The recent spate of excitement over the India Pakistan cricket world cup semi final inspired me to write about the root of territorial disputes. The disputes over land are not common to India and Pakistan alone. They are a common feature in the international arena but some cases have occupied the limelight because of the violence associated with such disputes.
Let us not discuss only the disputes that exist between nations. There also exist disputes between the states within the nation over their border territories. I am daring to group them in the same category as the dispute over Kashmir of India and Pakistan. What do the people of these disputed territories want? More violence and more blood to be shed or peaceful and prosperous living. Definitely, a rational human being would ask for the latter. These disputes have become more of a matter of the prestige of the people staying in the other undisturbed parts of the territory than a matter pursued for the well being of the disputed territory.
If the parties in question are really interested in the development of the region, be it Kashmir, or for that matter any other disputed territory, then I would suggest the creation of a joint fund and plan to develop the disputed region without expecting any ownership and credit for the development work undertaken. People and goods movement can also be opened up conditionally. Such a move would solve the problem once for all and the people in the disputed territory would be the beneficiaries.
But it is easier said than done. The political parties on both sides of the dispute thrive on the existence of the dispute. Thus, it is for the people of these disputed territories to understand the political equations and persuade the respective governments to act not to maintain their honour but to develop their region. The crux is for the people not to get into this ‘Siyasi Jung’ and start backing people who are really contributing for their development. Nevertheless, rationality requires that status quo should prevail.