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Thursday, 27 July, 2000, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Can the arms race between India and Pakistan be stopped?

It is one year since the conflict in Kargil - described by some as the "fourth war'' between India and Pakistan. Delhi saw the outcome of the conflict as a decisive defeat for Islamabad.

South Asia
Since then, both countries have continued a military build-up. India is about to celebrate Victory day -- but what is there really to celebrate? Who is to blame for continued tensions between the two countries? How can the years of animosity be overcome?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction


The UN is a possible forum to address such issues but not until it truly becomes a politically independent entity

Vineet Thapar, USA
Many readers here are making comments about the viability of the UN as a mediating authority. The UN would be the best mediating authority in the world under ideal circumstances. However, countries have this nasty habit called "sovereignty" in bilateral affairs. When was the last time ANY great power of the world went to the UN to solve an issue like Kashmir? Did the UK over Falklands? Has the US, ever? The UN is a possible forum to address such issues but not until it truly becomes a politically independent entity.
Vineet Thapar, USA

The conflict is much deeper than Kashmir. Kashmir is just Pakistan's way of getting even with India for the creation of Bangladesh. The actual problem lies in Pakistan's lack of self-identity. In Pakistan their entire identity is defined vis--vis India, India-bashing and convincing themselves that they deserve the same importance and place in the geopolitical hierarchy. The solution lies not in Kashmir but the actual acceptance of reality on both sides.
Manish Parwani, USA

The future of Kashmir will be as India decides. India does not have to accept external interference, Pakistani or UN. India is a sovereign country and Kashmir is an integral part of it.
Suri, Indian/ USA

India cannot be called a country. It is a collection of states and different religions and by not accepting the right of the people of Kashmir, Punjab, Tamils etc, it is forcing itself through self-destruction. Indian leaders cannot solve their problems, as they are so massive so they find escape by blaming everything on Pakistan. Pakistan knows that its security and prosperity lies in a stable India and it is a matter of common sense which Indian leaders are closing their eyes to.
Huzaifa, UAE

If the developed nations are really concerned, they should announce a ban on arms sale to Third World countries.
Raj, UK


India will never give up Kashmir and Pakistan knows this very well

Rik, UK
India will never give up Kashmir and Pakistan knows this very well. Therefore, Pakistan must accept that they will have to live without the portion of Kashmir under Indian control. If it keeps on persisting with sponsoring the militants, no one will take them seriously. If they try to keep up with India in the nuclear arms race, Pakistan will disintegrate just like the old Soviet Union with a mountain of unpaid debts.
Rik, UK

There's a lot of mistrust between Hindus and Muslims in the subcontinent. They attribute every atrocity executed by an Hindu as Hinduism and by a Muslim as Islamism. Frankly, no religion is perfect. Lack of development as a whole is creating a big mess. If the subcontinent has to be improved there's only one solution - educate people and crack corruption.
Narendra, India

Can someone please explain to us why these two countries can't ask the UN to resolve the Kasmir problem???
Ronald Denman, USA

India should gladly give up Kashmir with a rider to kick all Muslims out of India.
Dwarak, USA

This is a dream that will never come true.
Azhar Riaz, USA

The rivalry between the two nations speaks of their failure to reconcile with each other's identity. India has failed to recognise Pakistan as a democratic manifestation of the Indian Muslim's will. Pakistan has failed to accept India as the country from whose womb it emerged, and with which it will always have strong cultural and historic links. The solution then, should be an ideological reconciliation between the two states. Kashmir must be either made independent or her fate decided on the basis of a plebiscite. At the same time an All India Confederation of States should be created.
Faisal Aziz, Pakistan

A rogue nation like Pakistan should be prevented from building up arms before it becomes another Iraq.
B, USA


Unification of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh into a single, secular and democratic country

Sushrut Vaidya, USA
Unification of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh into a single, secular and democratic country along with at least 80% literacy rates in all these countries is the only solution to this problem. Education of the masses will make the people of the subcontinent realise they are really the same people and much better as a single nation.
Sushrut Vaidya, USA

The problem of Kashmir has nothing to do with Kashmir. It is primarily Pakistan's search for an identity and India's anxiety to integrate its 130 million Muslims
Rajagopalan, Denmark

It's very easy to sit in some other part of India, and say that Kashmiris should accept India as their "own" country, but if you were to experience what a Kashmiri Muslim goes through under Indian military rule, you would feel a little different.
Amjad Ali-Khan, USA/India

Kashmir is integral part of India. India will never let any foreign country to occupy its land. Pakistan is a rogue state. I don't know why Muslims love terrorism. Can anyone name any Muslim country/ state, which is not involved in some kind of violence? No one can because there is none.
Kumar, USA

Neither Pakistan nor India is actually responsible for this sort of arms race. It is a simple secret that the developed countries wanted both India and Pakistan to become part of that immature Cold War. Thus the developed countries forced a situation in which the Indian and Pakistani natural rivalry could be exploited to the fullest extend. Now that the Cold War is over, the people who were the cause of all these things are making noise. Both India and Pakistan should understand this trap and start building their economy, and avoid such exploitation in future.
Simson Gnanam, USA


The conflict between India and Pakistanis not over Kashmir - it is between Hinduism and Islam

Aijaz Malik, Canada
The conflict between India and Pakistanis not over Kashmir - it is between Hinduism and Islam. Therefore, religion is the root cause of the conflict. There will always be conflict between these two nations as long there are Hindus in India.
Aijaz Malik, Canada

Pakistan will clearly be doing itself no favours if it continues to pursue its policy of illegal expansionism. It can already stake a claim to semi-pariahship. India is happy to extend the hand of friendship to its North-western neighbour, the only prerequisite being a swift return to democratic norms with the resulting enhancement of regional stability.
Rahul Mahajan, UK

I do not for see a downward trend in the weapon build-up between India and Pakistan. Neither of the two nations actually wants to draw a line where it stops. Foreign intervention is based upon the foreign nation's policies, and at the moment it's pretty obvious that they don't care two hoots about the situation.
Sir Stoner, USA

The only solution is to reunite India and Pakistan as it was on 13th August 1947. The two-nation theory based on Hindu-Muslim was and is absolutely bogus.
Tariq Mahmood, UK

Some other things that should be taken into account. Firstly, if India gives up its part of Kashmir, it will be strategically cut off in the region - it will be surrounded by "enemies" on all sides. Secondly, how can Pakistan which has huge debts, justify the arms race? India has never attacked Pakistan? Finally, how would Pakistan like it if Indian militants invaded Karachi????
S. Bassi, UK


India should stop playing big brother with its neighbour and concentrate on its own problems

Russell, Sweden
India should stop playing big brother with its neighbour and concentrate on its own problems. The Kashmir issue should be resolved by a third party like the UN, then there is no need for India or Pakistan to be involved.
Russell, Sweden

I think if you see the animosity between the two countries in true perspective then there is hardly any issue except Kashmir, which is disputed and recognised by all international forums. Let us solve it and I think policy makers in both countries will have a much-weakened case for keeping large armies.
Zulfiqar Butt, Pakistan

If the financial interest of arms sales persists, then there is no possibility of halting the arms race.
Bakht Baidar, France

The real question is not can but rather "how" to stop the arms race between these two closely related countries. Neither nation, with their burgeoning populations and lumbering financial positions can afford the needless luxury of an unwanted arms race.
K. Parameswaran, India

One should question what perpetuates the conflict. Is it merely history or the need to make Kashmir a part of either country? If the people had a decent lifestyle (food, education, job security), I wonder if this would ever be an issue?
Rahul, USA

The arms race between Pakistan and India can only be stopped if the core issue of Kashmir is solved in accordance with the wishes of the people of Kashmir. The Indians should realize that if the "fire" in Kashmir continues to burn, it will spread across India and lead to a much broader disintegration of the country similar to that of their long-time friend, the former Soviet Union. The Indians have to get out of Kashmir and stop being the bully of the region.
Refaat, USA


A militarily strong India is necessary to protect citizens and foreigners from internal and external threats

Ashish, India
It must be kept in mind that economic growth is THE priority in India. A militarily strong India is necessary to protect citizens and foreigners from internal and external threats. It is also imperative that those citizens and foreigners voicing their concerns through democratic and legal means are not ignored even as demands of terrorists and bully nations are acceded to.
Ashish, India

Let the people of Kashmir decide what they want. The most unfortunate part is that neither the US nor UK is really interested in solving this matter. The second worst tragedy in this whole episode is that the media is onesided when it comes to atrocities against the Muslims.
Kamal Mahmud, USA

Pakistan attacked India 3 times so it's India who has been victimised. We are just defending ourselves and Kashmir is legally ours.
Prashant Gupta, India

Kashmir is the bone of contention between India and Pakistan. Unless the problem is solved according to the wishes of the people of Kashmir, the arms race in South Asia will accelerate. There is no doubt in my mind it could escalate to a nuclear war - a war no one can win.
Mo Akhtar, Canada

The only solution to India and Pakistan tension is to give the Kashmiri people the right to choose their own government.
Shahid Iqbal, USA

Hindu leaders of India have always believed in the philosophy of "Greater India" and to become a regional power. If it continues to do so by expanding its arsenal of both nuclear and conventional forces, it doesn't leave much choice for its neighbours but to follow suit and do the same.
Syed Fuad, USA

The arms race between India and Pakistan can be stopped if there is a will to do so. For the time being the issue of Kashmir should be kept aside and both the countries should focus on working towards literacy , health services, employment and an overall economic development and once this is achieved the other issues can be resolved amicably. An arms race is going to benefit none but the arms manufacturers.
M, India/UK


Pakistan has to get over the inferiority complex and Indian politicians should stop pandering to the minority for votes

Ganesh Sunararajan, Canada
Pakistan has to get over the inferiority complex and Indian politicians should stop pandering to the minority for votes. Pandering to minority by politicians leads to resentment by the majority, which takes in shape of arming themselves against the country that says it represents the minority. Pakistan with its inferiority complex is fighting an un-winnable battle against India and in the process ruining itself and slipping into an abyss. Hopefully better sense prevails and the only race that would happen is in improving the quality of life of its citizens.
Ganesh Sunararajan, Canada

Solution: I guess there is no point in looking for a solution here. Since India being the democracy. It is in the well being of Kashmir that it stick with India and India for its part should give greater autonomy and promote economic growth in this state.
Ravi Gurram, USA

India-Pakistan relations are at the worst since their independence. It is mainly due to big power politics and feeling of insecurity. Both countries are fighting for their belief, democracy for secularism for India and Islam for Pakistan. In this tussle Kashmir is seen as a prize for their struggle. Pakistan should realise that it's religion based politics do not work and even if it succeeds it only lead to self-destruction (e.g. Bangladesh). A full-stop to violence is a pre-requisite for any meaningful talks between India and Pakistan.
Srinivas, UK


The whole issue is created by India because the India is not accepting the United Nation resolution's

Burhan Arshad, Pakistan
In my view the whole issue is created by India because the India is not accepting the United Nation resolution's. If the India simply act upon the UN resolution's this issue can be solved by asking the opinion of Kashmiri people only then the tension between Pakistan and India can be removed.
Burhan Arshad, Pakistan

Pakistan should stop calling the militants religious fighters, fighting for their Muslim brothers against Hindu rule, and thus justifying it's military support. India as promised, should allow Kashmir to decide it's future, but not before moving the displaced Kashmiri Hindu's back home. Let some sense prevail over religious hatred.
Jee, India

Pakistan can certainly not afford to get involved in an arms race with India, but it has a right to defend itself as it has done win the three past conflicts with India. The Pakistanis know this and it has only been a response to Indian actions such as when India first tested a nuclear device and ballistic missiles. Pakistan only tested its nuclear weapons after India had done so. Every country has a right to defend itself.
Yasser Hussain, UK

The arms race in the world was not started by either India or Pakistan. Also the arms race in south Asia is not because of India. All sane and peace loving people of this world should try to solve these problems instead of trying to find solutions to those problems which do not exist.
Ambrish K Bhardwaj, India

Until the status of Kashmir is finalised there can be no peace in the region, therefore arms build-up will continue. India has her head in the sand and thinks by ignoring Kashmir the problem will go away. There can be no solution unless both sides agree there is a problem (i.e. Kashmir) which India refuses to accept. Third party mediation is needed, once the Kashmir dispute is settled according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people, the arms race will go away too.
Osman, USA

It's unnecessary to spend so much money by two countries which are poor. So the outside world should compare the difference and never let an aggressor with military government get the same respect as a democratic and secular country.
Anton Sureshkumar, Sri Lanka


Pakistan should respect the fact that Kashmir is/was an integral part of India

Manesh, Norway
It is high time for peace in the Kashmir Valley. But the biggest probelm will be the 'blind' claims by the military rulers in Pakistan for this land. Pakistan should respect the fact that Kashmir is/was an integral part of India.They also should stop supporting the militant activities in the state, before sitting face to face for discussions.
Manesh, Norway

In response to John in the UK, it makes little sense to have a referendum in Kashmir when the politics of the state is hi-jacked by militant groups. Also, both sides of the Line of Control are heavily manned by Indian and Pakistani troops. Even if these troops were to leave, there still remains the militants, most of whom are Pakistani nationals trained in Afghanistan.
Pradhan, UK

India is celebrating "Victory" day? The entire might of the Indian armed forces were unable to remove no more than 500 fighters. It was also left to Clinton to tighten the screw. Reports I have read on CNN reports thousands upon thousands of Indian soldiers met their maker as a result of this conflict, with a few brave men who were sold out by their political leaders. India should be mourning the dead soldiers and thinking of the families of these people rather than parading around pretending they won that particular tussle. The fact that 500 of our men with NO support from the rest of our armed forces took on India with such impunity should fill every Indian with terror. An all out conventional war may prove a different ballgame.
Masood Sharif, UK


Both nations must realise that guns cannot make them great or provide total security

Shaun Mathew Zachariah, USA
The present conflict correlates to past events that marred relations between the two countries. Both must halt the blame-game and seek a solution. Pakistan must give up its separatist-provoking designs and India must do more to bring peace into the Kashmir valley. The real obstacles in the path of peace are the extremists and political power mongers of both nations who have vested interests in keeping the flames of hate burning. Both nations must realise that guns cannot make them great or provide total security. Guns cannot solve problems. The leaders of both nations must rise beyond the archaic mentalities of old and embark on a new philosophy for the region - the philosophy of peace.
Shaun Mathew Zachariah, USA

The arms race will continue as long as Pakistan exists. The need to have economic, political, and military parity with India is so deeply rooted in the Pakistani psyche that the country's state mechanism has not functioned correctly since it came into existence. While India has grabbed the world's attention through its exploding information technology industry, Pakistan lives on alms.
Haru, USA

All problems can be solved if India lets the issue of Kashmir go to the United Nations.
Shahzad, USA

The issue of war between these two states depends solely on Kashmir. In a modern, democratic world of high technology and business, India cannot afford to oppress a whole people.
Asad Sadiq, United Kingdom

Until the power hungry military is curtailed in Pakistan, there is no way the two neighbouring countries can enjoy peace. All efforts by civilian governments are in vain every time the military returns (after short breaks). The Pakistan army has learned dirty tricks from politicians to fool the general public through various excuses in order to gain their favour. It is time for the Pakistani people to wake up and put these distracters in their proper place. Otherwise the army will only strengthen itself by taking big bites from the country's limited resources and the poor will only get poorer.
Altaf Hussain, MD, USA

Give independence to Kashmir. Neither India nor Pakistan ha the right to control Kashmir.
Joseph, USA


Kashmir can be solved, but first the tempers need to cool down. Peoples' focus needs to shift to areas of co-operation, instead of animosity

Vineet Thapar, USA
Kashmir can be solved, but first the tempers need to cool down. Peoples' focus needs to shift to areas of co-operation, instead of animosity. Despite its political correctness, a plebiscite is not necessarily the best thing because neither the Indian government, nor the militants can ensure against intimidation. Only genuine political process can bring peace to this state. For that, passion needs to give way to reason. Unfortunately, too many politicians in India as well as Pakistan have too much at stake to let that happen. Peace will elude Kashmir till the guns are there in the hands of Militants, as well as the governments of Indian and Pakistan.
Vineet Thapar, USA

India has much larger arena to look for besides Pakistan. At the same time, India should do the same to Pakistan what USA did to Russia. Pakistan cannot afford this arms race for long and will collapse on its own burden. Pakistan cannot afford to launch a nuclear attack on India. They know it very well that retaliation will be massive and those generals or mullahs will not be left to see the ruins.
Kumar, India

Kashmir has long been a PROBLEM. I don't think it can be solved, Pakistan won't let it go, India won't it give up. When such a situation is reached, there is no solution. In simple words, these two countries will keep fighting.
Ahmed, USA


There is no arms race between two countries. In fact, there is not even a comparison of quantity of arsenals

Ahsan Z Ansari, USA
There is no arms race between two countries. In fact, there is not even a comparison of quantity of arsenals between two countries. All Pakistan is doing is its best effort to avoid going under massive Indian arms umbrella. Compare almost 500,000 Indian troops only in Kashmir to total Pakistan army which barely reaches this number. There is no comparison!
Ahsan Z Ansari, USA

Until Pakistan stops acting as a sole saviour of the world Muslims in front of the outside world and it adopts India independent policies, this arms race will continue, and both countries will loose their vital resources.
Kavitha D, USA/Indian

Democracy in Pakistan has nothing to with the wishes of Kashmiri people, like me whose grandfather kept dreaming going back to his homeland where he was forced to leave by fanatic Indians in 1948. It is so simple to let Kashmiris decide their own future but then we all know what they want and India knows it well. India needs to leave Kashmir gracefully while it can or it will be forced to leave.
Tariq Khan USA


The arms race between India and Pakistan will stop, only when Pakistan stops sponsoring terrorism in Kashmir

Anand D, India
The arms race between India and Pakistan will stop, only when Pakistan stops sponsoring terrorism in Kashmir. Peaceful talks should resume immediately between the two countries, and the Pakistan military should be involved too, as they seem to be in charge anyway. The best solution is to convert the Line of Control to a permanent border, and take confidence building measures, to de-escalate the tension.
Anand D, India

I think when Kashmiri's are given the right of self-determination by India, only then would there be peace on the subcontinent. That will start an era of true progress for 1.4 billion people, many of whom don't even have basic utilities in life.
Irfan Cheema, USA

Both Pakistan and India are strong enough with their nuclear weapons to defend their portions of Kashmir, so I don't believe either of them will win the whole Kashmir. So fighting wars over Kashmir both countries would loose interns of lives, financially and economically. India has intentions to be a world power so it is developing weapons. But Pakistan can't just rest, because if India gets too strong then it won't be able to defend itself. So developing arms is important for Pakistan to some extent..
Arif Joarder, Bangladesh


India is denying the people of Kashmir the basic right of voting to determine if the wants to live with India

Daniyal, USA
In order to stop the arms race between the two countries, we first have to pin point the actual cause of confrontation. The cause is KASHMIR, and India, as it claims to be the biggest democracy in the world, yet denying the people of Kashmir the freedom of vote or plebiscite if they want to live with India or not. And obviously the people of Kashmir do not want to live with India. I fail to understand why India is so afraid of voting in Kashmir. India is denying the people of Kashmir the basic right of voting to determine if the wants to live with India, which is totally against a democratic rule, yet claimed to be a democratic country?
Daniyal, USA

Firstly, it is necessary to restore democratic rule in Pakistan. Next, set up an international commission to work out a power sharing agreement over the future of Kashmir. Let the people of Kashmir vote for their chosen representatives (like the Good Friday agreement in Northern Ireland) and then India and Pakistan can live peacefully as neighbours and address their real economic and social needs.
John, UK

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