By Rajinder Puri
The Indian government did not only reject another peace
proposal propagated by President Musharraf but also it did
not care to give a counter proposal. The Indian government
needs to formulate a strategy for peace based on its
foreign policy goal, the ground reality in India’s
neighbourhood and the methodology to convert that reality
into the desired goal.
Reunification of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri
Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan into a European style
conglomerate would immensely benefit them. A minor
dilution of sovereignty may be the price to be paid for
attaining the status of one of the world’s powerful
economies. By product of such unification would be peace
and creation of lucrative cultural hubs.
Gains will far outweigh the sacrifices but is that goal
practical? Let us consider the ground conditions to assess
that. India is not comfortable with Bangladesh and
Nepal though it enjoys good rapport with the governments in
Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, both of which are torn by
internal strife. China’s interests lie in keeping the area
perennially in turmoil to contain India and nobody can
deny that China does that pretty well.
Pakistan remains the most crucial nation in the region
in India’s viewpoint not only because it has now gone
nuclear, but also because Kashmir continues to be the bone
of contention between the two. From China’s viewpoint
Pakistan acts as its strategic linchpin in the region.
Pakistan is an unnatural state. The majority of people
there were opposed to the partition. Punjab was under
congress coalition. Under the stewardship of Abdul Ghafoor
Khan NWFP was against the idea of Pakistan, Kalat, a
big area of Baluchistan wanted to join India but that was
not possible because of non-contagious borders. Strangely
the same logic was not applicable to East Bengal that was
far away. Congress goofed up the entire issue by
inconsistent stands adopted by them towards formation of
Pakistan should prosper in India’s interest. But it is
in turmoil because of resentment within the country against
Punjab in general and the Janjua community that stays
near Jhelum in particular.
Top brass of Pakistan’s army has an axe to grind in
keeping its trouble with India alive. Terrorism and
hostility towards India suit both the vested interests of
Pakistan and China. Pakistan has to deal with discontent in
Baluchistan which is close to Hamid Karzai’s Afghan
government and in turn to America. Baluchistan may turn
into a proxy battleground between China and USA with
completion of construction of the strategic Gwadar port by
China in Baluchistan.
Time is running out for Musharraf. He has to choose between
India and China. India should help Musharraf only if he
agrees to create a unified South Asian Community. Only on
that condition his proposal of a self-administered Kashmir
should be taken up. Otherwise Pakistan will fall apart.
Jehadis will destroy it.
India cannot afford to patch up with China till the South
Asian Union comes into being because in that case its
position will be compromised as an independent state.
China must stop interference in South Asian affairs. India
has to ensure that for its own survival as a respectable
This is the logical road map. If the government can
come up with an alternative it should be made public.
Intrigue and conspiracy in foreign policy have been
replaced by transparency and realistic anticipation in this
Statesmanship in the present era demands transparency.