Efforts must continue for regional peace and amity
Keeping in view a decade long history of Pak-India relations one could have safely predicted that something would go wrong and derail the latest attempt to repair the ties. There are contradictory explanations of why India went back on its confirmation of a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries within a day. As before, the two sides are again accusing each other of not being really interested in peace.
In the regional and global scenario that is emerging Pakistan has to move with extreme care giving priority to its people’s interests, the topmost being the improvement of the country’s economy. The Trump administration is bent upon initiating a new chapter of Cold War. Both Pakistan and India have to avoid becoming a part of this attempt. With the premonitions of another world economic crisis in the making, like the one in 2008 that brought down growth rates all over the globe, it is all the more important for the two neighbors to concentrate on their economies.
More so for Pakistan. Any rise in the level of confrontation in South Asia will require Pakistan to allocate much more resources for defense than it is presently doing. With Pakistan’s economy already in bad shape, Islamabad will have to introduce large cuts in funds earmarked for vital sectors that include education, health and social development. This will result in a failure on the part of Imran Khan to meet the targets he has set before his government that includes 5 million houses for the poor, 10 million jobs, providing education to 25 million out-of-schools children, health care and clean drinking water for the country’s population.
Hopefully the BJP government will be more amenable to talks after Indian elections are over by the middle of the next year and it is no more required to cater to a local audience that the party has itself radicalized. The PTI government will have to make a more concerted effort then to bring India to the negotiating table meanwhile avoiding anything that can add to the already existing tension.