Dr Imran Sardar is a researcher at the Institute of Regional Studies (Islamabad) in Pakistan. His research interests lie in analyzing conflict transition and issues related to human security from a South Asian perspective. His recent research results include Conflict Transition and Kashmir: New Perspectives and Conflict Transition between India and Pakistan.
Dr Imran Sardar:The role of international rules in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not diminishing
1. You suggest that Pakistan mainly take measures against India's violation of national law to settle its territorial disputes within the framework of international law. Is there a precedent for such mediation? How to avoid the invisible intervention of third-party countries such as China and the United States?
Pakistan has had been exposing Indian maneuvering in Kashmir since its inception. This particular India’s violation that you mentioned Pakistan is more focusing, is because of its gravity. There was no precedent in the past. There had been ceasefire violations, political, social, cultural, religious, economic, and demographic maneuverings, but the recent one, the revocation of Kashmir’s special status has no precedent. This is paving the way for the systemic installation of political and demographic hegemony in Kashmir, which is a clear violation of UN resolutions that strictly binds India not to make any territorial changes in Kashmir unless the matter is resolved through a plebiscite.
Secondly, why do we need to avoid the invisible intervention of China and the US as you mentioned? Particularly in the case of China, I would rather say that Beijing’s intervention whether visible or invisible goes in Pakistan’s favor since China is also a victim of Indian maneuvering in Kashmir. In the case of the US, in the current scenario when there is Sino-US competition is unfolding, and India-US relations are strengthening, the US intervention perhaps neither in favor of Pakistan nor in China. Now, the question is how to avoid US intervention in the given scenario? Honestly speaking, the US is least interested in the matter of the India-Pakistan conflict, this is India that needs the US in its regional machination to gain its lost glory, yes the US needs India in its own Indo-Pacific game. So, in the India-US nexus, the US intervention is inevitable but not a potential threat as both US and India are partners but with divergent approaches and ambitions.
2.With the withdrawal of the United States from UNESCO, the Iran nuclear agreement, the Paris Agreement and other acts, how much binding force and credibility do international regulations and laws have on all countries in the world? Will international regulations become a tool for big countries to bully small countries and safeguard their interests?
Specifically, this is not the first time the US is withdrawing from UNESCO. In 1984, it withdrew in protest against UN recognition of the Soviet Union's historical site. This time, it was Palestine’s site that UNESCO recognized where the US and Israel strongly protested and stopped funding the UNESCO. So the withdrawal from UNESCO has its rational. In the case of Trumps’ unilateral withdrawal from JCPOA, it was the result of Iran-US deteriorating bilateral relations. Similarly, the US pullout from the Paris agreement was mainly because of its likely negative impact on its economy. So all these withdrawals were taken place in Trump’s era. Now, the US is coming back, it has rejoined the Paris agreement; a return to the nuclear deal is underway, and the US most probably will return to UNESCO as well. Now the question you raised has little substance in the sense as the only US in the Trump era took such bold steps, and reversing it now. Since no other country demonstrated its will in the form of unilateral withdrawal, I do not see the international regulations decline in the offing. But the question of big countries bullying the small will remain there. Nevertheless, the rise of new power centers in the world such as Asia, the monopoly of big powers will be increasingly challenged.
3. As you said, one of the reasons why the conflict between India and Pakistan is difficult to be resolved peacefully is the opposition of ultranationalists. Do you think there is an inevitable connection between extreme nationalism and extreme religion? How can the government strike a balance between appeasing domestic ultranationalists and dealing with international issues peacefully?
Yes, in the presence of ultranationalists elements, the likelihood of normalization has little chance. The conflict between India and Pakistan can be resolved peacefully if both states agree to give the trade a chance to flourish. But in the current scenario, the restoration of the autonomous status of Kashmir is a prerequisite to breaking the ice.
In the case of India, after Modi, particularly, the nexus between extreme nationalism and extreme religion has been established. Well striking a balance between ultranationalism and dealing with international issues amicably requires an extra-ordinary diplomatic effort on one hand, and statesmanship on the other. If the government itself is the part and parcel of ultranationalism, how can it bring the balance between the two poles? So, for academic consumption, an influential, and non-controversial political figure is required to fix that gap. Secondly, the development of the impoverished regions, providing them health and education, and bringing them into the mainstream economy, are those areas that can help strike the balance.
4. Extreme nationalism is spreading not only in India, but also all over the world. What negative impact will this trend of thought have on global peace and stability? What can non-state actors do to hedge their influence?
I think extreme nationalism is rising because of the failure of the state as well as the international institutions in providing timely justice, development of basic infrastructure of health, education, food security, and employment. This majoritarianism is becoming a serious threat to ethnic, and religious minorities all over the world. This trend is increasingly jeopardizing pluralistic societies. Since extreme nationalism has its deep roots in society, its influence on the states’ institutions is also deep that results in delayed, and eventually no justice to the people who belong to minority groups. People in the majority have the potential to bring the state to a standstill. It's alarming, as this threat is graver than terrorism since every country is having a sizeable minority and few countries are at a higher risk of implosion. I think this is the area where the international community should focus on. We need to activate and empower the UN to play its due role in resolving security issues on its agenda and also need to accelerate its efforts to achieve sustainable development goals. Also, this should be discussed in regional forums such as SAARC, SCO, and also raise in bilateral relationships to devise a timely strategy to deal with this issue.
Collator: Luo Jing