In time like these you need diplomats: Condoleezza Rice, on Indo-Pak conflict

Ritu Jha-


Investors are concerned about the effects of how the Indo-Pakistan conflict can affect their investments in those countries.

The point came up repeatedly at the first US-India Strategic Partnership Forum’s annual West Coast Summit, held March 4, particularly when John Chambers, Chairman US-ISPF and founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures, asked Condoleezza Rice, the former US secretary of state about India and Pakistan issue.

“In time like these you need diplomats, secretary of states, an American diplomat to go to both sides and remind both sides to calm down and not go to war,” said Rice who, as secretary of state, went to India in 2008 to ease tensions in the region after an attack by militants of Pakistani origin on the Taj Hotel and other places in Mumbai that lasted for three days and claimed 183 lives.

She pointed to the recent attack from both sides at the LoC said that passions run very high when something like this happens and yet it serves nobody.

“It is just a reminder that these flashpoints can go dormant for a long period of time, and then suddenly emerge. When there are military forces in close proximity accidents will happen,” Rice said, adding that the government on both sides have been willing to find a solution to Kashmir.

“It looks like everyone knows what the solution is going to look like but can’t quite get there,” she said. She said the US officials then had decided that they could not compel the two sides to work together unless they were willing to do it.

Mukesh Aghi, president and CEO of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum described the concern felt after the Indian Air Force attacked the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant site in Pakistan followed by an attack from the Pakistan side, and the subsequent capture of an Indian Air Force officer.

Aghi told indica, “The US played a very pivot role in deescalating the issue.” He said it played an important role in returning the pilot, and said this was a good sign of the US-India partnership.

As far as business went, he said it called for stability and predictability, But he said the sustained tension was a result of long-term problems emanating from Pakistan while India held off for the last 20 years.

Aghi said US-ISPF welcomed a deescalation but said that if the conflict continued it could affect Pakistan’s near-bankrupt economy more than India’s far stronger one.

Twenty years ago, he said, per capita GDP of Pakistan was higher ($465.08 vs India’s $437.59), and today India’s GDP is 23 percent higher ($1,939.61 vs Pakistan’s $1,547.85 in 2017), so the game has shifted.

“I think Pakistan realizes that,” Aghi said

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