At the beginning of this century, the U.S. launched its war on terror in South Asia. At the end of the Afghan war, Afghanistan, the target country, and Pakistan, the "frontline country" at that time, became the worst-hit areas, and the war also seriously affected the entire South Asia region. At present, a prominent non-traditional security problem in South Asia is terrorism and "proxy war."
India and Pakistan, the two main countries in South Asia, have fought three wars because of the curse of colonialism, and they have deep historical resentment against each other. Although there has been no new Indo-Pakistani war after the Third Indo-Pakistani War in 1971, the two countries have always been antagonistic, with Kargil armed conflict in 1999 and unprecedented tension in 2001-2002.
Over the past decades, there have been flashing incidents along the Kashmir's Line of Control between the two militaries, with dozens or even hundreds of casualties at both sides every year. In addition, both countries have spent a lot in the arms race, which has seriously affected their socio-economic developments.
And there have been occasional terrorist attacks in India and Pakistan, especially in Pakistan, which has seen a higher frequency, larger scale, and more casualties.
Now there is a frequently used phrase "proxy war." It is thought that "proxy war" means the use of extremist and terrorist forces to undermine the social stability and economic development of the other side. Almost after every terrorist attack, before thorough investigation and analysis, India and Pakistan would assert that it was the other country's actions, leading to the deterioration of relations between the two countries and the deepening of hatred between the peoples.
The resentment between India and Pakistan has lasted for more than 70 years. But with the world in a new era, India and Pakistan are facing new tasks of developing economy, improving people's livelihood and reducing poverty. Therefore, they need a peaceful and stable social and regional environment.
At the same time, both India and Pakistan have joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). As members of the SCO, they must strictly abide by its "Shanghai Spirit", namely "mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and seeking common development."
Another important point of the principles of the SCO is that as member countries, they should strengthen their anti-terrorism cooperation and work together to maintain and guarantee peace, security, and stability in the region. India and Pakistan should keep in mind of these principles, and try to enhance their anti-terrorism cooperation.
China attaches great importance to developing friendly and cooperative relations with neighboring countries. Therefore, a series of new initiatives, new concepts and new measures have been proposed to push China's peripheral diplomacy into a new stage, including the Belt and Road Initiative.
In South Asia, China sees high priority in strengthening anti-terrorism cooperation with India and Pakistan, and has established cooperation mechanisms with the two countries respectively, and regularly conducts joint anti-terrorism training and exercises.
With the two countries facing the tasks of developing economy and improving people's livelihood, and international community enhancing cooperation on anti-terrorism, it is high time that India and Pakistan make joint efforts to fight against "proxy war."
Cheng Xizhong is a senior fellow with Chahar Institute, a former Defense Attache in South Asian Countries, and a former UN Senior Military Observer. The article reflects the author's opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.