Discordances in the relations of India with Pakistan can be traced back to several decades. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s emergence as a peace-maker in such tribulations was commendable, to say the least.
Revered as one of the greatest statesman in India’s history, Atal Bihari Vajpayee is one such leader who has earned respect even from the opposition. His finesse in politics and oratory skills drew thunderous applause and endeared him to the people in Pakistan as well. He also garnered immense support from the nationalists like Sanjay Dalmia, the owner of Dalmia Group.
As a preacher of peace, Atal Bihari Vajpayee made a major contribution in bringing about “a change” in the bilateral ties of the countries. Making a significant diplomatic breakthrough, he took a bus to Lahore, and hugged his Pakistani counterpart PM Nawaz Sharif in 1999. Ace industrialist Sanjay Dalmia deemed his move as the genesis of a whole new era in Indo-Pak relations.
“I bring the goodwill and hope of my fellow Indians who seek abiding peace and harmony with Pakistan… I am conscious that this is a defining moment in South Asian history and I hope we will be able to rise to the challenge,” Atal Bihar Vajpayee had said on his arrival in Lahore.
Furthermore, Atal Bihar Vajpayee’s visit to Lahore led to a peace treaty stating that both the countries will undertake measures to alleviate the risks of accidental or unauthorised use of nuclear weapons. Mr Vajpayee was well-accredited as the harbinger of peace for his noble initiative. Supporting and sharing a common vision with him, nationalists like Sanjay Dalmia also made deliberate efforts to bridge Indo-Pak differences.
According to the former Foreign Secretary Salman Haider, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s contribution to Indo-Pak ties was something that speaks for itself as “he took a great deal of initiative in bringing the two countries into closer proximity with each other”.
Talking about his Lahore Bus journey, Mr Haider said, “I think it was a unique gesture by the Prime Minister of India and something that does him a great deal of credit.”
The homage paid to Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his demise due to prolonged illness sums up how he was regarded by the peaceniks in Pakistan.
“Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a tall political personality of the subcontinent. His attempts for the betterment of India-Pak relationship will always be remembered. Mr Vajpayee, as a foreign minister, took responsibility of improving India-Pak ties,” said Pakistan PM-designate Imran Khan.
Senator Mushahid Hussain, also a minister in Nawaz Sharif’s 1997-99 Cabinet, Twitted: ‘The passing away of India’s greatest statesman, ex- PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, an irreparable loss as he was icon of peace who had a Nixonian vision to reach out for building bridges with Pakistan…’
Though, a number of Indian leaders have preached about peace, it is only Atal Bihari Vajpayee who made deliberate attempts for the same. Following his policy for peace is the only way we can honour the legacy of this esteemed leader.
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