‘Learn from past but deal with issues at hand’

Saturday, November 8th, 2014 6:52:13 by

*Indian envoy Dr Raghwan says India, Pakistan should address terror and security related issues

*Says Pakistan should not have talked to APHC leaders, alleges that Pakistan initiated LoC firing on Eid day

The incidents of Kargil and Mumbai attacks are not the only perspective on the Indo-Pakistan issue and the Lahore and Islamabad declarations should also be kept in mind as a good starting point, Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Dr TA Raghwan said Saturday.

Speaking at ceremony of the English Speaking Union at a local hotel, the Indian diplomat elaborated on the relations between the two South-Asian neighbours. Starting from the earliest hostilities right after the partition of the Indian sub-continent, he mentioned the Indus Water Treaty – signed by then Indian premier Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistani president Ayub Khan – as the first stepping stone towards understanding and peace between the two countries.


“The past is not necessarily as bleak as we think. As Narsima Rao (former Indian prime minister) once said, there is a need to understand the past in a redemptive way. The problems of the past should not overshadow other issues. Dealing with the present issues should be the policy perspective,” he said.

“It is for the governments of India and Pakistan to decide what level of ties they want,” said Raghwan, while pointing towards regional hostilities between South and North Korea, Israel and the Arab world and China and India.

Stephen Cohen has recently asked in his book whether India and Pakistan want the same hostile relations for the entire century, two-third of which has already passed,” Raghwan said.

He maintained that the two countries should try to make progress wherever possible while understanding the differences, overcoming which would take “more time”. Rajwan termed the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration as the foundation for any future progress.


Raghwan bemoaned that the trade volume between India and Pakistan was much lower than its potential. He also spoke about the trust deficit which exists between the two countries mostly over “security-related” and “terror-related” issues, adding that these issues should be addressed.

To a question on civilian killings as result of firing from the Indian side, he said that from the Indian perspective, Pakistan started the firing on Eidul Azha.

About a question on PM Narendra Modi’s ascend to power despite charges of inciting massacre of Muslims in Gujrat, he said it needs to be seen in context of Indian domestic politics where such accusations and allegations are part of the political system because of the friction between political rivals.

To a question on the recent stall in talks, he opined that the Pakistani side should not have started negotiations with All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) because “you cannot talk with the state (India) and those fundamentally against it at the same time”.

However, he reiterated that there is a need to move away from the “match against each other” and get further from the “baggage of the past”.

Former Punjab governor Shahid Hamid said that if Germany and France could resolve their differences, so could India and Pakistan.

Lahore News Sources

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