The role of the US in the region, and particularly the nuances of its relationship with us and the Indians, came under scrutiny in a recent debate which was a part of the Aman ki Asha process.
Prem Shankar Jha, a former editor of The Economic Times, The Financial Express and The Hindustan Times posited during the debate on the interesting notion that the US had been playing both sides against the middle in order to maintain a kind of managed instability.
The purpose, he said, was to prevent rapprochement between the two sides, because if we and India were closer and more united, one of the things we might be more united against would be the United States.
In support of his argument Prem Shankar Jha cited the way in which America has appeared to encourage Indian engagement with Afghanistan, a country with which India shares no border and hitherto has had a friendly, but not necessarily developmental, relationship.
He suggested that instead of having separate policies for Afghanistan that were currently driven by American imperatives, we should develop a policy jointly which, while allowing our respective national interests to be safeguarded, also preserved and protected those interests that we had in common.
While there are pitfalls to such a development, not the least being that the extremists on both sides are going to claim that their birthrights and national identities are being sold off, there are obvious benefits as well. Afghanistan, with its long and largely irrelevant border with us, is a problem that is going to need careful management far into the future.
Were we able to broker a foreign policy with the Indians relative to Afghanistan that was to our mutual benefit - trade, communications, power resources - and was created by ourselves independently, rather than at the behest of the Americans, then the knock-on effects across a range of current difficulties might be considerable.
At the moment it could be said this is little more than musings of a group of intellectuals; but within it is the germ of an idea that bears nurture. Were it to grow and flower, it would mean that both Pakistan and India took back a little of their independence.
Monday, April 26, 2010
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The News on Sunday Special Report: India Pakistan prisoners more editions
We probably didn't need to do this Special Report. Newspaper stories don't matter when it comes to Indians in Pakistani jails and vice versa. In fact, 'vice versa' sums it up. We do to them what they do to us.
Except when the two countries decide to begin talking, yet again! This time a little before the foreign secretary level talks, some Pakistani prisoners were released by India (and vice versa must have happened) and some more were release....read more
For the past 2 years the Jang Group and Geo have been working on a project of great national interest; one that we hope will help usher in an era of peace and prosperity in the country and indeed, in the region. And one that hopefully all Pakistanis can be proud of. more
The Jang Group has entered into an agreement with the Times of India Group, the largest media group of India, to campaign for peace betw