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JANUARY  2003 Contents

 

 Peace in South Asia
 - Is it attainable?
 Read what they have 
 to say:

 Introduction

 Swami Agnivesh &
 Rev Valson Thampu

 Ardeshir Cowasjee

 Lt. Gen Arjun Ray 

 Raju Narisetti

 Waheguru Pal Singh 
 Sidhu

 'Junoon'

 Music

 Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
 - 50 years of sarod

 Heritage

 Secular symbols of
 Sri Lanka

 
 2002 Round-up

 Books 2002

 Sports 2002

 
 
People

 Raju Nasiretti

 Mahreen Khan

 
 
Real Issues

 Corruption vs. NGOs


 Neighbours

 Letter from Pakistan

 Books

 'India in Slow Motion'
 - by Mark Tully

 Serialisation of  'Knock at every alien 
 door' - Joseph Harris

 

 Events

 South Asian Events in
 London &  Washington DC

 
 Editor's Note

 the craft shop

 Lehngas - a limited collection

 the print gallery

 Books

 Silk Road on Wheels

 The Road to Freedom

 
Enduring Spirit

 Parsis-Zoroastrians of
India

 
The Moonlight Garden

 
Contemporary Art in
 Bangladesh
 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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Peace in South Asia - is it attainable?

the-south-asian asks Dr. Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu

 


Dr. Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu

"As an optimist I would like to believe that peace in South Asia is attainable but as a realist I know that peace will remain elusive."

 

 

A Brief Introduction 

Dr. Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu is a Senior Associate at the International Peace Academy (IPA) in New York. He has been with the IPA since October 2000, where he coordinates IPA's projects on The UN, NATO and Other Regional Actors in the 21st Century.

Dr. Sidhu has been MacArthur Fellow, Centre for International Studies,University of Oxford; Visiting Research Scholar, Cooperative Monitoring Center (CMC) Albuquerque; Visiting Scholar, Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), Stanford University the Warren Weaver Fellow for International Security, Rockefeller Foundation; and a Research Associate with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

Dr. Sidhu has written extensively on South Asian security issues and on confidence-building measures in particular. He is presently editing a book on the impact of South Asia's nuclear tests. Dr. Sidhu is the joint co-editor for North America for International Peacekeeping, and a member of the Editorial Board of Global Governance. He is also a regular contributor to newspapers, journals and magazines both within and outside South Asia.

He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, and holds a Masters in International Relations from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and a Bachelor's degree in History from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University, India.

About IPA: The IPA is an independent, international institution dedicated to promoting the prevention and settlement of armed conflicts between and within states through policy research and development. The  IPA was setup in 1970 by an Indian General, Inderjit Rikhye, who was the Military Adviser to the UN Secretary General U Thant.

 

Is peace in South Asia elusive or attainable?

As an optimist I would like to believe that peace in South Asia is attainable but as a realist I know that peace will remain elusive. Peace (by which I mean more than the just the absence of war) is dependent on the critical confluence of a variety of domestic, sub-regional, regional and international factors. Sadly, events of the past year have shown that all the factors have been detrimental for rather than conducive to the establishment of peace and security in South Asia.

What, in your view, should be a step towards peace in South Asia?

The abovementioned definition of peace notwithstanding, the first step towards peace in South Asia will certainly have to be the cessation of violence both interstate and intrastate. This, however, will be possible only if a concerted effort is made at the unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.

At the unilateral level both India and Pakistan (the two main protagonists in South Asia) should show restraint and should take deliberate steps to ensure that they do not pursue policies that are likely to perpetrate the cycle of violence. In practical terms this would mean a cessation of support for cross-border terrorism as well as providing good governance, including appropriate means for dissident groups to voice their legitimate political grievances though a democratic process.

At the bilateral level the two key South Asian actors would also have to sit down and seriously address the core issues that have prevented not only the establishment of normal relations but also progress towards peace. In this context the Lahore Process, begun in February 1999 when Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee traveled to Lahore to meet with his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, was a step in the right direction. However, subsequent events, such as the conflict in Kargil and the dramatic incidents of cross-border terrorism, derailed the process. Consequently, today, the bilateral relations are plagued by mutual suspicion rather than a degree of confidence, which is crucial for any serious bilateral engagement.

At the regional level countries within South Asia - such as China and Bangladesh should also ensure that they are not caught in a zero-sum game and are able to provide the necessary impartiality of words and deeds so as to provide the right environment to facilitate the resolution of outstanding disputes.

At the multilateral level, the United States led international community too has a significant role to play in ensuring not only short-term peace and stability in the region, as was evident during the Kargil conflict of 1999, but also to work towards innovative ways and means to establish long term peace in South Asia.

 

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