According to the Shimla Agreement signed in 1972 between India and Pakistan, the Kashmir issue was to be solved bilaterally, without involving a third party. However, Pakistan seems to always forget that, and has time and again raised issues over Kashmir in the United Nations General Assembly and other international organizations. India every time has to remind Pakistan and the international organizations that Kashmir is a bilateral issue following the terms of the Shimla Agreement.
Every year at almost every international platform, Pakistan raked up the Kashmir issue since the signing of the 1972 Shimla Agreement. India has abided by the Accord and has never raised the issue on international platforms. On the contrary, India has always tried to reach an agreement with Pakistan over the Kashmir issue and has initiated dialogues and round table conferences to solve the issue. However, Pakistan’s state-sponsored terrorism led to a temporary halt in dialogues in 2019. Like Pakistan, India could have raised the known fact that a big chunk of Kashmir is illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan. According to the Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh, the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir including Ladakh union territory and Pakistan occupied part is a part of India. Pakistan, right from independence has been the occupier and India has always maintained that Pakistani troops should vacate the occupied part of Jammu and Kashmir.
Many sovereign countries and international organizations have maintained that a referendum should decide the fate of Jammu and Kashmir, whether it would join India or Pakistan or remain independent. The third option is considered practically impossible as Kashmir is a mountainous country, with limited resources and is surrounded by three nuclear giants looking to occupy it. The referendum was a good option in the early stages of the conflict. However, to conduct a referendum, the prior event was that Pakistan had to withdraw its troops from Kashmir, which it never did. After 75 years, the referendum is hardly meaningful when Pakistan abolished the state subject rule in 1971 and made widespread demographic changes in the territory it occupies. Bilateral talk remains the one and only way to solve the dispute peacefully, which the rulers of Pakistan are never understanding.
Of late, India’s secretary at the United Nations General Assembly, Sneha Dubey, lashed out at Pakistan for harboring terrorists and inciting violence in the Kashmir region of India. She reminded the world that while championing its cause for Kashmir, Pakistan commits gross human rights violations and genocide against religious minorities and people of the part of Kashmir it occupies. She also urged Pakistan to respect the territorial integrity of India and vacate from the region it occupies.
While the US prepared their exit by 9th September 2021, the Taliban rose to become the dominant political and military power in Afghanistan. After capturing Herat in the extreme west, the Taliban proceeded rapidly towards the east, where the bigger cities like Kabul and Kandahar are located.
This is not the first time the Taliban has risen to power following an unstable Government in power in Kabul. In 1995, a civil war started in Afghanistan, following which the Taliban rose to power. After a failed attempt, the Taliban established their base at Herat on the western part of the country, and again launched an offensive to Kabul. Kabul fell in 1996 and Afghanistan passed into the hands of the Taliban. The siege was only for 5 years, but it resulted in Afghanistan’s economy rolling back at least 25 years.
Mass destruction, killing and raping of women, and blowing up of archaeological monuments are features of the Taliban regime. US troops gradually repealed the Taliban from 2001 onwards and took up Kabul. However, they could not completely wipe out Taliban leadership and ideology and it soon gained momentum in remote parts of the country. Though the Taliban were a nightmare for the women, Taliban support still built up on a large scale across the remote regions. The US alleged that Pakistan sponsored the Taliban providing them shelter in Quetta.
Several countries like India, Afghanistan Government, the US, Russia alleged that Pakistan is a safe haven for terrorist organizations. The allegations were proved right when Osama-bin-Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 US bombardment attacks was found and killed in Pakistan. For a brief period, the progress of Al-Qaeda and Taliban were overshadowed by the rapid progress of ISIS in Syria, Iraq, and their suicidal attacks in other parts of the world. Heavy bombardment by the US, Russia and other world superpowers ensured that ISIS didn’t last long. While the world helped Syria and Iraq wipe out ISIS, the US was making peace talks with the Taliban to ensure peace in Afghanistan. After the fall of ISIS, the Taliban still held their ground with military and finance aid from neighbouring countries that allegedly include Pakistan.
Things took a decisive turn as US President Joe Biden ordered the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by 11th September, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The US made a peace deal with the Taliban, where mutual peace and unity between Afghanistan Government controlled areas and Taliban controlled areas were signed. However, as soon as the withdrawal of US troops started, the Taliban started capturing one city after another in bitter street fighting. Within 3-4 weeks, the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, the southern city of Kandahar, the western city of Herat was captured by Taliban forces.
The Afghan military provided almost zero resistance to the Taliban attacks, most of them switched sides taking the opportunity of lack of nationalism and leadership from the Government. Despite Joe Biden assuring that Afghanistan is self-sufficient in military power to combat any Taliban uprising, the reality shows a completely different picture. Covering almost the entire Afghanistan, the Taliban now attacked Kabul from all sides. The Afghanistan President, Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul on the night of siege and took refuge in either Tajikistan or Uzbekistan. Street fighting started in Kabul but there was hardly anyone loyal to the Afghanistan Government and most has switched sides. Kabul passed into the hands of the Taliban, who now proclaimed their country as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
The fall of Kabul in August 2021, marked the beginning of a new era of Taliban rule over Afghanistan. Parts of the city, around the airport, where most of the foreign residents living in the country are escaping were spared from damage. As soon as all foreign countries finish their evacuation of citizens, entire Afghanistan will pass into the hands of the Taliban. Many Afghans want to leave the country to find shelter in other developed countries but are unprepared given how quickly the Taliban captured one city after another. While Taliban rule is a nightmare for women and minorities, they have no option other than hope that the new rule of Taliban will not be doing mass raping or ethnic cleansing and treat everyone with respect and give importance to education and growth of the economy of the war-torn country.
Peace in today’s world can very well be described as a sort of abstract utopian concept longed for, ie a common goal and state of rest. This is clearly contradicted and humiliated in today’s world with the ongoing thirst and hunger for power, territory, and capital. At the same time, development refers to a long-drawn process which can contribute towards creating growth, positive change, or simply an improvement in the physical, mental or social surroundings of any human being.
So now the crucial question which comes into mind is, “where exactly does science fit into this complex demographic?”. Science, whose nature is yet to be known and harnessed, its power unmatched, put into such a dangerous and volatile situation.
Limiting the capabilities of science to plainly its subjective attributes- physics, chemistry, biology etc. is an injustice to the core of the subject. Its scope includes the likes of social, economic, and environmental science, which are increasingly being incorporated into our daily lives and can be said to bring about tangible positive changes. For peace, science provides the greatest boon in today’s disease-stricken world in the form of medicines. Even in today’s highly sensitive virus-stricken environment, countries all over the world are able to share and discuss their individual discoveries, findings and hence contribute towards improving the world situation as a whole and henceforth try to bring about a state of rest and normalcy for all. Science furthermore opens up various new horizons for career opportunities and hence improves the employment conditions, further enabling stability to exist that can eventually contribute towards peace within a country or area. It also creates the environment needed for learning and education.
This is a beneficial effect because by improving education in a country, we improve the society for future generations. Hence, it can inculcate within them an early habit of staying in a state of peace and maintaining peace which will only be helpful in building society. Suppose I were to illustrate this argument further using an example. In that case, we can educate even five children who have been born and brought up in dire conditions; they might grow up and learn to sustain themselves by good means, in contrast to today’s scenario where many of the poverty-stricken, unemployed people, especially the youth is turning to crime or even war as seen in the northern parts of our very own country. These are the parts where the resources are so scarce and underdeveloped that the people have no choice but to try and survive of anything, desperate and needy for minimum sustenance.
Science hence if not directly, indirectly, can bring out a sure-shot habit of peace.
While at the same time, if we were to talk about the direct implications of science on bringing about peace, a prominent successful example necessary to include would be the current dealings and proceedings of the honest attempt to foster harmony between the war-stricken nations and people – the Israelis and the Palestinians.
The conflict between these two has been raging on since 1948 imply after the modern Jewish state was newly founded. It is not as though attempts haven’t been made to bring peace in these countries. on several occasions, there have been attempts to find common ground to arrive at a consensus to achieve peace and stability for peoples of both sides. These efforts even included endeavours to promote interaction, collaboration and peace-building between the two groups, but somehow always ended in hostility. There was no tangible change seen until 2002 when the IPSO, the Israeli Palestinian science organisation, was launched to bring together scientists from both sides to pursue joint projects.
The grants issued under the program require the consensus and partnership of both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Following its mission statement, the IPSO proposes to establish a model of infrastructure that promotes, creates and sustains development educations and, most importantly, the collaboration between the communities through the universal language of science using innovative projects and initiatives. Scientific research endeavours involving people working together as equal partners would produce practical results and would likewise engender personal trust and friendship between people living in the two communities. Hence improve the conditions required to attain common goals and further peace by enabling the parties to arrive at a common ground beneficial for growth and support for both.
Surprising too is the lack of awareness of institutions such as IPSO and its vision for promoting peace through collaborative interactions between Palestinian and Israeli scientists. The workings of the IPSO can be used as an important model to base future organisations and missions upon in such similar conflict-prone areas, which will eventually benefit from common associations applicable to both concerned parties with a common independent goal and indirect implication on peace.
If I was to talk about science and development, there is no doubt that these two factors go hand in hand. Without science, there can virtually be no development. In fact, one of the largest and effective strategies devised in the last century of sustainable development, which includes the idea of using resource judiciously, is the very component of earth and economic sciences.
Sustainable development in the past century has proven to be an advantageous strategy in terms of its terms for use and mission statements which include using only for our own needs and preserving enough for the coming generations for them to undergo development with exactly the same freedom present generations have been able to.
Furthermore, suppose we were to analyse the implications of the actions of ancient civilisations and colonies. They have constantly been developing themselves and their organisations using new techniques and methodology as the basis of trials and errors, which can be deduced as the first scientific experiments seen in modern civilisations. Whether it includes discoveries in the forms of new materials, technologies, etc. that have found practical application in various areas of production of economic goods that have become in common use by people, they have increased prosperity and made life easier.
This may have worked for them progressively and effectively, however recently, the norms and uses of the world with the increasing global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, increased risk of various climatic cataclysms, increased environmental pollution, declining resources of raw materials, arable land and clean water, the need to develop renewable sources of energy, electromobility, recycling have created the need to develop business processes according to the model of sustainable pro-ecological development and the green economy concept which are also constantly evolving. We can say that the two do go directly hand in hand.
If I were to compare the 3, science, peace and development, to an object, it would be to the branches of a tree called society. These three factors cannot grow and flourish in sanctity without the support of society. Furthermore, all contribute equally in some way or the other to the overall growth of the tree by bearing fruits etc. which implicates directly on society to maintain it economically and keep it standing, which is exactly the role science needs to fulfil in today’s changing world.
Written by – By Tanisha Rungta
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• The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.
• This year, we all are aware that we are not each other’s enemies. Rather, our common enemy is a tireless virus that threatens our health, security and very way of life. COVID-19 has thrown our world into turmoil and reminded us that what happens in one part of the planet can impact people everywhere including their lives.
The story Behind ~ • The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly In 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.
The United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace
GLOBAL PEACE DAY OTHER INITIATIVES :
• Minute of Silence/Moment of Peace: “The Peace Wave” In 1984, in commemoration of the annual International Day of Peace and in solidarity with the United Nations, the NGO Pathways To Peace inaugurated the Minute of Silence at 12:00 Noon in each time zone, resulting in a “Peace Wave” around the world. Individuals, organizations, communities and nations are invited to participate in this shared and practical act of peacebuilding on September 21.
• The Peace Wave and Minute of Silence: Merrill Collins of Spiraling Music
This is a project that can be adapted and applied to any age, with a variable length of lessons for middle school through adult ages. Plan your lessons to culminate on September 21st. In addition, to accompany the Minute of Silence visuals below, Merrill has published a free teaching booklet for teachers, parents, and others who wish to have a simple tool to engage children in the importance of the “Peace Wave”, leading up to Peace Day on September 21st.
All the initiatives either big or small have altogether only one motive. The sense of harmony and compassion among citizens. The whole world is already dealing with such a disrupting health crisis. In these days of dark clouds, it’s so very much inhuman to behave so heartlessly. Let’s join hands and be responsible enough to not promote or create hate against each other, not have grudges against each other because the real enemy or threat today is the virus spreading everywhere. Recognise the real enemy and fight. The power lies in unity.
Conclusion: We all as responsible citizens of one of the most developing country should come forward and respect this responsibility of spreading love, peace and harmony all around us. This is the great initiative of the UN to spread the message of peace and come together to fight this massive health crisis. Stay safe.