Nawaz Sharif is set to be the prime minister of Pakistan once again. It evokes mixed feelings among Indians in general. Last time when Sharif was Pakistan’s PM, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee tried to take Indo-Pak relation’s to a new high but Pakistan’s response is etched in history. Sharif may blame General Pervez Musharraf but let’s remember Musharraf was Sharif’s man.
What India and Pakistan need to do now is forget the past and learn from history, Indian corporate history to be precise.
Why? Because it is sane economics.Pakistan must realise that trying to bleed India will yield no economic gains for the nation or its citizens. Though some Pakistani politicians, and army and government officials may get crumbs from India’s enemies like China and terrorist organisations. Islamabad must realise that it is wiser to hitch a ride on the Indian growth wagon. It will be more beneficial for Pakistan to make up with its big brother with whom it separated than kow-tow to Beijing. Islamabad has to learn from what happened to the Reliance group when the Ambani brothers fought savagely after Dhirubhai. The younger Ambani got into the wrong company and ended up nearly bankrupt, and on the wrong side of the law in some instances. His acolytes spent more time in running down and trying to put a spanner in Mukesh Ambani group companies than growing the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group companies. The stocks of his companies were hammered. It took some time but Anil finally understood that it would be wiser to learn and share from Mukesh’s business acumen and might. Today he has patched up with the elder brother, and is profiting from business relations. The coming together has already brought relief not just to the officials and companies of both the groups but also investors.
Economics had survived the bloody partition in 1947. At that time, India purchased nearly 25 per cent of Pakistan’s exports and accounted for more than 50 percent of Pakistani imports. Thereafter politics started squeezing economics and bilateral trade has seen a chequered history. Today the same trade percentage figures are in low single digits or even decimals.
Nawaz should do an Anil Ambani, let economic reality supersede historical bravado. India must use the opportunity to mend ties with the estranged brother. Both countries face security threat from a common enemy, Al-Qaeda. It will be wiser for both countries to jointly face such threats and prosper together than waste time and money in fighting each other. Colonial powers have used and are still using divide and rule across the globe for their benefit. The division of the Indian subcontinent cannot be undone anytime soon. But the socio-cultural thread that still binds its citizens and the economic needs can be used to weave the bond of a joint family. India as the elder of the family will have to accommodate the ambitions and fears of others. Nawaz Sharif should stand up against the evil axis of gun runners, drug dealers, army and Taliban, as well as expansionist China.