The School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) at the Virginia International University (VIU) hosted it’s first public event on August 27 entitled “Is Peace Between India and Pakistan Possible?”
Dean of SPIA, Dr. Qamar-ul Huda, moderated the panel with the key speaker Dr. Asma Khwaja from National Defense University in Pakistan. Dr. Khwaja is a security studies and conflict resolution expert who wrote a book Shaking Hands with Clenched Fists: The Grand Trunk Road to Confidence Building Measures between Pakistan and India detailing the historical political challenges for India and Pakistan to broker peace over the Kashmir region.
She spoke about the need for peace between India and Pakistan through confidence building measures (CBM). Dr. Khwaja elaborated on investing in peace, not on war institutions. She explained that both countries fought three wars over Kashmir and they are on the brink of another war. Both countries should focus on soft strategies of building bridges, dialogue, economic trade, and mutual understanding.
Students and faculty asked the professor questions on the influence of Russia, China and the U.S. in the historic conflict. The conversation discussed many possible solutions for Kashmir and bringing peace to the region. She said “By sharing our personal stories, human experiences and pain we will get to know each other better.”
Prof. Huda spoke about the use and inclusion of an international peace body to supervise and oversee peace in south Asia.