Futures of India, Pakistan interlinked: Najib Jung
* Jamia Millia Islamia VC says India, Pakistan have no option but to be friends
ISLAMABAD: A shared future of prosperity lies ahead of us in Indo-Pak relations, said Professor Najeeb Jung, vice chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi.
He was speaking at a round-table panel discussion titled ‘Indo-Pak Bilateral Relations and India's Search for Balance’, organised by the Jinnah Institute. “Despite a checkered past, India’s future is linked to Pakistan’s future, and most of India wants peace with Pakistan,” he emphasised in his lecture before a group of policy experts. He said there was a pressing need for a “more extensive” exchange of students, academics, journalists and civil servants between the two countries. Prof Jung spoke about the status of religious minorities in India, particularly the Indian Muslims, and explained that his country’s economic growth had not compromised democratic pluralism. Jung has been invited as part of Jinnah Institute’s Distinguished Speaker Series, an Indo-Pak Track-II initiative.
Dr Ajay Behera, coordinator for Pakistan Studies Programme at Jamia Millia Islamia, stressed the need for taking practical steps that could bring the people from both the countries closer. He lamented that the existing memorandums of understanding (MoUs) between Indian and Pakistani universities were non-functional. He also pointed out the limitations within which peace constituencies could work in both countries. He acknowledged that both India and Pakistan had a youth dividend to capitalise on, and that the future economies of both the countries depended on that constituency. Jinnah Institute Executive Director Ejaz Haider acknowledged that there was a dearth of Indian experts on Pakistan, and vice versa. Haider appreciated how the distinguished speakers helped “bridge this asymmetry of understanding”, and opined that peace movements in India and Pakistan were unable to rise vertically. During the question-answer session, the participants posed queries regarding the issues of water, terrorism, and climate change. The Gujral doctrine, sub-regionalisation in the Indian Subcontinent, and India’s relations with the US and China also came under discussion. Prof. Jung dealt with the local, bilateral, and global aspects of the questions posed in the interactive session, and offered suggestions and solutions from his own experience as an Indian Muslim, a former bureaucrat, and an academic policymaker.