No war no peace is a term used to describe a situation where there is no formal declaration of war between two states, but also there is no lasting peace. This state of affairs is often characterized by sporadic violence, mistrust and suspicion between the two sides.
It’s very hard to believe that we are living in one of the peaceful periods of human history. In the near past history both homicide and genocide have been observed. After the ancient warfare techniques, the history has observed WW1 and WW2 and then the civil wars and cold war era which resulted a huge mass destruction and demographic changes. After cold war such measures were taken by IGOs, NGOs and domestic government which leads to the decline of death rate resulted by war.
But there is a dark side of the story many societies are apparently seems to be in peace but in reality, they are far from being peaceful. They are facing sporadic violence which leads to huge number of causalities and have vanished the peace of that society. The bilateral relations between India and Pakistan are portraying such scenario. Since the independence of both countries from British rules in 1947, they are thirsty of each other’s blood and they don’t ever lose the opportunity to degrade the opponent. Both countries share linguistic, cultural, geographic, and economic links, yet their relation has been mired in complexity due to a number of historical and political events. The two countries have fought three major wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971 and numerous small skirmishes since then, but not have been able to resolve their core issues.
There are numerous issues which have been converted one of the prosperous and resourced enriched landmasses into a battlefield. The first and most significant factor of conflict between Pakistan and India is the long-standing territorial dispute over the region of Kashmir. Both countries claim the entire territory of Kashmir but control different parts of it. The issue dates back to the purchasing of land along with Kashmiri people by Maharaja of Kashmir from British colonizers, in the treaty of Amritsar in 1846. And then the partition of British India in 1947 and formation of two new countries India and Pakistan has resulted in several wars and skirmishes between the two countries.
Secondly the cross-border terrorism is also the prominent factor to cause separation of Pakistan and India. Both the countries share about 2900KM long border which was called ceasefire line before 1971 war, after negotiation in the Shimla conference between Indian PM Indira Gandhi and Pakistani counter PM Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto it was renamed as “line of control”. Despite agreement and discussion of facilitation toward peace the cross-border firing is still occurred occasionally between the two country’s armed forces. In addition to this both countries are accusing each other for supporting terrorist attacks by militants like the Mumbai suicide attacks in 2008 which led to about 160 causalities and the responsibility was claimed by LeT a Pakistani based militant group. Moreover, the one non forgettable terrorist attack “the Pulwama attack” in 14 February 2019 in the Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir area which leads to about 40 causalities was claimed by JeM a Pakistani based militant group.
On the other side Pakistan is accusing India for being actively involved in conspiracies to destabilize Pakistan, crippled them in terrorism and counterterrorism activities to take them far away from their goals. According to Pakistanis point of views After the fall of the Taliban, RAW started using Afghan soil in close coordination with the National Directorate of Security (NDS) to carryout terrorist activities inside Pakistan. India started funding and arming banned outfits like TTP, JuH, and Baloch proxies for terrorism in FATA, KP and Baluchistan. With CPEC, India stepped up its activities and started fueling insurgency from its consulates at Jalalabad Kandahar, Herat in Afghanistan and Zahidan in Iran. The prominent example of terrorism by India across Pakistan is the arrest of Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former officer of the Indian Navy, sources say that he was operating as a covert operative of the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and he was actively involved in terrorist activities and planning to destabilize the province of Baluchistan.
In addition to these the water issue is also one of the main factors to enhance the conflict. Pakistan and India share several rivers, including the Indus River and its tributaries, which are vital for the water supply and agricultural needs of both countries. Water sharing and distribution have been a contentious issue, with Pakistan accusing India of building dams and water diversion projects that affect its water supply also in they accuse India that they are opening their dams in monsoon season which causes floods in Pakistan. Both the countries have signed the Indus water treaty agreement in 1960 to resolve the issue but all in vain.
These all issues are the drivers which leads Pakistan and India relationship toward hostility and make their mindset to take revenge from their rivals in any possible way. Despite the ongoing tensions, Pakistan and India have made periodic attempts at diplomatic engagement to address their differences. Various peace initiatives, such as the Shimla Agreement in 1972 and the Lahore Declaration in 1999, have provided brief glimpses of hope. However, the failure to sustain the momentum of these efforts has led to a pattern of “no war no peace situation.”
To come out from such situation Pakistan and India should learn an important lesson that “There is so much to lose from war — money, men, or essential humanity. And there is so much to gain from peace — human development, security, our long-lost kindness and care.” This strategy has been adopted by Netherland and Austria, the Arsenal Palace in Vienna (the capital of Austria), which has now been turned into a war museum, the caption ‘Krieg Gehrt ins museum’, which translates to ‘War belongs in a museum is written on the top of the wall. A thousand kilometers away, in southern Netherlands, War Museum Overloon has also adopted the motto: ‘War belongs in a museum’, depicting the history of the Second World War, in which 50 million lives were lost. Austria and The Netherlands were on opposite sides in the Second World War. However, both have reached the same conclusion — that war belongs in a museum, that peace is far more precious than victory over the rival.
The “no war, no peace” relationship between Pakistan and India is a complex and multi-faceted issue that has endured for decades. It is fueled by historical grievances, territorial disputes, cross-border terrorism, and domestic political considerations. Breaking free from this cycle requires bold and visionary leadership from both countries, along with a recognition of the mutual benefits of peace and stability. Only through sustained dialogue, confidence-building measures, and a genuine desire for reconciliation can Pakistan and India move towards a more peaceful and cooperative future.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent any official stance.