Anuj Garg is teaching live on Unacademy Plus
The Hindu Editorial Analysis 6th March 2018 Anuj Garg
It's time to reimagine South Asia: On India-China- Pakistan cooperation India-China-Pakistan cooperation can transform the subcontinent-joining a renamed CPEC would be a good start A few months ago, Anjum Altaf, fommer dean of the prestigious Lahore University ofManagement Sciences (LUMS), wrote an article in the Dawnmewspaper, making a strong case for mutually beneficial economic cooperation between Pakistan and India. He also gave a revealing example of how this has become impossible because of "blind nationalism" in Pakistan. "At the time," he wrote, "when tomatoes were selling for Rs300 a kilo in Lahore, they were available at Indian Rs40 a kilo in Amritsar a mere 30 miles away. But a viceal Indo-phobia, shared by many of ourinfluentials, stoodin the way of consumers benefiting from the lower priced supply." Many Pakistanipoliticians want nothing to be imported from India, the enemy nation. This kind ofblind nationalism is by no means Pakistan'smonopoly. Those who watch Indian TV channels debating India-Pakistanrelations routinely hear similar Pak-phobia. Result: despite being neighbours, India and Pakistan are amongthe least integrated nations in the world. Because oftheir unending mutualhostility, South Asia too has become the least integrated region in the world. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is in a coma. Sadly, the most populous region in the world has also remained home to the largest number of poor people in the world.
Problems with Pakistan 1. State of State 2. State of Military 3. Army has a Country 4. State sponsored terrorism
So near, so far A few stiking examples will show how our two countries, which were part ofa single seamless socio- economic and cultural entity before 1947, have now completely drifted apart. There are no direct flights between their capitals-New Delhi and Islamabad. The frequency of Delhi-Lahore and Mumbai-Karachi flights have become minimal. The Mumbai-Karachi femy service (the two port cities once part of a single province, are closer to each other than either Mumbai and Delhi or Karachi and Islamabad) was stopped afterthe 1965 war. In this age ofinfonmationrevolution, the number ofphone calls between Indian and Pakistani citizens (including calls between close relatives of divided families) is negligible, mostly out offear of being questioned by their respective security agencies. At less than S3 billion annually, trade with Pakistan accounts for a mere 0.4% of India's growing global commerce. Those who are happy with this status quo have set responses. On the Indian side, it will be said that terror andtrade cannot go together. The Narendra Modi govemment hasraised the bar higher teror and talks cannot go together. On the Pakistani side, resolution of the Kashmir issue has become a precondition for any substantial bilateral cooperation. But is the status quo benefiting either country? The answer is obvious, except to those arrogant ultra- nationalists who think India now has a seat on the global high table and hence need not care for Pakistan, andto those narrow-minded Pakistani patriots who think they need not care for India since they now have two protectors China and the Muslim Ummah.
China, of course, has become a new factorinfluencing India 's negative attitude towards Pakistan, both amongpolicy-makers and the commonpeople. Our Army chief, General Bipin Rawat's egregious remarklast vear about India being readv for a simultaneous two-and-a-half front war with Pakistan and China (the "half front being our own alienatedpeople in Kashmir) has helped solidify an impression that ourtwo large neighbours cannever be friendly towards India. IfIndia's foreign and defence policies proceed on this belief, South Asia is surely heading towards a future of intensified hostilities and conflicts. Ams manufacturers and distant destabilisers will profit by this at the cost ofcommon Indians and Pakistanis, who need employment, education, health care and food-and-environmental security. These needs can be met only through regional cooperation, not regional rivalv China, part of the solution In other words, can China become a part of the solution, rather than being perceived as a part ofthe India-Pakistan problem? A three-way India-China-Pakistan cooperation is not only necessary but indeedpossible, and Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) provides a practical framework for such partnership. Unfortunately, Mr. Modi has allowed himself to be misled by his advisers on the BRI. The govemment's opposition to the BRI is based, among other things, on the myopic argument that the China-Pakistan Economic Comidor (CPEC), a flagship project under the BRI, violates India's sovereignty since it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) Not only does this argument hold no water but it also undemines India's long-tem development and security interests. First, CPEC does not recognise PoK to be Pakistan's sovereign temritory. Article VI in the 1963 China-Pakistan boundary agreement clearly states in that "after the settlement of the
Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, the sovereign authoity concemed will reopern negotiations with the Govemment of the People's Republic of China.." Second, there is little possibility of India ever getting PoK, or Pakistan ever getting the Indian side of Kashmir, through war or by any other means. Therefore, connectivity, cooperation and economic integration are the only realistic bases for any future India-Pakistan settlement of the Kashmir dispute. Third, andmost important, both China and Pakistanhave stated that they are opento India joining CPEC. China has also expressed its readiness to rename CPEC suitably to both address India's concems and to reflect the project's expandedregional scope. Already, Iran, Afghanistanand several Central Asian republics have agreed to join this ambitious regional connectivity project. Will it help or hurt India if it joins this renamed initiative as an equalpartner? Will it not connect Lahore and Amritsar (also Delhi and the rest of India), the two sides of Kashmir (which all Kashmir-based political parties want), Sindh and southem Punjab with Gujarat and Rajasthan, and Karachi with Mumbai? Interdependence vital Ano less seminal benefit for India is that by joining the renamed CPEC, it would gain land access, through Pakistan, to Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia and westem China. And if our leaders show vision, ambition andresolve, the CPEC-plus-India canbe linked to the Bangla desh-China-India- Myanmar Comidor, thus creating a grand garland of connectivity andintegration for the whole of South Asia. If 1947 divided our subcontinent, here is an opportunity for India, Pakistan and all other countries in the region to come together and rise in sharedprogress and prosperity