Arch enemies are now trading partners and therefore have no need to fight wars. As they say, "when we start trading goods, we stop trading bullets". Countries like the Germany, UK and France have shown that they can become close allies when they don’t even share the same language, food or culture. We on the other hand stand an excellent chance as we share the same culture, language and food in addition to sharing the same history and heritage. Moreover, with increased trade and co-operation between our countries we could finance big capital projects – like making civilian aircraft, ships, space research programme etc.
When peace descends on our nations, then there will be big peace dividends. An example is that there are approximately 25 million Sikhs well settled all over the world who’s Mecca is in Pakistan. At present only a few visit Nankana Sahib but if relations were to improve, then the Sikhs from USA, UK, Canada etc will visit in significant numbers with their families and this alone will generate at least 4 billion pounds of income per year which will grow with time when other tourists also start to visit beautiful Pakistan. Similarly, people from Pakistan will visit India in vast numbers to visit their relatives, and holy shrines. This could again benefit the tourism industry of both countries. More importantly, India’s trade to Afghanistan, Iran, Central Russia and China can move through Pakistan for further mutual benefit. The Iran-India pipeline can benefit all three immensely.
When there are disputes between the two countries then both countries are required to keep huge armies and these can be a drain on the countries’ resources. Without the danger of conflict and with increased economic trade, the extra funds can be devoted to the education and health of the nations. We all know that planes and guns become obsolete after a few years whereas educated citizens become assets for the nation indefinitely.
Peace between India and Pakistan is a necessity and no more a choice if we wish to improve the lot of the people of the Sub Continent. Regrettably, they unnecessarily suffered for the past six decades and their sufferings are growing day by day. I hope the Leaders of both the countries will always put the interests of their own people above that of the Super Powers.
Dr. Rami Ranger MBE, FRSA