Shreesh K. Pathak
It is often argued that two democracies never go for the fight. India and Pakistan, both are constitutionally democratic political systems. Though, in Pakistan, democracy is often sabotaged by military rules. After Perwez Musharraf, Pakistan has witnessed the first civilian government led by Asif Ali Zardari (PPP) that completed its full tenure and also first peaceful and democratic power transition as Nawaz Sharif took over the power as a Prime Minister and hopefully is going to serve for full tenure, too. Theoretically; the relationship between India and Pakistan must show some improvement, but the fact says otherwise. An interesting pattern can be traced in this trajectory of events that whenever both countries have a strong leadership in terms of decisiveness backed by either through strong mandate in the general election or by military coup, relationship got tensed generally and relationship improves whenever indecisive regimes work. It does not mean that a strong decisive government which is elected through democratic election process; is detrimental to the path of peace and of healthy relationship or a weak government is ideal for building peace; actually it shows a common pattern in the working of civilian governments in both countries. Governments actually exploit the tensed bilateral issues for justification of their regimes. Making bilateral issues open and non-negotiable also offers the scope to build an uncompromising strong persona of the government that eventually shifts the civilian focus from the duties of the governments and even helps in the elections. It would be quite interesting to see that now in both countries, there are two strong decisive governments backed by the strong
2 India’s Relations with the World: Under the Leadership of Narendra Modi
trust of the people of their countries and again India-Pakistan relation is not going in smooth way in any sense. Democracy defines the possibility of cooperation and confines the possibility of war between the two neighbouring countries1. It is a theoretical proposition where almost all analysts agree to come on the same page, though democracy differs country to country in nature, which often makes suspicion about the authenticity of this proposition. After the conclusion of both world wars, decolonisation process started. Democracy had got currency through representative system of government. The countries of world system were generally classified into two simple tags i.e. Countries with colonial past; and countries with imperial past. In cold war era though they could choose either of the bloc but democracy was the only choice as far as form of the government was concerned. Even the countries that joined the socialist bloc they referred their system of government more democratic. Principles of democratic centralism and direct democracy had been propounded. Hence; Democracy has become a political value more than a political system.
As Samuel P. Huntington suggested the concept of Political Decay, one can understand that democratisation process does not contain only the processes of institutionalisation but also the popular mobilisation2. The process of institutionalisation and mobilisation obviously vary nation to nation depending on their political tradition, political socialisation and political history. So, two democratic countries off course would defy any chances for direct war, but the varied political culture here widens the democratic gap and encourages the scope of conflicts.
India and Pakistan: Experimenting With Democracy
As a newly independent state, India got its constitution in 1949, whereas Pakistan could get its full-fledged constitution in 1973 only3. With a statesman like Jawaharlal Nehru, India proceeded steady on the path of institutionalisation. India conducted its first general election in 1952 based on universal adult franchise4. This was a bold start as a nation as ideologically India had embraced the democratisation process with socialistic objectives. Gandhi’s last man of
1Ray, James Lee (2000), “Democracy on the levels, Does Democracy Correlate with Peace” in John A. Vasquez (Ed.) What Do We Know About War, New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p.299. 2Huntington, Samuel P. (2006), “Political Order in Changing Societies” Connecticut, Yale University
Press, p. 243. 3Omar, Imtiaz (2002), “Emergency Powers and the Courts in India and Pakistan” London:
Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, p.1. 4Ahuja, M. L. (1998), “Electoral Politics and General Elections in India, 1952-1998” Delhi,
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society must be included in the mainstream of the path of development and also the private individual players of market must not be alienated in independent India who had contributed in the national movement yet in own unique way, India had chosen the model of mixed economy5. This definitely helped India to grow as strong nation and also integrated the whole state with the ongoing echo of ‘unity in diversity’ chimes.
Furthermore; India adopted the Five Year Plan Pattern of USSR and twisted it according to the need of nation6. India had adopted the system of federalism with unitary bias. There are three layers of administration; at Union level, centre exercises the power for whole country, at state level, provincial government takes care of provincial interests and at local level municipalities and Panchayats work7. This certainly helped the country and a new nation proceeded on its destined path. The political system of India had shown its resilience firstly in the time of emergency forced by Indira Gandhi. Other structures of the political system worked positively and gradually the political system came out from the emergency and next general election had been conducted peacefully and new government came into being. This again strengthened India’s political system in its own way8. India further dealt efficiently with the forces of globalisation as the country had embraced the processes of liberalisation in 19919. India today is dealing aptly the domestic pressures and international pressures and often grabbing the opportunities as well.
On the other hand, Pakistan was headed by Qaide-e-Azam M. A. Jinnah who died barely a year after the creation of nation. Military rule was imposed on Pakistan and Jinnah’s successor and first Prime Minister of the nation, Liaquat Ali Khan was murdered in 195110. Democracy was held up by the martial law imposed by the first President of Pakistan Iskander Mirza who was also eventually replaced by army chief, General Ayub11. India and Pakistan fought war in 1965. In 1969, again Pakistan witnessed a regime change. General Yahya Khan had taken over from General Ayub Khan. In 1970, General election was held in Pakistan in which Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto recorded victory in West Pakistan
5Gupta, N. B. D.(1993) “Nehru and Planning in India” Ghaziabad, Concept Publishing Company.
p.93 6Skousen, mark (2013), “Economic Logic: Fourth Edition”, Washington D C: An Eagle Publishing
Company, p.646. 7Shukla, Subhash (2008), “Issues in Indian Polity”, Delhi: Anamika pub & Distributors. p.54 8Sen, Gautam (2015), “Lessons of the Indian Emergency”, India Facts, accessed through http://
indiafacts.org/lessons-indian-emergency/ on 09.04.17. 9Baru, Sanjaya (2013), “Strategic Consequences of India’s Economic Performance” Delhi:
Routledge, p.14. 10Kapur, Ashok (2006), “Pakistan in Crisis”, New York: Routledge, p.3. 11Farooqi M. (1972), “Pakistan: Policies that Led to Break-up”, Calcutta: People’s Publishing
4 India’s Relations with the World: Under the Leadership of Narendra Modi
but the Awami League grabbed almost all the seats in East Pakistan, giving it a general majority. Bhutto and Yahya were not ready to allow the Awami League to form a government. This eventually led to the partition of Pakistan and a new nation Bangladesh was formed with the help of India in 197112. This one was a big event in the heated cold war era where Indira Gandhi protected India’s interests well and secured a remarkable victory over Pakistan. Yahya Khan handed the power to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who had become the Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1973. But in 1977, then Army chief General Zia-ul-Haq held power. Zia’s life came to an end in a plane crash in 1988. Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto contested and won the election and became the next Prime Minister of the country. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dethroned the Bhutto’s government, condemning it of corruption and abuse of power. Nawaz Sharif, a leader based on Punjab was elected prime minister in 1990. Till 1999, When Perwez Musharraf staged a military coup and seized the power and became President of the country in 2001, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto shared the power one by one due to sudden interferences made by Presidents of Pakistan at times13. Country has witnessed the first civilian government led by Asif Ali Zardari (PPP) that completed its full tenure and also first peaceful and democratic power transition as Nawaz Sharif took over the power as a Prime Minister and hopefully is going to serve for full tenure, too14.
Pakistan was the nation of some inherent contradictions. There were five provinces in the country i.e. Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as NWFP and commonly called as Sarhad), Balochistan and East Bengal. All the provinces though have Muslim majority, but they shared very few things in common. All has unique language, unique cuisine, unique culture and even unique history. Pakistan had declared Urdu its state language but no citizen of any province generally spoke Urdu15. The processes of institutionalisation were often stalled due to regular military regime as the country faced continuous turbulences. To talk about popular mobilisation is absolutely misplaced here. In the arena of world politics arena, whereas India chose not to be in any bloc, Pakistan joined USA bloc, though unannounced. In this way, Pakistan maintained its national interest broadly intact in the world politics but domestic politics was ignored. West Pakistan and East Pakistan were having inherent tensions within the state. Generally alleged, that West Pakistan got prominence in the power and distribution of resources over the East Pakistan. General election was conducted in 1970 and The Awami League, under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
12Ahmed, Salahuddin (2004) “Bangladesh: Past & Present”, Dhaka: A P H Publishing, p.202 13DeVotta, Neil (2015), “An Introduction to South Asian Politics”, New York: Routledge, p.53 14Gregory, Shaun (2015), “Democratic Transition and Security in Pakistan”, Routledge. 15Mohiuddin, Yasmeen Niaz (2007), “Pakistan: A Global Studies Handbook”, ABC-CLIO.
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from East Pakistan got overwhelming majority. General Yahya Khan chose to suppress the popular sentiments of East Pakistan which eventually led the formation of Bangladesh as a new nation in South Asia with the active help of India16. The democratic government had been formed in Pakistan under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. A new full-fledged constitution was adopted in 1973 which was based on federalism and democracy was adopted as system of government17. Even after this, Pakistan had faced several military regimes and coups in which recent years are the peaceful exceptions.
History of India-Pakistan Relation: Cooperation amidst Conflicts
Strategic atmosphere and weather of borderland areas of India and Pakistan is definitely directly proportional to the temperature of the relationship between both countries. A comfortable relationship would bring an easy border approach from both countries, but troubled relationship as history suggests always brings various troubles on borders.
There is no water in the taps, water is drying up, and we have gone ahead to make a bomb. The populist aspiration trumpeted by politicians is food, clothing and shelter. But they forget about all these three things there must first be water as an elemental factor. This; they do not realise. They waste their time talking about irrelevant issues, Kashmir, Line of Control. How foolish can we get? 18
The partition of 1947 made them two sovereign states and unfortunately, since then, the relations between them have been far from being satisfactory and since 1947 there have been four wars between them. With growing threat perception, India and Pakistan both has maintained their military strength. Nuclear weapons, missiles and arms are continuously prepared and purchased by the both nations. The legacy of the Partition still determines some of their relations. The peoples of the two countries have strong emotional, cultural and historical links and yet, unfortunately, the political relations between the two have almost continuously been tense, strained and tends to various sorts of conflicts. The trade and economic links continue to be limited. Pakistan’s continued support and help to the forces of Islamic fundamentalism and cross border terrorism has been straining and damaging the Indo-Pak relations as well as threatening the regional peace and development. One of the most crucial parts of India’s foreign policy has always been the conducting of relations with Pakistan. As K. P. Pillai
16Ahmed, Salahuddin (2004) “Bangladesh: Past & Present”, Dhaka: A P H Publishing. 17Imtiaz, Omar (2002), “Emergency Powers and the Courts in India and Pakistan” Martinus
Publishers, p.6 18Dixit, J. N. (2003), External Affairs: Cross-Border Relations, New Delhi: Roli Books. 19 Ghai, U. R. and K. K. Ghai (2007), Foreign Policy of India, Jalandhar: New Academic Publishing
6 India’s Relations with the World: Under the Leadership of Narendra Modi
says, “Indeed, India’s relations with Pakistan have been the most observing aspect of its foreign policy”19.
Trust building should be the primary concern for any sort of negotiation. Trust deficit can make every negotiation a failure. The two sides need to underline their undertakings and also restate support for sustained dialogue. The dialogue process can be hindered by any side. From Indian perspective, if violence happened by rebels was to increase in Jammu and Kashmir (with support from Pakistan) or if Pakistan were to pressure India in a inflexible time frame and press on for agreement on Kashmir problem, it would work to unstitch earlier accomplishments. It would build more faith, if Pakistan acted efficiently to prevent cross border terrorism and to encourage economic relations and people to people contact while dealing on the Kashmir conflict20. In January 2004, in Islamabad, Vajpayee recognized the “peace camp in India is much larger than that favouring perpetuating of enmity with Pakistan” while Pakistan’s Information Minister, visiting India, remarked “hostility with India no longer sells in the Pakistani election market”21. “It is a source of bitter disappointment to the people of the subcontinent, who expected peace and progress, that partition has brought warfare, vituperation, frustration, and fears22”.
Due to animosity of both nations, a large chunk of the budget goes to defence purposes instead for the development programmes. The sub- continent was partitioned although by mutual sanction, the distrust, bitterness, and fright between the two successor states of the British Empire persisted. For both the governments of the nations, there is lots of work to do for the advancement of its people, but their main focus is often diluted due to security concerns.
Just after the partition, Mohammad said a chamber of commerce meeting in Bombay on June 1947: “Let us be practical and divide the subcontinent; we live in Pakistan, you live in Hindustan [India]. We will be neighbours. . . . We want to live in a friendly way, friends in trade and commerce as the two brothers and that is Pakistan23”. In the same tone, Jawaharlal Nehru stated, in a speech to India’s parliament in early 1950, “We cannot be enemies forever and good relations are better than fighting24”. Jinnah was too positive about the possibility of fertile relations between India and Pakistan, though at one time he said: “You do not realise the time factor; reconciliation between the Muslims and Hindus may come sooner or later but if it does not come in good time, bitterness will
20http://www.ipcs.org/pdf_file/news_archive/mar_05_indopak.pdf 21Parikh, Manju (2005), “India-Pakistan Rapprochement: A Cautious Optimism”, Accessed on
24.07.2011 URL: http://www.logosjournal.com/issue_4.1/parikh.htm 22Choudhury, G. W. (1968), Pakistan’s Relations with India, 1947-66, London: Pall Mall Press. 23Askari, M. H. (1999), “For a Culture of Peace,” Dawn, January 13, 1999 24Gopal, Sarvepalli (1983), Jawaharlal Nehru’s Speeches, 1948-53, New Delhi: Publications
Division. 25Askari, M. H. (1999), “For a Culture of Peace,” Dawn, January 13, 1999
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remain and the Hindus and Muslims, even though working together, will not be good friends if a settlement is not brought about quickly25”.
India-Pakistan relation is often marred by confrontations though there were instances of cooperation too here and there. In the wake of Mumbai terror attack on November 26, 2008 attacks, India breaks off talks with Pakistan26. The Pakistani government nodded in ambiguous words that the Mumbai attacks may have been partly planned on Pakistani soil, while robustly refusing allegations that the plotters were authorised or aided by Pakistan’s several intelligence agencies27. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Indian Prime Minister Singh assembled on the sidelines of a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, issuing a joint statement detailing the future talks28. However; Singh ruled out, the recommencement of the Composite Dialogue Process at the time. The Indian government continued to take a firm stand with Pakistan; though, with its coalition government was saying that it was up to Pakistan to take the first step towards the continuation of substantive new dossier of evidence regarding the Mumbai attacks, asking it to prosecute Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an Islamic charity with ties to Lashkar-e-Taiba29.
In May 2010, Ajmal Kasab found guilty of waging war against India, of murder and conspiracy in the Mumbai attacks case and he was sentenced to death. In 2012, the Supreme Court refused the plea of Kasab and upheld the sentence30. On May 1 2014, Pakistan’s newly appointed Army chief General Raheel Sharif injected the further venom in the bilateral relationship as he called Kashmir the “jugular vein” of Pakistan, and also he continued to say that the dispute should be resolved as the wishes and aspirations of Kashmiris and according to UNSC resolutions for long-term peace in the area31. This shows the classic temperament of army of Pakistan, which is a major obstacle in the path of peace between the two countries.
India-Pakistan relations impact the whole region and the world as well. In India, after the 2014 general election, a new government has taken the oath. In
26Jacob, T. Jabin (2009), “Guaranteeing Borders in South Asia: Call for Five Party Talks”, IPCS Issue Brief, No.91, [Online: Web] Accessed 20.07.2009, URL: http://www.ipcs.org/pdf_file/ issue/379471623IB91-Jabin-FiveParty.pdf. 27http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/cricket/international/india/6665250/Dean-Kino-recalls-
article231406.ece 29http://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-pakistan-sb-idUSTRE56T2RA20090801 30http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Kasab-pleaded-for-mercy-in-a-four-line-plea/
8 India’s Relations with the World: Under the Leadership of Narendra Modi
an oath taking ceremony Narendra Modi invited all his counterparts in the region and all the neighbouring nations took it warmly. Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif too, came and joined the ceremony32. There are two strong mandated governments in Pakistan and India. Apart from the thunderous expression from both sides, processes have been going on to ensure a basic level of continuity in relations. For India, the quest of better relations with Pakistan complements its stated objective of maintaining speedy and steady economic growth. For Pakistan, India’s activities are hegemonic that will not bring to a halt at merely dominating South Asia and the smaller countries surrounding it but will interrupt upon their domestic political processes, seeking to outline events befitting India’s interests33. “Over time, it is thought, India’s rise would have the effect of making the rest of the region quiescent and complicit in India’s quest for global-power status”34.
Modi-fied35 India and Sharif’s Pakistan: Bilateral Relations of India and Pakistan
In 2014, Narendra Modi’s BJP with its allies came into power with more than 300 seats in the house of 543 parliamentary seats. Singlehandedly BJP bagged 282 seats which is more than 272 seats which needs to form a government36. This is the best ever delivery of BJP in Lok Sabha election. Such a loud and clear mandate makes a Prime Minister very decisive and strong in Indian political system. Narendra Modi has full-fledged power in his hand which is instrumental to steer the policies of his choice. Out of 29 states, BJP is in power in 17 states which makes again Narendra Modi a most decisive leader of recent time37.
Across the borders in Pakistan in 2013, Nawaz Sharif won the Prime Minister office by bagging 244 votes with his rivals Fahim and Hashmi securing 42 and 31 votes respectively38. His party PML (N) was the single largest party in the 2013 election. This was first peaceful power transition in the history of Pakistan. This peaceful transition instilled huge credibility in to the new government. In
leaders-1543971.html 33Budania, Rajpal (2001), “India’s National Security Dilemma: The Pakistan Factor and India’s
Policy Response”, Delhi: Indus Publishing P.261 34Lodhi, Maleeha (2001), “Security Challenges in South Asia,” The Non-proliferation Review,
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Pakistani politics, traditionally it is believed that three ‘As’ play vital role in the country, i.e. Allah, America and Army. Nawaz Sharif has handled very smartly the radical Islamic forces in the country in favour of his government. Historically, USA broadly supports the establishment of Pakistan. As far as Army is concerned, after General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistani Army has preferred to work in low profile, distanced from active politics and maintained the civil-military relationship in the country39.
In 2013, Nawaz Sharif appointed Raheel Sharif as Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan Army who also belonged to Nawaz’s province Punjab. Raheel Sharif elevated over two senior generals. Nawaz Sharif is decisive and army is not interfering normally in his decisions, this fact can be verified with the development as Raheel completed his tenure, unlike in the history of Pakistan, he did not demanded the extension and Nawaz appointed General Qamar Javed Bajwa as next Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan Army without creating any big buzz around40. Both countries have been led by strong leaders but the bilateral relation of nations is quite unsatisfactory. Especially, the year 2016 proved worst as terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups stalled the peace process and surgical strikes conducted by India inside PoK which again followed by launching of heavy fire at the border raised fears of a large-scale conflict41. Prior to this, the Pathankot attack on Indian airbase backed by Jaish-e-Mohammad militants compelled India to link the peace process to act against terror activities emanated from Pakistani soil. Relation perhaps would go for improvement but then Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in a direct encounter with Indian security forces in Kashmir. After that again an army camp in Uri was attacked by JeM militants killing 19 soldiers. The Indian government again asked for action from Pakistan but without a result. After some time from the attack, the both clashed at the UN General Assembly’s annual session, yelling each other for militancy and violation of human rights42. India and Pakistan both have stalled all the processes of talks and ties with obviously own versions of reasons. But As Atal Bihari Vajpayee once famously remarked that one can change its friends but not the neighbours43, sooner or later India and Pakistan have to come to the path of peace.
38https://www.dawn.com/news/1016255 39http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/13/world/asia/13pstan.html?ref=world 40http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Qamar-Javed-Bajwa-Pakistans-new-army-chief-
10 India’s Relations with the World: Under the Leadership of Narendra Modi
As History Suggests
India and Pakistan fought their first war in 1947. Both countries were led by strong leaders Jawaharlal Nehru in India and M. A. Jinnah in Pakistan. Genral Ayub Khan was leading the military regime of Pakistan and waged a full-fledged war against India in 1965. Under the strong leadership Lal Bahudur Sahstri India responded well and won the war. General Yahya Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto refused to accept the mandate of recent general election and decided with iron will to suppress the democratic protestations in East Pakistan. India was disturbed with all these developments and iron lady Indira Gandhi responded it with the formation of new nation, Bangladesh. In 1984 Siachen conflict was happened under the patronage of Zia-Ul-Haq and Rajiv Gandhi. Kargil war, 1999 was fought between the two countries under the decisive leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif44. Today in both countries, there are two strong decisive governments backed by the strong trust of the people of their countries and again India-Pakistan relation is not going in smooth way in any sense. Actually, India-Pakistan relation improves in the gaps left by strong leaders of the countries. Asif Ali Zardari and Manmohan Singh had somehow definitely maintained the peace relationship. This actually leads towards a definite pattern.
An interesting pattern can be traced in this trajectory of events that whenever both countries have a strong leadership in terms of decisiveness backed by either through strong mandate in the general election or by military coup, relationship got tensed generally and relationship improves whenever indecisive regimes work. It does not mean that a strong decisive government which is elected through democratic election process; is detrimental to the path of peace and of healthy relationship or a weak government is ideal for building peace; actually it shows a common pattern in the working of civilian governments in both countries.
Governments actually exploit the tensed bilateral issues for justification of their regimes. Making bilateral issues open and non-negotiable also offers the scope to build an uncompromising strong persona of the government that eventually shifts the civilian focus from the duties of the governments and even helps in the elections. Whenever power is shared among many stakeholders, government cannot be in position to be decisive and strong. Tapping peace in bilateral relationship then would be a good consolation. As in Pakistan whenever a weak civilian government worked and power was shared among Army, radical Islamists and other non state actors and also USA had interfered often; then the
44Dixit, J N (2003), “India and Pakistan in War and Peace”, Routledge.
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relationship with India was not that problematic at least on the ground. Likewise also in India, if there was a coalition government, that always reciprocated or initiated the various peace processes and ties.
Actually, after the Second World War as the decolonisation process started democracy gradually came at the centre stage. Popular support is vital for the continuance of authority and its legitimacy. Popular support can be generated by the development of nation or can be extracted easily to incite the national emotions waging war and conflicts with neighbour or enemy country. Almost all Pakistani military rulers used this method to justify their regime. In India also often government blames Pakistan for almost all internal and border specific disturbances initially however; later the investigations reach on substantial grounds. But still it buys time for the government to hide its inabilities and to media exposures and trials.
War and conflict can never bring peace to India and Pakistan. This is a simple and unchangeable fact. Even in this era of globalisation of world politics too, war and use of coercive power is considered as no option at all. This is the time of complex interdependence. Pakistan and India both have achieved though a degree of institutionalisation but they lack the complementing popular mobilisation. Public opinion often does not come in integrated and strong way to respond on foreign affairs and also the regimes either offer the issues of own to the public or ignore the current of opinion wholly.
People of both countries are generally engulfed with political alienation due to improper political socialisation. This happens as the status of education is in bad shape though the literacy rate is increasing per census. If both countries would correct the wrongs of their colonial past and work for infrastructure and education system, this would strengthen the civil societies of both countries. Civil society would generate proper public opinion and governments cannot ignore them. This also would energise the processes of political socialisation and both countries would attain a degree of popular mobilisation that would then compliment to the institutionalisation of the country. Political development can play a decisive role in building the lasting path of peace, trade, talks and ties between India and Pakistan.