Academic and strategic affairs expert Happymon Jacob has said no progress should be expected at least for next two-three years in the India-Pakistan peace talks or Kashmir strategy. He was giving the fifth Quarterly Lecture organised by Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) here on Monday.
Coming down heavily on the immature behaviour of both New Delhi and Islamabad in the matters of peace talks, Happymon Jacob, Assistant Professor of Diplomacy and Disarmament at the School of International Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, said the main defence strategy in the bilateral relation is nothing but hope.
“India and Pakistan do not have a crisis de-escalation policy, both do not know what steps to take during times of crisis. Also, a false belief and sense of security exists that USA will always be there to diffuse tensions. This is not an ideal strategy because US has its own interests and would not come to aid every time. Hope is the main defence strategy of India in its relations with Pakistan owing to immaturity on both sides,” he said.
He said that there is complete lack of enthusiasm in New Delhi towards initiating and maintaining peace talks with Pakistan. “India has a certain arrogance emanating from its dominant position in South Asia. Indian Government has modified its defence systems after humiliation of various attacks such as the one in Mumbai, is militarily prepared to take on Pakistan; academic think-tanks in New Delhi constantly proclaiming an Indian victory if a nuclear war takes place. However, India and Pakistan will both be heavy losers in such a scenario,” said Happymon Jacob.
He added that India cannot afford to look at Pakistan as any other state and said Pakistan is extremely complex, not a rational unitary actor and that no predictions can be made about its behaviour.
He also took effort to demystify two popular perceptions of Pakistan in India: one that it is a failed state and that it is mean and calculating country. “It does not make sense about how these two perceptions co-exist but they do. A deeper understanding is thus essential,” he said.
Despite hostilities, he discounted the possibility of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. He said that, uniquely for the two countries, the bilateral tensions are characterised by a nuclear dimension and Pakistan’s refusal to spell out its nuclear doctrine is a common policy of weaker states to confuse the dominant ones.
He said that the wounds of 1971 Bangladesh war still remain fresh for Pakistan. Pakistan says Indian army has indulged in all the violent crimes it accuses the Pakistan army of.
“Onus is on India as a major power to initiate talks and indulge in discussions but it has been unwilling to do so thus far. India has only been focusing on trust deficit and never at an incremental approach. Pakistan is unhappy with the Indian attitude. Both countries should learn from ‘cold war’ crises. Indian military and spy chiefs never meet or hold talks. US and USSR chiefs used to hold discussions and this has helped avoid many major crises between these countries,” said Happymon Jacob.