After gaining independence, Pakistan, India, China, and Japan took different paths. China and Japan have done really well, while Pakistan and India have struggled. The reason for this is the choices these countries made about how to deal with other countries and how to develop their own countries. In other words, this divergence can be attributed to the foreign policy choices made by these nations and the leadership’s approach to national development.
The foreign policy of a nation plays a pivotal role in determining its international relations, economic partnerships, and geopolitical positioning. In the case of Pakistan and India, foreign policy decisions have often been marred by regional conflicts, strained diplomatic relations, and geopolitical instability. These factors have hindered their ability to fully capitalize on their potential for growth and development.
Conversely, China and Japan have pursued foreign policies that have fostered economic growth, technological innovation, and global influence. China and Japan have become very strong economically, even though they had big problems after they became independent. China’s economy has grown a lot, and Japan has become one of the richest countries in the world. They did this by focusing on peace and making good plans for their country’s growth, instead of fighting wars. These two countries were able to achieve the apparently unachievable targets of success in ends of economic and technological growth, only because they said “no” to war and followed constructive policies based on peace and tranquility.
After the Aug. 1945 debacle of Hiroshima and Nagasaki the Japanese King Hirohito was able to convince his nation that wars in future are going to be extremely expensive and devastating and impossible for any nation to afford. He advised his nation to resist the temptation of seeking vengeance on American aggressor and try to build up their capabilities in the fields of education, science and technology. This foresighted leader told his nation that arena of war has now shifted; wars in future will be fought in schools, colleges, universities, laboratories and factories and not in the traditional battlefields. Japanese took the advice of their leader and decided to endure their humiliation at the hands of Americans, with patience and restraint.
On the other hand, unfortunately, the leaders of India and Pakistan had a hard time working together from the beginning. They failed to address critical issues such as the disputes over Kashmir, Siachen, and Sir Creek. Even today, both countries have not made earnest efforts to resolve these issues. This has cost both countries a lot of money and caused problems with other countries. They didn’t learn from China and Japan’s peaceful ways, and this has stopped them from growing.
History and common sense both support this fact that in order to establish peace, one party often needs to make unilateral sacrifices. In the end, the party that appears to be losing by sacrificing its established rights may actually emerge as the victor (the Hudaibia Peace Pact, made by Hazrat Muhammad PBUH, stands as a prime example for the Muslims of Pakistan). The leadership of Pakistan and India should acknowledge the changing realities of our times and, instead of clinging to traditional thinking, adopt a progressive and forward-looking outlook for the future. They should realize this fact that they have missed chances to do better, and that China and Japan have done much better. They need to change their foreign policy to focus on talking and working together instead of fighting. They also need to invest more in education, science, and technology to help their countries grow. They can learn from China and Japan’s success by choosing peaceful and smart ways to work with other countries. This will help them and the whole Asian region to have a better future.
Sajid Ali Bangash
The writer is a freelance columnist.