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Library / The Indus II and Siachen Peace Park: Pushing the I...
Source: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs , 2009
Author(s): Ashok Swain
Countries: India, Pakistan
Topics: Conflict Prevention, Cooperation, Governance, Land
The peace process between India and Pakistan, which started in 2000, moved very slowly before coming to a standstill following the terror attack on Mumbai in November 2008. This article argues that both these two South Asian neighbours need to focus on new areas of bilateral cooperation, which might help them to build mutual trust and provide much-needed impetus to bring peace in the region. The Indus River Agreement of 1960 between India and Pakistan, with its only focus on water sharing, has not been able to generate positive spin-off effects. If both the countries agree to renegotiate the Indus Agreement into an integrated river basin management mechanism, the benefit-sharing might have other peace-enhancing effects and can contribute to bilateral cooperation in other areas. Besides renegotiating the Indus Treaty, both India and Pakistan may also opt for another resource-based conflict management strategy in their tense border areas. For a quarter of a century, both these countries have been involved in an armed conflict to gain control of the Siachen glacier. If they decide to covert this disputed area as a Peace Park, it may provide an excellent exit strategy for both the armed forces—and the local people will support this move as it will give a boost to eco-tourism in the area. India and Pakistan, by establishing a Peace Park in Siachen and forming a basin-based river management institution on the Indus River, can reduce their trust deficit, which will help them to address their other long-standing bilateral contentious issues.