India and neighbors: some thoughts

The question of Kashmir is at the heart of India- Pakistan relationship. this can not be denied. Would it get solved in the near future? A good question that has no answer. And not many would like to answer that. Hopes have always been trashed. So much so that now people don’t hope. There are hardliners on both sides, precluding a practical solution.

Probably one most practical way in which this could get resolved would be one of the two sides relinquishing its claim (for all practical purposes). Impossible? May not quite be. In long standing standoffs of history, it is finally the stamina that matters. Often one party is weakened over a period, eroded by time. This finally allows the other to take the ground. India has shown much larger stamina. It has grown much larger since its independence. Education and industry have given it the economic power to afford larger defence forces, better technology deployment. And given all this, the general moral in India is much higher. Pakistan has been spending way too much to remain in the ring. The money that should have gone to build better roads and providing education and healthcare, now ends up in defence budgets. Population by and large is dissatisfied and angry, and war-cries against India have often seemed to be the only potent cement to bind the provinces of the nation. It probably realised its limitations at war-field confrontation, and has concentrated energies to produce private militants to fight. By and large, despite the tragedies it has unleashed on India (security personnel casualties, innocent people getting caught in cross-fire), it is more in nature of irritation, than a weakening force. It has seen a part of itself severed once in 1971. Pakistan could lose stamina at some point in time. May be in a few decades?

But this analogy should provide more worries to India than comfort. India has had long-running disputes and a short, yet decisive war with China. China has economically surpassed India, rather overwhelmingly. It is also a larger and better governed country. Foreign policy, military strategies and capabilities, governance, government machinery etc. are well concerted to achieve their objectives. And its much larger stamina would mean, an out-of-breath India could at some point in time be a mere spectator to what China decides in relation to territorial disputes etc.

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