My Report Debate II Winner: How to Handle Pakistan?
Syed Muiz Qadri is the winner of My Report Debate II.
Syed Muiz Qadri is the winner of My Report Debate II.(Photo: Shruti Mathur/The Quint)

My Report Debate II Winner: How to Handle Pakistan?

(Syed Muiz Qadri is the winner of My Report Debate II. Participants were asked the question: How to fix the India-Pakistan relationship – Jaadu ki jhappi or surgical strike?)

The acrimony between India and Pakistan dates back to 1947. While there have been years of peace and positive developments (Indus Water Treaty, Samjhauta Express, LoC Trade etc), the relationship has been mostly volatile. What needs to be done to handle Pakistan is, to have a multi-pronged strategy.

On a diplomatic level, India has to impress upon Pakistan at international fora like UN, SAARC, BIMSTEC, FATF to prevent it from promoting terrorism on Indian soil. On a bilateral level, dialogue can’t be kept out of the solution.

Whenever talks have stopped between the two nations, the situation has only worsened, as is evident nowadays.

At a security level, cross-border intrusion of terrorists needs to be prevented by strengthening border infrastructure like better border outposts, fencing, strong intelligence etc. Although Pakistan is a democracy, the problem is that the Army is not totally under its control. Even if there's dialogue between the two nations, ceasefire violations occur at LoC.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation can help to restrain the military of Pakistan as it would be for the good of working of the organisation itself. Pakistan’s allies, mainly China, also need to be looked at. India should keep pressing for permanent membership of UNSC. That way it will be easier to contain terrorism fueled by Pakistan e.g. by declaring Azhar Masood as global terrorist.

The CBMs must continue, as it would choke the space for Pakistan to act irresponsibly. Events like the Kartarpur corridor, LoC trade, revival of SAARC, involvement in Indus water treaty must continue to keep Pakistan engaged. 

Moreover, India should build up upon its own strength to create deterrence against Pakistan. It can be done using soft and hard power. Measures like improving people-to-people contact with mutual neighbours of India and Pakistan (e.g. Afghanistan, China); using space prowess, cultural exchange; and building alternative routes to Pakistan like Chabahar port can help to restrain Pakistan in case it tries to be aggressive against India. Also, we must not forget the Kashmir issue.

Unless things improve in India’s own backyard, Pakistan & other organisations will continue to leverage it, as was evident during OIC meet. Kashmir has to be settled down and taken into confidence for that matter.

The crux of above points is to engage and not isolate Pakistan. Isolation has only led to volatility with Pakistan. The more engaged India keeps Pakistan, the lesser ground it gets to act irresponsibly. Even if it does so, it will feel the isolation automatically at a global level, without India having to vouch for it.

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