You are here

Arun Kumar asked: What exactly 'people-to-people’ contact means and what are the related parameters in India-Pakistan relations?

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • P.K. Upadhyay replies: 'People-to-people' contact means interaction between the normal citizens of two countries at various levels without any official interference and guidance. For such contacts, they obviously have to obtain proper visas and travel documents, but the state's role would end there and beyond that it is the spirit of their interaction and understanding which would shape up ideas, thoughts and responses. Such contacts could be through professional bodies like the bar councils, traders' chambers and associations, industrialists' groups, educational institutions and artists, musicians, singers, film personalities, sportsmen and women, etc. Even free exchange of books, publications and newspapers and television programmes would also fall in the ambit of people-to-people contacts because of their impact on opinion-making and improving relations.

    In the context of Indo-Pakistani relations, the people-to-people contacts have not been able to attain the heights they could have. While on individual levels relationship between an Indian and a Pakistani living in a third country may be very warm, but the chemistry of these contacts undergo a radical change when they meet as a Pakistani and an Indian. One can see this phenomenon in the TV debates on our news channels in which some Pakistanis participate along with some Indian panellists. Such debates invariably turn into a slanging match, with Pakistani participants generally avoiding logic and reason (I am sure Pakistanis would have the same thing to say for our participants in such Indo-Pakistani TV discussions). This is because of the Pakistani mindset that has been conditioned by their skewed education policies that have created generations of young and old Pakistanis who are guided by dogmas and not logic and reason. Till Pakistan changes this mindset, one fears the future of people-to-people contacts between the two countries would remain bleak, be it trade, culture, sports or any other field, except for medical treatment for Pakistanis in India, which they praise while in India, but go silent once they cross back into Pakistan.