A different take at Indo-Pak relations

NEW DELHI OCT. 10. "There is a lag between what the people want and the Governments in both India and Pakistan do. Both sides, people want to reach out to each other. There was such a warm response to baby Noor and Munir. But at the State-level, even though both countries spoke about improving relations, all that they have been able to achieve is resumption of the bus service and exchange of High Commissioners," said columnist Praful Bidwai here today. He was speaking on "Communalism, Nationalist Chauvinism and India Pakistan Hostility: The Connection" as part of the five-day training workshop being organised in the city by ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy).

"There has to be something within the system itself that resists the normalisation of relations. The Governments can't even resolve the issue of over flights even though it costs them so much more," said Mr. Bidwai.

Identifying the Kashmir issue and the nuclear threat as the main issues of concern between the two States, he remarked: "The first is something that has very strong sentiments on both sides, even among the people. But the second is something that needs to be resolved as soon as possible."

Defining India as a State following "militaristic notions of security," Mr. Bidwai remarked that in concentrating all efforts on military security, India was perverting her priorities. "While India spends about Rs. 35,000 crores on primary education, it spends about 77,000 crores on defence - excluding military pensions. And we all know what is more important. Here, a country attaches almost mystical value to the military means of defence and forgets about everything else. The notion is that the more force you use, the more effective the means of defence will be," he said. Picking on the recent Iraq issue, he added that while Americans continue to think that the more force they apply, the more the people of Iraq will comply, the locals of Iraq were responding in a different manner.