India should not unilaterally declare LoC as its International Boundary with Pakistan: Shyam Saran
Former foreign secretary and chairman, National Security Advisory Board, Shyam Saran is of the view that India should not unilaterally declare the current Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir as its international boundary with Pakistan.
Delivering the inaugural lecture on the theme of Changing Asia, initiated by the Society for Policy Studies in collaboration with the India Habitat Centre here yesterday evening, Saran said, "I do not agree with the proposition that India should unilaterally declare the current Line of Control as its international boundary with Pakistan as was envisaged in the talks between Indira Gandhi and Bhutto in 1972, but abandoned by Pakistan soon thereafter."
The former foreign secretary stressed that if the LOC is to become the eventual international boundary between the two countries, then it should be the end point of negotiations and not the starting point.
Placing the issue in context, Saran cited the example of Germany and France who reconciled after the Second World War precisely because post-war leaders of the two countries articulated a shared perception concerning the origins of the war, the ensuing peace and the future shape of Europe, and added that until there was a more convergent view of shared history between India and Pakistan, there can be no grand reconciliation.
Saran gave plenty of historical narratives of the two countries, which he said are widely divergent. "We have different interpretations on Partition, on Kashmir, on the 1965 war, on the birth of Bangladesh in 1971, on the Simla Agreement, on the Kargil War in 1999 and on the Mumbai terrorist outrage in 2008," he said.
He reminded that till such convergences emerge between the two nations, India will have to settle for managing an adversarial relationship with its neighbour the best it can. He said that India may have to deploy counter-constraint policies in order to try and change the strategic calculus in Islamabad, which in plain terms means the ability to inflict pain if India's security is threatened.
Saran said India must also include a longer term and uninterrupted project to enhance people-to-people links, trade and commercial relations and cultural interactions whenever such opportunities offer themselves. Improved relations are likely to be the cumulative outcome of a series of modest and incremental steps rather than a big bang affair, he said.
(Posted on 02-09-2014)