Why not an Indo-Pak cadet exchange?

Brig IJ Singh (retd)

IMRAN KHAN’S PTI is ready to improve ties with India. He has also welcomed Modi’s telephonic call on his victory as a new chapter in relations between the two nations. The PM of India and the PM-designate of Pakistan must consider the mottos of the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun, and the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), Kakul. Can they with ‘Valour and Wisdom’ be ‘Men at their Best’?

Before the ‘broad-gauge diplomacy’ for young generations is spelt out, some historical aspects must be understood in the correct perspective. It takes three generations to wipe out the mistrust and hatred between nations. The examples to quote are France and Germany, Germany and the rest of Europe, Japan and the USA. Erstwhile North and South Vietnam and the next may soon be the Korean Peninsula.

India and Pakistan will be part of a multi-nation counter-terror exercise in Russia in September, under the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. It will be the first time that India and Pakistan will be part of a military exercise, though their armies have worked together in UN Peacekeeping and other missions. But generations taking part in such missions, when pitted against each other, are found short on confidence-building and conflict-resolution measures.

My idea of wiping out the trust deficit starts with the interaction between the young generations of gentlemen cadets of the IMA and the PMA. Can the ‘googly’ of peace thrown by Imran Khan be matched by the yorker of an ‘exchange programme’ by our well-meaning PM Modi?

Coming straight to the ‘template of peace’ to be tried for five years between the IMA and the PMA. It will encompass a seven-day visit of 30 IMA cadets to the PMA, conciding with their passing-out parade. It should be reciprocated by the PMA in the succeeding term. The ‘week of friendship’ shall include sports competitions, seminars of mutual interest, i.e. contribution of India-Pakistan to World War I and II, leadership challenges in modern warfare, role of the army in nation-building, trade opportunities by land and sea, role of technology in education and contribution to UN missions.

The cadets should be taken on a conducted tour of the academy, culminating in taking part in the passing-out parade. Both countries march to 120 steps a minute.

We are targeting the generation which will be there to take forward the peace process in the years to come. These young cadets, when turned into men of substance, will ensure that there is a need to embrace a strategic stability regime which will be able to address problems of non-state actors and will know the importance of economic cooperation, which, in turn, will melt the mountain of hatred. We are looking at people who can predict the future, possibly better than experts.

PM-designate Imran Khan, you said that if India take one step forward, you will take two. I would say let us march together and tread the path of peace, development and trust between the two democracies. On our side, India should ensure that we don’t act as a big brother but, at best, an elder brother.

The COAS of the Pakistan army, General Bajwa, who had the opportunity to serve under one of our chiefs in the UN mission, should say ‘yes’. Or will he say ‘no ball’ to such exchange programmes!

Source Link: https://www.tribuneindia.com

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