India and Pakistan have gone to war thrice over Kashmir, without anyone of them achieving much. There is the least likelihood of another full-blown war. Skirmishes are always possible, but not war. Both countries being nuclear-armed, they know what it could mean.

The example of Europe is before us. Once Britain, France and Russia had their nuclear weapons in place, no war among them was fought. The same was the case with the US and the USSR. Once a full-scale war is made irrelevant and unaffordable efforts must be mounted to build peace and prosperity.

It is quite clear that if three wars did not solve the Kashmir problem a fourth (a nuclear one at that) is not going to solve it either. Maximalist positions marked the deadlock. Quite clearly, maximalist positions are not going to work in future also.

There is a growing consensus in international public opinion that opening up the Line of Control (LoC), free movement of ideas, goods and people across the Pak-held and Indian Kashmir would create new opportunities of goodwill and economic growth, "making borders irrelevant", as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on July 15.

People working together on building a peaceful future for themselves would release new energies for development. Joint management of resources in other conflict areas of the world has been known to create a dynamic of its own, bringing people together and laying the foundations of prosperity.

The prime minister’s proposal is worthy of consideration as it holds the key to the Subcontinent’s future.

Mohd. Zeyaul Haque


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