Column: Dangerous flare-up between India and Pakistan

Are France and Germany seeking to convey their close ties to the world? France, which serves as the chair of the U.N. Security Council for the month of March, and Germany, which is scheduled to assume this role in April, have agreed to jointly oversee the U.N. body for these two months. The arrangement is an unprecedented step in the more than 70-year history of the United Nations.

Before the United Nations was formed, France and Germany had fought one another on a number of occasions. Both countries claimed sovereignty over territory that included the Alsace-Lorraine region near the French-German border, where iron ore and coal are produced. Despite this history of conflict, they are now working closely together to share the responsibility of maintaining peace in Europe.

Two other nations that share a border, the South Asian countries of India and Pakistan, have also waged a series of wars over territory in their border zone. Very recently, there was a clash that involved fighter jets which resulted in belligerent behavior on both sides. As these nations possess nuclear weapons, it is only natural that their neighbors feel rising tension these days.

No Indian military aircraft had entered Pakistan’s territory in nearly half a century. Amid a mounting sense of crisis in the international community over this escalating conflict between the two nations, the Pakistani government handed back captured Indian soldiers, in an attempt to persuade the Indian government to enter into dialogue. It is hoped that the tense conditions that currently exist between these two nations will soon be eased.

At the same time, however, there is a more pessimistic view. With a general election approaching, it appears that the Indian government wishes to show its people a hardline stance. For India and Pakistan to establish the kind of relationship that France and Germany now share, how much trust must be built between them?

(Originally published on March 6, 2019)