Lit for Life

If you want to be friends, even one reason is enough: Husain Haqqani

Husain Haqqani in conversation with Suhasini Haider, Diplomatic Affairs Editor of The Hindu , on Monday.   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

Former Pakistan diplomat and journalist Husain Haqqani on Monday said the people of India and Pakistan must realise the common threads between them and not hold America responsible for the animosity between the two neighbours in the subcontinent.

Asked during a discussion on ‘Why India and Pakistan can’t be friends’ at The Hindu Lit for Life Festival in Chennai — moderated by the paper’s Diplomatic Affairs Editor Suhasini Haidar — if people-to-people ties could indeed change the foreign policy standoff between the two countries, he said, “We should make it happen.”

Elaborating, he said, “People should realise common threads. Country and civilisation are two different things. And you have to acknowledge all elements of the civilisation. Indian civilisation is not a Hindu or a Muslim civilisation. It is a civilisation of every body constituting India. Civilisations evolve. We cannot say it was born 5,000 years ago. It has transformed over time.”

U.S. role

Mr. Haqqani added: “Hostility between two countries could be fanned, facilitated, and it can be financially and militarily supported by somebody else. But, it cannot be fostered by somebody else. By arming the Pakistani militarily and providing the resources, the U.S. has probably heightened its own instincts. It is not fair to say the U.S. has kept us enemies.”

Speaking about the Kashmir issue, he said, “If you want to fight, you can find a dozen reasons. If you want to be friends, even one reason is enough. In 1963, the biggest offer was made to Pakistan...which was 5,400 square miles more territory in Kashmir. A negotiation by definition is meeting half-way. In the end, there will be a negotiation.”

He said that he hoped India and Pakistan will have open borders one day making the borders irrelevant.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 9:05:25 AM |

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