Wednesday, February 5, 2014

EU Model and Pakistan – India Peace

By Brig Nadir Mir

Pakistan and India need peace. However the much quoted EU Model does not apply in the Pakistan – India context. The historical perspective, Geopolitics and national aspirations are radically divergent.

The EU Model

Present day European Union evolved out of old Europe. Europe for all its diversity had basic commonalities. The concept of unifying Europe was an old dream. The old Europe was not only conquered by force but also interwoven by Royal marriages. The ideals of the French Revolution, followed by others, spread into the length and breadth of Europe. Napoleon and Hitler both had attempted on a grand scale to unify Europe by force but failed. 

EU evolved since the Europeans (for all their diversity) had one faith Christianity, one white race or the heartland of western culture, similar political aspirations (post Second World War and post Cold War). The common enemy Soviet Union vanished, the common friend USA geopolitically sought EU as a global partner. Economic interests coincided in EU. Despite economic interests and cultural affinity, there would have been no EU, if the basic factors had not been in place.

Farewell to Hegemony

Through centuries of war fighting, the European Nations bid a final farewell to hegemony. The demise of Soviet Union meant no foreign state could threaten Europe. Intra European sentiments were all anti hegemony. The major European powers, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Russia had forsaken all forms of hegemony. The quest for dominance had been expelled from the European mindset. The EU weltanschauung or world view was basically peace and humanity driven.

Conflict Resolution

The EU took shape since basic conflicts stood resolved. Border conflicts, territorial claims, ideological issues, other flash points and sources of tension were mutually finished, reconciled or disappeared from European politics.

Balance of Power

The EU era was ushered by a new semblance of power balance in Europe. The EU states big and small are equal partners. Neither did UK aim at naval preponderance, nor Germany massive land forces. This new amicable political culture and geopolitics of peace contributed to maintaining balance of power.

In essence for all the amiable talk, EU would not have existed or functioned until the quest for hegemony vanished, conflict resolution took place and balance of power was maintained between member states.

The environment of Pakistan – India is not only radically different from EU, but in fact quite antagonistic.

Pakistan – India historical perspective

In 1947, Pakistan – India were created as Nation States out of British India. No Indian Nation or republic existed before that. Various empires had conquered large swaths of the subcontinent historically, but none completely. Even the British in their heydays dealt with over 500 princely states with varying status.

Two Nation Theory  

The nation state of Pakistan was created to provide equal status, secure environment and a prosperous future for Pakistani citizens.

In the wider sense, it means more than a separate homeland for Muslims of the subcontinent. Muslim minorities exist in numerous states of the world, but no Pakistan has been created there. Pakistan was created because post British India was not good enough for Muslims. Pakistan was not only created for a separate religion, but different culture, aspirations and world view. Pakistan’s cultural links with Turkic world, affinity with Iran – Gulf Arabs, commonalities with Afghans created Pakistan as a melting pot of cultural identities.

Multi Regional State

Pakistan is not merely a South Asian State like India. Pakistan is fast emerging as a multi regional state. Pakistan’s Geo economics bonding with China and Central Asia at Gwadar is its new destiny. Even strategically China is Pakistan’s true partner, with whom India is mistakenly racing.  Pakistan’s affinity with Arabian Peninsula’s religious, cultural and economic ties is likely to increase.

Pakistan – India’s Conflicts
  • Kashmir Until India relents on Kashmir, peace and stability will remain elusive.
  • Afghanistan post US The post US ‘New Afghanistan’ situation is likely to increase competition between Pakistan – India. Dr. Maria Sultan’s recently published brilliant book, ‘Afghanistan 2014: Decision Point’ aptly highlights the emerging environment.
  • Chah Bahar – Central Asia India’s maritime, trade movements to Chah Bahar will heighten tensions with Pakistan in new uncharted waters. Delhi’s bid to develop Chah Bahar in Iran to out flank Pakistan’s Gwadar 70 miles to the west en route to Central Asia enhances rivalry.
In a nutshell, the Geopolitics of Pakistan – India region is confrontational rather than cooperative. The present regime in Pakistan is trying to befriend India.  The problem is the disciples of ‘Global India’ have developed a world view in which they assume India to be a global player. The recent rift between US – India on an Indian diplomat’s mistreatment in USA is a case in point. Indians are shocked that the established superpower USA did not defer to the Rising Global India! Indian culture does not believe in equality between in its own people, leave alone with smaller neighbours!

As examined the relationship between EU States has no resemblance in Pakistan – India context. The younger generation of Indians has antipathy for Pakistan and China. The Indian Air Chief talks on Indian Aero Space Power reach beyond Pakistan to Central Asia. The Indian Navy aspires and develops its Navy for sea control from Straits of Hormuz to Malacca Straits making a clash with Pakistan Navy inevitable.   

The ‘Peace Party’ is right in the view that Pakistan – India need peace. It is wrong in the view that peace can be achieved without a comprehensive solution.

The views expressed are that of the author and are a food for thought and analysis by those who view the resolution of Pakistan-India relations in a most amicable way.

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