The Two Koreas, India and Pakistan: Similarities and Differences
By Kashmir reader
June 10, 2018
In our school days, as they might be doing still, we used to draw a line vertically downward from the top to divide a page into two halves in order to answer some questions. Then we would write the similarities and differences of various topics in a point wise manner to make the answer easy and understandable. The topic chosen today can be written in that same way. These are two major conflicts in the world, two nuclear flash points, where there are similarities and difference between these.
Nonetheless, it is not about the way how the topic is written or presented to the world rather the more important thing is to give an authentic account of these two disputes and the threats that come from their continuance to the regions in which they exist and to the world, at large. Their impacts and implications on the world peace, and the ways how they can best be resolved to eliminate the threats to the existence of the human species on the planet earth.
The history of these two disputes is somewhat similar in that both the conflicts involve countries which were united previously and got divided at some point in their history. The causes of divisions were different in both the cases. In case of Korea the division into North and South Korea occurred in the year 1945 after the end of the Second World War, the regions South of the 38th Parallel were occupied by the United States of America and those to the North of this Parallel by the Soviet Union. After the establishments of People’s Republic of South Korea and the Democratic Republic of North Korea the former was supported by the United States and the latter by the Soviets
Since then, the two sides are independent countries and the relations between the two have remained mostly hostile. With the emergence of nuclear weapons in the scene and with becoming the North Korea a nuclear weapons possessing state, it is a major threat to the peace of the world and the existence of the world, in a sense, because there is every possibility of bigger powers getting involved in case there is a war between these two countries, the war could prove devastating for the entire world.
Another fact about these two countries is that the economy of the South Koreas has flourished but that of North Korea has remained under developed. Or , it can be said that the economy of the latter country is not allowed to grow due to the consistent and persistent sanctions by the major capitalist countries of the world under the leaderships of the United States. In case of the South Korea there is full cooperation and help of the capitalist world to make her prosperous. Hence, there is progress, prosperity and plentitude on the Southern side of the 38th parallel and poverty and destitution, and lack of essential commodities on the Northern side of this parallel. Amidst all this the relations between the two Koreas are mostly hostile and there are threats of attacks on each other or even minor attacks are launched against each other.
Encouragingly, the recent talks between the South and the North Korea gave a glimmer of hope that peace be dawn on Korean peninsula. It is a hope which could be viewed as a path finder to resolve other disputes of the world including the disputes between India and Pakistan. After the North and South Korea talks and declaration there are voices in the subcontinent which demand that similar peace talks should be held between India and Pakistan. The scheduled meeting of the North Korean leader and the President Trump of the United States brings further hopes to the fore.
Coming to emergence of India and Pakistan as independent countries on the world stage, it was purely religion and ideology based division which occurred in the same decade in which the South and North Korea were created as independent countries. About the conflict and conflicts between India and Pakistan it can be safely said that there is a difference. The difference is that the besides all the threats and counter threats there has been only one war in the year 1950 where other countries got involved but in respect of the India and Pakistan, they have fought more or less four wars so far. In all the wars, the unresolved Kashmir dispute was the major deciding factor, or even the only factor. It is this dispute which keeps these two countries on tenterhooks and there remains a possibility of war between them anytime and every time.
If we put Kashmir dispute, and the wars and hostilities on account of this dispute, out of the equation for argument’s sake, the relations between these two countries can be states as peaceful. The great losses to life and resources of these two countries have taken place, and continue to take place, mostly because of the unresolved Kashmir dispute.
So, considering the impacts of the partition, it can be said that this division is a painful episode of the history of the Indian Subcontinent as is the story with the division of the Korean Peninsula. These divisions have dent and are persistently denting these countries economically and also in terms of the human losses. However, the losses of humans in respect of India and Pakistan are more in the last three decades. In the Korean conflict there are human sufferings on the side of North Korea mainly due to poverty and lack of essential commodities caused by the persistent international sanctions.
In the dispute between India and Pakistan though both the countries are suffering economically but the people of Kashmir are bearing the brunt of the major human losses. During the last three decades especially there have taken place the deaths of thousands and thousands of the people. Not a single day passes when there is no loss of life, or any other loss, because of the unresolved nature of this dispute.
Kashmir, in fact, has turned into a testing laboratory for both the countries to test their armaments and military might. The life of Kashmiris seems of no worth and no consideration to the people in power in both the countries. It is always expected from their leaders, especially when they claim them as the democratically elected representatives of the people, to resolve these areas of contention to provide great relief to their people but in practice nothing of that sort is witnessed. They seem content with the continuance of the dispute and the losses.
When the dictator of North Korea, as the leader of this country is described by many, could take a lead and work for the peace why cannot the democratically elected leaders of the subcontinent do so? Why can’t there be peace initiatives from two democratic countries of the world? Why no serous thoughts are invested towards the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and their plight? They are dying and suffering daily, they too have the right to live and live peacefully. Why they are always forced to live under persistent hostilities? Why worst human rights violations are allowed to be committed in this region? Why Kashmir dispute is allowed to be a threat to the entire world order? Can’t it be made as an area of peace and cooperation between the two countries, in fact three countries of the region? It can be achieved if the rulers of these countries wish so, and take concrete steps towards that direction.
These is no dispute which cannot be resolved if the leaders show will and wisdom alongwith the sense of accommodation of each other’s points of views. They should be sincere in their endeavors. It should not be only to gain upper hand in the domestic politics but to work towards the betterment of human race in general and the people of these two countries in particular.
The distractors in these two countries and those who lie beyond the borders of these two countries never want peace between them. But that is not the reason to stop all peace initiatives. The public centric leaders of these countries should try their utmost to defeat the detractors and the enemies of peace and people. Unfortunately it seems that it is the same very detractors who rule the roost and who decide the policy decisions of these two countries. They mould their foreign policies as they want to mould them. The people centric leaders have already been declared as antinational.
Nevertheless, humanity has moved much ahead. It has seen all things and all the destructions. Now it is time for it to work for peace and there is no other option if the sustenance of human species is to be ensured. Today Koreas are working for peace. They should be appreciated and supported. India and Pakistan should take a leaf out of it and try to find solution to their problems making the resolution of the Kashmir dispute as a top priority. This surely would be a great service towards the people of the region and eventually of the world.
—The author can be reached at: fayaz.greatstep@gmail