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Evolving Scenarios

S.D. Muni

Edited by P.M. Kamath
Promilla & Co. in association with Bibliophile South Asia, New Delhi and VPM’s Centre For International Studies, Mumbai, 2005, pp. 333, Rs. 690.00

By Amit Dholakia
Manohar Publishers, Delhi and RCSS Policy Studies 29, 2005, pp. 131, Rs. 255.00

Journal of Global Understanding, Calcutta, New Delhi, London, Bangkok, 2004, pp. 223, Rs. 250.00

VOLUME XXIX NUMBER 12 December 2005

There clearly is a renewed academic and analytical interest in Pakistan and its relations with India. This is in the perspective of resolving their conflicts and looking for a more peaceful, stable and cooperating subcontinent. Publications on these themes that have made their presence in the bookshelves and libraries recently are many and diverse. Meghnad Desai and Aitzaz Ahsan authored Divided By Democracy (Roli, 2005), Humayun Khan and G. Parthasarthy’s Diplomatic Divide (Roli Books, 2005), Sudhanshu Kumar Patnaik’s Pakistan’s Foreign Policy (Kalpaz Publications, 2005) are some of them. Monographs by Radha Kumar on the India-Pakistan Dialogue and Wilson John on Jihadi extremism in Pakistan have also attracted attention. The three publications under review could also be seen as part of this academic and intellectual response to the evolving India-Pakistan relations.      The question of peace and conflict between India and Pakistan is central in two of the three publications under review. The Kamath volume, like any traditional seminar publication, has all strong and weak points so characteristic of such volumes; covering a large ground with varying qualities of papers. Peace is the principal focus of this volume as underlined in the title. The exercise begins with an analysis of the roots of conflict which Jasjit Singh, Balachandran and Tikekar trace to Pakistan’s internal dynamics of chaotic politics, dominance of military, cultural specificities of the two countries and their search for identities. Rajesh Basrur finds their respective political structures, particularly the coalition politics in India as hurdles in pushing the peace agenda forward. In these chapters Pakistan’s cross-border terrorism and India’s NDA government’s inconsistent strategies have been held responsible for the absence of a reassuring process of peace and cooperation between the two neighbours. Ramesh Babu has added an important component of the external powers role, focusing on the US. The positive turn in the US role after 9/11 is underlined as a factor that India and Pakistan may sincerely make use of.      The volume also covers economic and cultural factors involved in bilateral relations. Gidadhubli brings out the political opposition to trade with India from Jamat-e-Islami of Pakistan and pleads that Pakistan needs to overcome the fear of Indian goods overcrowding its markets. This fear is untenable on the basis of the economic logic as also past experience of trade flows during the early seveties. Nadkarni even pleads for the two countries pursuing the WTO approach rather than ...

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