If Pakistan and India go to war the conventional vulnerably threshold will be increased
This article is an attempt to understand Pakistan-India relations, contemporary developments, challenges and opportunities with special focus on the period after the Kargil War. This study was conducted in the light of the Rational Choice Theoretical Framework of Douglass C North. There are a number of generalisations that can be made regarding Pakistan-India relations.
Over the years, incidents like the Liaquat-Nehru Pact, Tashkent Agreement, Simla Agreement, cricket diplomacy, Lahore Declaration, Musharraf-Vajpayee joint declaration 2004 and Musharraf-Manmohan efforts show that there is a realisation on both sides where they understand that they tend to cooperate with each other, and they tend to cooperate because it is in their best interest.
It is interesting that, accept for the Lahore Declaration, all major agreements of cooperation were made after each war. Like the Liaquat-Nehru Pact right after the 1947-1948 war, the Tashkent Agreement came after the 1965 war, Simla Agreement after the 1971 war and Zia’s cricket diplomacy after Brasstacks. Musharraf also tried to ink a similar agreement after the Kargil War in the form of the Agra Accord but he failed to do so. This mean that the leadership of both countries always thought that war was not a good option. Even military ruler General Perverz Musharraf, who fought in the Kargil War, made efforts for cooperation.
Though we mostly criticise General Ziaul Haq for different reasons, it would be unjust if he were not credited for saving a conventional war in 1987. It was his brilliant diplomacy during and after Brasstacks that he averted a war despite the fact that General Sunderji was in full mood for war and, importantly, the young prime minister of India, Rajeev Gandhi, was also ready for a full-fledged war with Pakistan.
Moreover, the leaderships of both countries have learnt that they cannot live in regional isolation, they cannot afford constant warfare, the nuclear factor is real and that there is a need for strategic and economic consolidation.
Conversely, if Pakistan and India go to war the conventional vulnerably threshold will be increased. If they go to war only one point of contact will be available between the two countries and that is the hot line between the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs). There is no room for any mistake because both are nuclear states.
The other steps for enhancing diplomatic relations, economic and trade cooperation, and creating sustainable peace between Pakistan and India, such as track-II diplomacy have also not yielded any substantial results. Government to government cooperation efforts, track-II diplomacy and steps like Aman ki Asha are not producing required results. So, if the governments of both countries seriously want to cooperate and enhance bilateral relations, there is a need to set up another short body of 10 members having one senior government representative from each side and eight other members: maybe two senior international relations academicians, two senior retired generals, two senior retired diplomats and two senior media persons (one from each side) with full decision-making powers that may, after formulating some mutually agreed terms, must make decisions for a peaceful relationship, for a prosperous Pakistan, for an economic and regional political power — India — and for a flourishing region.
However, contrary to all this, if both remain as they are currently, the only rational thing for both the countries would be to open up trade, especially Pakistan. By economic and trade cooperation with India, Pakistan will gain a huge market of more than one billion people. Its official trade with India can increase manifold. As a result, the transportation and transaction cost of trade will be very small that will benefit the business industry. Innovation will emerge, competitiveness will be enhanced and unemployment will be reduced. More importantly, poverty will diminish and the GDP trajectory will increase.
The writer works as a media and public relations officer with the National Accountability Bureau. He tweets @irfanchaudhri