Millennium Post

Larger perspective

Larger perspective

India has peculiar relations with its neighbours and that with China and Pakistan in particular is characterised by the historically disputed region of Kashmir which is a major national security issue for both India and Pakistan. Sectarian divisions and political ideology have largely coloured the conflict in the northern region but with a long-term vision, Kashmir is important to the prominent Asian countries surrounding it for its geography beyond its territorial and strategic significance. The glaciers of this region provide water and electricity to a billion people in India and Pakistan too relies heavily on these glacial waters flowing from the region as its agricultural sector is dependent on it. While Pakistan fears that India may divert water necessary for irrigation, and use water as a weapon against Pakistan, water as a component of external affairs assumes greater importance in modern times. The fact that China and Kashmir figure in the India-Japan exchange and that Japan is admittedly looking at the situation in Kashmir "carefully" and hope 'for a "peaceful resolution" of the issue through dialogue', understanding water as a possible weapon of war is crucial in shaping India's diplomatic standpoint and interest in the future. Now, with strategic stakes being secondary to military interests, developing relations with a larger perspective of statecraft and sustainability has come to acquire greater significance. With respect to the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh which China claims as its own, japan considers the issue "very carefully" in view of the "current status of that area". Given that Japan is interested in development projects in the Northeast as a whole, the road block of a difficult China remains a looming concern. Japan's popular Bullet Train project in India that aims to connect Mumbai and Ahmedabad seems to have taken a back seat in the wake of political development in the Maharashtra following the just-concluded elections. Local developments greatly impact bigger developments and for greater ambitions, it is imperative that the playfield is clear of disputes and disagreements.

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