India-Pakistan in War & Peace

India-Pakistan in War & Peace

India-Pakistan in War & Peace

India-Pakistan in War & Peace

Synopsis

As the Kashmir dispute brings India and Pakistan ominously close to nuclear war this book provides a compelling account of the history and politics of these two great South Asian rivals. Like the Israel-Palestine struggle, the Indian-Pakistan rivalry is a legacy of history. The two countries went to war within months of becoming independent and, over the following half-century, they have fought three other wars and clashed at the United Nations and every other global forum. It is a complex conflict, over religion and territory with two diametrically opposed views of nationhood and national imagination. J.N. Dixit, former Foreign Secretary of India, and one of the world's leading authorities on the region, has written a balanced and very readable account of the most tempestuous and potentially dangerous flashpoint in international politics.

Excerpt

I originally wrote the introduction to this book as the Atal Behari Vajpayee-Pervez Musharraf summit concluded in Agra in July 2001. I thought my work was done, my assessment of a half-century and more of Indo-Pakistani relations complete. Three dates were to prove me wrong-11th of September, 13th of December and 12th of January. The attack on the World Trade Center in New York, the terrorist assault on the Parliament in New Delhi and Musharraf s "historic" speech to his people were only three signposts on the Indian subcontinent's roller-coaster journey in this period. The war in Afghanistan and the destruction of the Taliban regime changed many of the verities on which this book was based.

Yet, my purpose here is not to assess the consequences of the latest events, much less get carried away by them. There has to be a difference between quick journalism and reasoned analysis. It is appropriate to view even recent happenings through the prism of history. Such a larger view may indicate not a break from the past but perhaps continuity.

I was pondering the rationale for this book when the Musharraf-Vajpayee summit commenced in Delhi on the 14th of July. At a lunch hosted by the Indian prime minister, a brief conversation with a well-known Pakistani provided me with the initial arguments to articulate the relevance of this book. I came to know Cowasji Jehangir, an eminent Parsi citizen of Pakistan, during my tenure as India's high commissioner to his country between 1989 and 1991. I met him after a gap of ten years at Prime Minister Vajpayee's lunch. Jehangir belongs to a distinguished family of shipping magnates of Karachi. He has been fearless, highly intellectual and articulate in advocating human rights, civil liberties and liberal political values through the travails of Pakistani politics stretching over the past three or four decades. He did

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