Indo-Pak: Humanity At The Border?

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An Indian soldier, while on patrol, had accidentally crossed over to the Pakistani side after being swept away by a river. He has now returned home after being handed over by the Pakistani government. What is interesting is that, he has been treated well; as remarked by the soldier himself, “They made me comfortable.”

Any news that has to do with peace, in this troubled times when there are constant cease-fire violations at the border between the two countries, is received whole-heartedly. Who wouldn’t like to read a news story which said that a soldier of a country was treated well by the enemy, and more so, when it is Pakistan and India that is at concern? It certainly makes an overwhelming read.

India was shocked, when in 2013, one of its soldiers was beheaded by the Pakistani troops in the border area. Indians poured out their anger and even criticized the government for failing to take appropriate action against the Pakistani troops. But now, the news of a soldier being treated well has come as a positive gesture from the Pakistani side. Finally some signs of humanity is being shown at the borders.

The hope is that this gesture marks the beginning of better relations and that both the countries prosper in peace.  While at one hand there is the unbound hatred between the two nations, many however continue to dream of India and Pakistan joining hands and defeating the agenda of unnecessary tension and hatred.

I assume that if at all a similar situation was to arise, our men in uniform would reciprocate the positive gesture that has come from the Pakistani side. Let us allow sanity and humanity to prevail over everything else.

As we take on this gesture with a hope for better relations between the two countries, let’s look forward, not backward; we don’t have a remarkable past to remember.

While Pakistan’s gesture is received with optimism, I’m curious as to why a soldier who doesn’t swim would be assigned to a river belt. The soldier himself said that he doesn’t know how to swim. Of course, a good swimmer is no guarantee to a strong current. But my questions are: As a soldier, isn’t he supposed to be a trained swimmer? Is training poorly carried out in the Indian military that our soldiers are vulnerable to these kinds of situation?

Many believe that the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks are roaming free on the Pakistani side and India is yet to receive justice. Some may even view the gesture as a mandatory action that Pakistan was bound by; Article 13 of the Geneva Convention, signatories must treat the captured enemy troops humanely. However, even if so, one step at a time should surely be viewed as a positive sign.

Our leaders need to be reminded that we cannot spend so much on military at the cost of development. Our own internal problems are already a bagful. It would be only beneficial for India and Pakistan to work together in bringing about peace and prosperity to the region. With Modi coming to power at the centre, he has given a clear message that India’s friendship with all of its neighbours will help in bringing regional progress. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bhutan and Nepal after taking charge has already shown positive prospects for India’s relation with its neighbours.

It is time that the two countries only take the kindness further starting from the gesture shown to the Indian soldier.

Valentina Telien Kom

Image Source [Google]

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