Friendship means Give and Take. It cannot be just one-way street. The ideas, the interests and cash plus kind flow both ways. It is purely a personal matter between two individuals. It is based on national policy promoting public interest and to forge friendship the two neighbouring countries have to make suitable mutual adjustments. Nevertheless, if help is sought for, it should be given post haste on humanitarian grounds. Rendering help to a neighbouring country makes an impact on the hearts and minds of common people and in the long run the common people influence shaping of the foreign policy. Thus, large heartedness promotes friendship across borders.
Transparency is required in dealing with neighbouring countries. The days of cloak and dagger policy are gone. If there is an element of suspicion, mutual respect and friendship between neighbouring countries will remain a distant dream. The over-riding desire of the military of one nation to have a shooting war with a neighbouring nation in order to avenge a defeat suffered in the past will create an insurmountable hurdle, a non-negotiable road block preventing a smooth passage of the Friendship Train.
The two neighbouring nations have to make a separate as well as a joint assessment to convince themselves of the gains of Peace and Friendship vis-a-vis hostility leading to a shooting war. Frankly speaking, Peace pays rich dividends and promotes prosperity provided the road block of the over-riding urge to avenge a past defeat is sublimated to the new neighbourly friendship concept Absence of hostility and above all elimination of factors leading to a clash of arms will bring in both mental and physical security. Security of own nation and that of a neighbouring nation brings economic prosperity and raises the standard of living of average citizens across the borders. Indeed, it requires leadership of high calibre to be far sighted and be a visionary in the interest of international peace. Let us take a look at the leaders of India and Pakistan and assess their impact on the foreign policies of their respective nations.
LEADERSHIP IN BHARAT AND PAKISTAN
Since 1947 when the Indian sub-continent gained independence and was partitioned into dominion of India and dominion of Pakistan, the former had had the privilege of being a democracy with Rule of Law being the hallmark of governance. The general elections held every five years expressed the will of the people and ushered in governments that, by and large, were governed by the Constitution of India and the govts governed the people. The Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary exercised their constitutional powers of checks and balances. India has been having a strong military that always remained apolitical and cared for the defence of the Nation. The Indian Armed Forces defeated the Pakistan Armed Forces every time India was attacked and forced the Pakistan forces to withdraw, made light of their jingoism and even dismembered Pakistan in the 1971 war.
Pakistan was born in violence and was in turmoil right from Day One of its existence. In the beginning, it was the landed aristocracy that ruled the roost and did not deliver the goods as its governance was poor. The ruling class of feudal lords was self centered and the common man was an ignored class but kept happy by being called as the Defenders of Islam. With a view to leading the poor peasantry up the garden path, the country was renamed as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Perhaps, it gave them an international recognition by the Islamic world but beyond that Islam was just an empty word for the poor and the hungry.
The feudal mis-governance gave a cause to the Pakistan Army to stage a coup d’etat under the leadership of General Ayub Khan, the Sandhurst trained Pathan from the Frontier province. He ran the show for a decade and was subsequently replaced by General Yahya Khan. He itched for a war with India where he wished to teach that woman, read Indira Gandhi, a lesson. He had miscalculated and not only courted a shameful defeat at the hands of India but also lost the entire eastern wing of the country that became Bangladesh with the support of the Indian Army, the people and the leadership. Since then Pakistan has been unable to live down that international shame. Their leaders like General Pervez Musharraf made attempts to snatch the Indian territory like Kargil but were beaten back by the Indian Army. The low IQ of Pakistan’s leadership has been goading them to shun friendship with India and try to settle issues by force.
Turning to Bharat, that is India, we find that it has been a prospering democracy from Day One. The thought of a coup d’etat never crossed the minds of even ambitious generals of the Indian Army. The nation has been growing from strength to strength and has carved a niche for itself in the international councils and the United Nations. On the other hand after Pakistan duped the United States in the war in Afghanistan, its credibility has been reduced to Zero. Pakistan has gained a notoriety of biting the hand that feeds it. If Pakistan has not been a loyal friend of the US despite receiving trillions of dollars in aid plus the sophisticated armaments, what assurance is there that it would be a faithful friend of India’s.
The public pronouncements of both the civil and military leaders of Pakistan against India go to show the animosity that they have for a neighbouring nation. Let us take just one statement of General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Army Chief of Pakistan. When the US strategist put pressure on General Kayani to change the pattern of deployment of Pakistan forces and deployment should be Afghanistan centric and not India-oriented, General Kayani said that the threat perception from India against Pakistan has necessitated deployment of most of the armed forces on the eastern borders of Pakistan where they are poised to attack India. The Pakistan army chief further said that their officers and jawans would never attack the Taliban forces as the two are twins.
Moreover, in case of a war with India, the Taliban terrorists would protect the flanks of the Pakistan Army against an attack by the Indian Army. The same logic of General Kayani and the same deployment of the Pakistan Armed Forces on the borders with India holds good even today ignoring friendly counselling of American strategists.
Is it possible for Bharat and Pakistan to be friends when the Rulers of Pakistan, read the Army top brass, persist in holding inimical views and feelings for Bharat. With due apologies to the British imperialist poet, Rudyard Kipling, one may say, East is East, West is West; India and Pakistan shall never be friends.
RAY OF HOPE
Bharat does not entertain or display inimical feelings towards Pakistan. The Pakistan cine artists, singers both men and women come to India very often to put up shows, make money and go home satisfied in all respects. Heart, liver and Kidney patients from Pakistan come to India for surgery and face no hostility. So, one may say that the leaders of India will one day persuade the Pakistan leaders to shake off the Revenge Phobia and not only shake hands but embrace each other as friends.
The policy planners in education in the government of Pakistan must have students text books of history, English and Urdu reread and have the text that encourages extremists in Pakistan to promote Hate Hindu; Hate India deleted for good. Unless similar drastic steps are taken in the realm of education, the minds of the new generation Pakistan citizens would continue to be hostile to neighbouring India and thus fritter away their energies on frivolous schemes. Forging friendship and emotional bonds between Bharat and Pakistan would remain distant dreams.
Women of Pakistan are a cause of joy to the pro-friendship lobby. The new generation women of Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Karachi, Peshawar are intelligent, educated, liberal and possess the courage of conviction. He other day I have had an opportunity to glance through a review of a new glossy women’s magazine named, Hello! Pakistan. It is amazing to read free, frank and fearless expressions that go to the extent of annoying the powers that be. The diktat of Taliban on the dress code for women does not run there. Well! Hello! Pakistan gave me a ray of hope and I surmised that the day is not far off when women of Pakistan will walk across the Wagah border just to say Hello to their sisters and friends in Bharat. A bold move of that nature might usher in friendship between Bharat and Pakistan otherwise the prospects of bon homie between men folk, especially those in the uniformed services, may not see sunny sunshine.
The most popular citizen journalists' reports on merinews chosen automatically on the basis of views and comments
View more jobs