Balancing on a Warhead

Flags_of_India_and_PakistanNuclear powers Pakistan and India maintain a tense rivalry.

by Mahendra Ved

It would be difficult to find two other neighbors on this planet who have so much in common — history, culture, languages, customs, millions of divided families — and yet have fought four wars and continue to fire at each other.

In dialogue between them, there is little talking to; it is mostly talking at. The distrust at the level of their governments often spills over to individuals and organizations within the nations. It is evident at international conferences and meetings in other countries. Both “India bashing” and “Pakistan bashing” come forth to the amusement and irritation of others.

The relationship is perennially prickly and turns hostile at the slightest provocation. And after the provocative actions or words have faded, return to a semblance of normalcy takes a long time. These tense periods are only peppered by phases of relative peace. The generational changes have not removed old prejudices or grievances, and terrorism has added to the long list. While individuals may forgive and forget if they meet in neutral environments, collectively, the mutual distrust persists.

The year 2012 had ended with …

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