Tuesday, April 3, 2012

India and its neighbours

I'm glad articles like this one (Pakistan Tribune, April 1, 2012) are being written in the Pak press. I do believe as I've mentioned earlier that if we were to develop economic ties, borders would become soft like in Europe and these disputes a thing of the past. Not just between India Pakistan but far beyond. Goods and people being transported freely from Teheran to Bangkok on freeways and railways. Everyone prospering as a result of the peace and economic buzz.

One of the Pakistanis (usmanx) commented on this news article that India had mistreated all its neighbours since Independence, and so it was good for Pakistan to remain hostile to keep India in check. Here's his post:

How are India’s relations with Sri Lanka who despise her for her interference. How about Nepal who have no-visa policy but 400 sq. km have been encroached by her more powerful southern neighbor. How about Bangladesh, although liberated by India (really bengali freedom-fighters) terminated its friendship treaty with India and constantly feels over-powered. How about China – who taught the Indians a lesson for the provocative forward policy (indians belived themselves to be the inheritors of its northern boundary imagined by her former masters (the british). How about Maldives where India sponsored a coup. Imagine the regional countries condition if Pakistan was not there to counter India’s hegemony.
I would like to respond to usmanx's post, specifically his references to India's other neighbours, as his appears to be a common view among his countrymen:

China: China wasn't even on the scene in the Ladakh border area until they occupied and annexed Tibet in the 50s. The British
may have been pushing into the north and the border India inherited a newer border. But you could make that case for KP as well, not to mention Balochistan. KP is a vestige of the British foray into Afghanistan. It is the main reason Afghanistan did not recognize Pak for the longest time. And is still a dispute from their perspective. Will Pakistanis support Pakistan giving up this area as well? Baluchistan was a free country until very recently. And Pakistan just inherited a new British acquisition. By his argument, it should be let go as well; it's not like they haven't been struggling for independence for decades.

Nepal: I've never heard of any encroachment or border dispute here. There is visa-free movement and lots of Nepalis live and work in India without any problems.

Bhutan: they too much appreciate that India is there to protect them from Chinese takeover if the need arises. Never has any Indian army encroached into their land. They maintain their distinct culture and independent monarchy as they prefer.

Burma: The US and India are cooperating to drive the military junta to implement democratic reforms and change is already evident.

Bangladesh: as political parties change in BD, the relations have ups and downs depending on their issues of the day.

Sri Lanka: FYI India intervened in SL on the side of the govt to stop the terrorism. This is why Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by the LTTE. Hardly would SL be wary of us. AFAIK, we enjoy good relations as proven by the UN vote just last week.

Meanwhile, Pakistan isn't exactly the favorite among its neighbors either. Afghans hate you for having used and abused their country since 1979 and unleashing the Taliban on them. Iran is wary and dislikes Pakistan for its treatment of Shias. Chinese look at it as a good means of making money and getting linked to the Gulf but in private, snicker about the fanaticism and the fantasies Pakistanis live in (read all about it if one can google). And I don't even need to mention India that has suffered constant terrorist attacks and aggression from Pakistan.

Ultimately, I believe all countries will always have some issues with their neighbors. China has issues, Japan does, the US does. It's human nature. Singling out India as the bad guy is more indicative of Pakistanis' distorted view than any reflection of reality.

The fact of the matter is that today India has no interest in these ridiculous squabbles with Pakistan. Our primary interest is in prosperity and security for our people. We have always been open to a cooperative relationship with Pakistan. It is really for Pakistan to work out its issues, stop living in a made-up world and make up its mind vis-a-vis India.

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